The price of competition

Nittany Valley Half Marathon

Nittany Valley Half Marathon, 2010

This is the kind of post I should probably write as a note on Facebook rather than a blog post – but, as mentioned in my last post, Facebook notes lack organization. So, even though this isn’t about libraries, I have this blog and this post doesn’t fit anywhere else, so here it is.

I write a monthly column about running for my local newspaper, so I think and write a good bit about the sport, but I don’t know that I have time or energy for yet another blog. I used to co-write a running blog for the paper, but when they switched blogging platforms, our old posts got erased and we never started up a new blog.

I originally wrote the following as a letter to the editor of Running Times, but I’m not very prompt about reading my magazines. By the time I had read the article and drafted a letter, the next issue was already in my mailbox.

The no-frills races Pete Magill is nostalgic for (“The Price of Competition,” Running Times, November/December 2012) are still here. Last weekend, I ran the Nittany Valley Half Marathon in State College, PA. It has a measured 13.1-mile course with mile markers and four water stops. The race director’s brief speech as 700 runners toed a line in a field was something along the lines of, “Run that way and watch for cars.” Chip timing ensured accurate times. For all this plus a t-shirt, I paid $25. If Magill is worried about losing a non-refundable fee, you can even register the morning of the race, although you might not get a t-shirt. The race is small, but it has attracted some very good runners. In 2011, local runners Luke Watson and Rebecca Donaghue used it as part of their preparation for the Olympic Trials marathon. The race quietly donates proceeds to a local charity.

There are plenty of other races like this out there. If you want to run with thousands of other people in a big city, expect a spectacle. If you just want to toe a line and see how fast you can run, check your local running club’s race calendar. It’s a lot more fun than running by yourself with your Garmin.