yet another corporate challenge

Ugh.  I don’t know why I let myself get sucked into the Corporate Challenge after 4 years away from it.  I guess I had a feeling that being a runner, I wouldn’t hear the end of it if I *didn’t* sign up…

So yesterday, everyone participating gets an email with race day details…and hello, what do I see here:

There will be four separate Start areas. Those runners designated by a RED Corporate Challenge sticker on their bib number (under 7 minutes/mile pace) will have access to the first Start line. Access points for this Start line will be designated by RED flags. Next, those runners designated by a YELLOW Corporate Challenge sticker (under 8 minutes/mile pace) will have access to the second Start line. Access points for this Start line will be designated by YELLOW flags. Both of these Start lines will be defined by barricades and monitored by security guards. Access to these start lines will be by colored sticker only. No exceptions. No RED or YELLOW stickers will be available on race day.

So obviously, I would qualify for the yellow start…hell, I’ve qualified many times over for it!  I had a temporary feeling of “oh goodie!” until i realized “wait a minute…they don’t have my predicted time-how will I get my yellow sticker?”  I emailed our company captain asking, though she said later that they said it was too late.  Ummm, too late?  How is it too late if we just found out now?  So I decided to email the race people myself, as I wanted to avoid getting relegated to this…

Those runners who will run at a pace over 8 minutes per mile may line up behind the YELLOW zone barricades. Those who plan to run 9 or 10 minutes/mile are expected to line up further back, according to the “Pace Per Mile” signs on either side of the roadway.

Those runners slower than 10 minutes/mile and ALL WALKERS should line up behind the “Non-Competitive” banner which will be hung above the roadway just north of 72nd Street. See the Special Rules for All Walkers for additional information.

So I wrote a nice email to the race people who unfortunately told me the same thing, that the corrals were full, and that all captains were sent an email about it in May.  And apparently our captain “must have just deleted them because I didn’t think we had any ‘elite’ runners!”  Um…that was not her decision to make!!  And yes, I know, I know.  My times and paces hardly are considered “elite.”  I will never run a 6-minute mile, or a sub-3 marathon, etc.  I guess thats what I mean when I say to those who aren’t runners, my times are really not that impressive!!

So now I almost don’t even feel like running it anymore…why should I have to deal with the aggravation?  And the race people reminded me that “with the advent of chip timing, your net time will be recorded.”    Um-that did not make any difference in the last race I had to deal with the “honor system”-MCM.  Where I got totally screwed for lining up “honestly”, between losing about 30 seconds per mile for each of the first 2 miles, and I’m sure all the swerving aggrevated the sh*t band…and you all know how that race ended.

So if I do still run it, only thing I think I can do is try and get there an hour or so early and line up at the front of the non-seeded area…unfortunately that means having to forgo a warmup.  Unless anyone else has any other suggestions?  I was planning on shooting for a goal time, and don’t want to risk having a bad first mile, as I’m not sure 2.5 miles is enough to make up for any time lost on mile 1.  Help!


4 thoughts on “yet another corporate challenge

  1. Uuuurgh – that is frustrating just reading about it. So sorry that your pre-race is going to be spent jockeying for starting position and getting in a “un-zen” frame of mind.

    I think that I would do as you suggest and try to get in a good spot near the edge of the course and try to go “out wide” early to avoid zig-zagging and get locked in at a good, comfortable pace.

    If you keep your head up and eyes moving you should be able to find a couple good lanes to stay on track and not swerve too much – then push it after the 3/4 mile point and you will be running where you should be long before the half-way point.

    The only advantage is that you won’t go out “too fast” – which can be a positive – but I know this is not the ideal start for you at a race.

    Lastly – try to smile about it all and enjoy. I run much faster when I am having fun – at the end of the day you are happy, healthy and able to do what a lot of people only wish they could. Try to love every step of it!



    • thanks for your comment. i probably shouldn’t be making a big deal about the start-and you have a good point about not going out too fast-but i think what happened at MCM just left me a little unsettled. And I looked back at 2006 and I did the same exact thing (got there early to get a good spot) and I still had a decent race…

      And so true about having fun…I remember the Scotland 10K back in April where I didn’t have any expectations and dressed sorta according to the race “theme” just to have fun, and I did wind up exceeding my expectations. And you’re also right about being happy that I can toe the line…as it wasn’t too long ago that I was sidelined!! 🙂

  2. I’d take this opportunity to just do a “fun run.” You’ll get screwed by the crowd anyway then you’ll get pissed of and bad things’ll happen. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but putting it all together it’s not worth it.

    Some history. In the early 80s when I did it, there were three races, June, July, and August. Companies could, and generally did, run in all three. The course started south of Tavern and headed counterclockwise to 90th Street, where it turned around, right at 72nd, finish on the hill near Tavern. No chips; you looked at the clock and gave the time to your team captain. I mention where it started because you quickly took a left hander, and it was crazy, crazy. I’d start in one of the first rows, but you had all of these I’m-in-shape-I-can-run-fast guys who took off like kids and things got incredibly crowded. I can’t imagine what it was like behind. You’d get close to mile 3 in the fast race (see below) and you’d be passing guys just beyond the one-mile mark.

    Each race had three sections. Fast men then women then slow men. Because of how crowded the fast men were, guys would try to start in the slow men group. NYRRC was onto them, and it blocked the finish line until like 24 minutes.

    It was fun with a quirky distance (which became the signature distance for the Corporate Challenge) but no one took it particularly seriously. Once it was so hot that the “race” was called off, made it a “fun run.” Given the number of non-runners this was not a surprise. We raced it anyway.

    In a sense, it’s another of those things that were simple but have become a NYRR “event.” (In those days, though, Mobil would bring in ringers from Texas to win the title.) I don’t think there was a championship.

    • I think-worst case scenario-if I lose time on the 1st mile, I’ll treat the remaining 2.5 as a tempo run. At the very least, I was hoping to beat my 27:40 from 2006 (which should, under most circumstances be no problem-I mean, I ran a faster pace in my recent half!)…if I can at least do that I’ll be happy, just may need to keep in mind that a time of 25:xx or 26:xx may be out. I guess for me, it’s hard to not want to do my best when i have the bib and chip on! 🙂

      I think what annoyed me more than anything was our captain not passing that information on to the team-I mean, that is the job of the captain, no? I’m one of the Flyers’ captains and as soon as we get information on things like the NYCM local elite start, we send it right out to our teams. I’ll never just think “hmmm I don’t think anyone qualifies so I won’t pass this on”…if I did that, I know there would be hell to pay 🙂

      The first year I did this race (2003) there were 3 races too…May, June, July (I did the one in June)…then the next year they reduced it to 2 races in June (each in a different week)…then the following year, they adopted what is still the current format-2 consecutive June nights. Wish they still had 3 races!

      But wow, thats crazy that there used to be a turnaround in this race!! I mean, if those are not doable for NYRR races with 5,000+ people, I could only imagine what it was like for a race like this…

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