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.

4 comments on “The price of competition”

  1. Michael Schau Says:

    Phew looks cold there ! ( I live in FL) PSU Class of 1974, BTW, and miss the countryside there. Sounds like a real non-crowded race; here they are insanely packed. My son-in-law and daughter have been doing Florida many and it is discouraging, but hey, flat!
    Lookign to follow your blog more.
    Mike a college librarian in Sanford FL

  2. Tara Says:

    Nice to hear from you, Mike! I’m running a marathon in Jacksonville in a few weeks, so I’ll get to check out the racing there. I’m looking forward to warmer and flatter for a change of pace.

  3. Andrea Cowan Says:

    I love stumbling across posts that merge running with work. For any running librarians heading to San Diego for SLA, the San Diego Track Club hosts lots of inexpensive, simple but very fun races year round. In the Summer months they host a free workout every Tuesday evening at 5:30 pm in Balboa park (corner of 6th and Laurel St.) Keep those running posts coming!
    -Andrea
    Marketing Mgr. with scientific/academic publisher

  4. Tara Says:

    Thanks for the info about the San Diego Track Club! I’ve been organizing group runs at SLA conferences for several years now, and I’m looking forward to running in San Diego this summer. For anyone else attending, watch this blog closer to the time for more details.