Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I May Be Slow ...

... but I can honestly say that the only material thing that I've ever run for was to get the sweatshirt that the then-hp Houston Marathon was gave away as a finishing item.

I think I was running the 2004 Bridgefest 5K in Kingwood when I saw the finishing sweatshirt - tells you in 10 years how "old school" I am -- for the race a few weeks before.

Mind you, I had finished my second half, but I wanted to wear that accomplishment.

Just the same when I was seeking a training race for my first half marathon in November 2003 and Seven Hills Running Club's Ken Johnson told me via e-mail that if I didn't think that I could finish their half in a certain time that I shouldn't run it.

I wanted to prove Ken wrong -- and I did.  (But, I should note that, we're very good friends today.)

So what drives me to the point of writing?

I'm an administrator on The Woodlands Marathon's Facebook page as its media relations coordinator.  Therefore, with notifications on, I get e-mailed on most messages and comments.

I wasn't able to be at last night's Course and Medal Review at Fleet Feet Sports in Shenandoah, but there was one comment that drove me to here.

It was, "The half finisher medals were very disappointing".

The individual is registered for the half marathon.  I have a copy of the database (so I could format some data so Willie could wish everybody registered to date Happy Birthday in the Constant Contact mailing.)

I'd almost like to give the person their money back out of my own pocket.

Is that we run for today?

Medals and material things are the most important?

If they are, that's such a shame that you have to rest your laurels on those.

There's so much more to our sport -- sport(s) for my multisport friends.

I really felt bad for Willie - as well as anybody associated in producing the Marathon - because apparently for this one person ... it is all about the bling.

Nothing anybody  else does -- seemingly (and a bit tongue in cheek too) -- really seems to matter.

I have a race to announce Sunday -- and a bridge to cross there myself.

We had a challenge with our shuttle bus strategy at the Toughest 10K Galveston a couple of weeks ago.

We believed that we had enough vehicles to transport runners, but because of a long light - and one other issue, they weren't able to make the return trips as fast as we anticipated.

One runner who is participating in the three-race Series posted in a comment on Facebook -- after we profusely apologized (including walking through a return line to board a bus back to the parking lot and looking this individual right in the eye and saying that we would get it taken care of) -- that it was a "total failure".

All I would say is that total would mean that we were negligent in all things.

That simply wasn't the case.

However, on the Facebook page of the last race of the Series, here they were -- shortly after the "total failure" comment -- posting pictures that they are a "bling whore" and couldn't wait for the next race.


They'll be running on Sunday -- in another Series that I announce for.

I've declined to announce a race because of people participating before.  (I rarely see two of the people and by happenstance bumped into the third a month ago.)

It won't happen on Sunday nor in two weeks, but it is people like this who - and they don't realize it -- are an encouragement to me to do something else with my time.

I love what I get a chance to do.  I take great pride in it.

As you've seen me say many times, my job is make sure people have the information they need on race morning, that we get people lined up and get the race started on-time -- and it is done professionally.

Everything else is gravy -- well, and edification of the participant's performance that day.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Ironman World Championship Well-Wishes

On Saturday, some 2,200 Ironman athletes will enter the water just off the pier in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii to compete in the Ironman World Championship.

Through some crazy events over the last ten years, I'll actually know many of those competing -- and some that are there to offer moral support too.

I can only count one professional (that will be competing) as a Facebook friend -- Pennsylvanian Kim Schwabenbauer.  Proud that she'll not only be representing the Commonwealth, but also Penn State.

Corpus Christi's Ed Cheatham will be there as a race official with his wife, Candy.

Competing in the men's 50-54 age group will be Finish Strong Sports and Conroe Triathletes' Kent Morris.  There's not too many classier - and humble - gentlemen around than Kent.  So glad to see him get this opportunity.

In the men's 45-49 division is Houston's Greg Colvin.  I met the former James Madison defensive lineman for the first time on the plane home from Ironman Lake Placid in July 2010.  It was the very first Ironman that I ever covered.

Houston's Matthew Chauvin and The Woodlands' Michael Young are both in the 40-44 age group.

Both Greg and Matthew I've gotten to know through my friendship with Walt and Lisa Yarrow.

This is Michael's second straight trip to the World Championship.  He and a triathlete from Japan are the only two to win lottery spots the last two years.

Not sure about the other guy, but of course, Michael wouldn't be disappointed if good fortune came his way a third time.

The final lottery spot from the area went to Spring's Eric Fontaine, who has done somewhere between 15 and 20 Ironmans.

He just had some very recent surgery - having read a post on OutRival Racing's wall -- but he'll figure out a way to make it across the finish line.

Then in the women's 45-49 division, there are two women that I hope finish in the top 10 and it wouldn't disappoint if they went 1-2.

Those two talented ladies are The Woodlands' Karen Ponette-Maldonado and Peggy Yetman, who now calls Fort McMurry, Alberta, Canada.

Peggy has finished on the podium three times at Kona in the 40-45 age division -- one each at first, second and third.

Karen has the fastest time of all qualifiers in their division with her 9:45 at Ironman Cozumel.

Peggy made it to Kona by winning her age group at Ironman New Zealand early this year.

Other than families, there are friends and others that I know who are there from The Woodlands to cheer these great athletes on, including Greg and Maureen Gibbons, Balazs Csoke and Tim Floyd.

One of these days, I'll make it out there to cover the last of the three endurance granddaddy races - having been already to the Boston Marathon and the Western States 100 before.

Best wishes to all tomorrow!