I hate to sound like a “dad,” but let’s get one thing clear, running in a race isn’t your “right” it’s your privilege.
It's time for a reality check.
I have been following all of the comments flowing in due to the problems with the Chicago Marathon registration, some of them are absolutely ridiculous. Yes, it is your right to be upset, yes, it is your right to voice your opinion, but no, it is not your right to run in the race, demand more information from the race directors, or to even know what is going on.
None of it is your business. You are “allowed” to run in the Chicago Marathon, Hot Chocolate 15/5K or the neighborhood fun run.
You are registering, because a group of people you will never meet, have worked tirelessly for over a year, to make sure that you get a chance to run. These people are privy to things you will never know or understand.
Here’s one to mull over while you are whining to your group of cyber friends. For some insane reason, the city of Chicago doesn’t hand out permits for races or events until the second or third day of the year. It’s a first come, first serve basis. Meaning that, race directors and event coordinators are forced to sleep in the streets, in the bitter cold to jockey for position to land the date that they want for their event.
Once they get the date, then it’s deals with the city, police, fire dept. streets and sanitation, corrupt alderman and on and on and on.
If they make it through the menagerie of Chicago brand obstacles, they are still beholden to mother nature. Lightning in the air- race cancelled, ice and snow- race cancelled, too hot- race cancelled, locusts falling from the sky…you get the idea.
Read the fine print, you are being allowed to run. Jump a corral, you can be pulled, act too aggressive, you can be pulled, yell at a volunteer, you can be pulled. I watched a woman slap a volunteer in the face, because there wasn’t enough water in a finishers shoot! At that point, she could have been thrown right in jail. However, the race directors calmly handled the situation, like they are doing now and do every day around the country. They take a lot, turn their cheeks on a lot and let a lot of abuse be hurled their way.
They don’t retaliate, they don’t fight back on Facebook, they just continue to work as hard as they can, so you can run.
I have been on the other end of the complaint tunnel. It got so bad runners were calling my wife and my home making death threats, over a race! $65 bucks and t-shirt and you are allowed to harass and threaten people?
Not at all.
What’s happening with the Chicago Marathon is disappointing, I get that. What happened at Hot Chocolate 15/5k packet pick up this year was a drag, I understand. If the race is a bad experience, of course you have your right to complain, it's what's makes the internet "so fun."
Some of you will get to run this year in the Chicago Marathon, some of you won’t. Registration crashing didn’t change that fact, it was going to happen one way or another.
If you want to run 26.2 miles, go right ahead, nothing is stopping you, put on your shoes and head on out. If you want to run in a timed event, where they shut down the streets of one of the largest cities in the world, have emergency vehicles waiting for you, food, drinks, shirts, finishers medals, then calm down and play nice.
Remember, when you post hateful and mean things, there are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters on the other end reading these, and despite what you think, they are working as hard as they can to make sure you have a great time.
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