Results are listed in reverse chronological order.


Khoury’s 4.13M
Somerville, MA, December 28, 2000
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Steve Vaitones      32:46

Khoury’s Wintah Challenge 4.13M
Somerville, MA, December 10, 2000
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24. Steve Vaitones (45)      31:33

Christmas Run for Hope 10K
Newport, RI, December 10, 2000
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  165 211 MCKECHNIE ROBERT    50 M MARSTON MILLS   MA          47:44  7:41

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    This won’t be a column on the thrills of competing in the Dublin Marathon, or the delights of running over on the Emerald Isle in general, simply because I was never there.  At least last week I wasn’t, which I suppose keeps it from becoming a complete tragedy — after all, I went last year — but a last minute frantic search for a missing passport (how could it not be in my “special documents” draw?) proved fruitless, and the plane for Ireland and a ten day vacation left without me.

    So, all the crying in the root beer has been done, and now it’s out with the old, in with the new, and what’s the latest in running news?

    (I’m trying to be a brave soul here, but of course it’s all an act:- the truth of the matter is that my wimpy brain is still screaming WHERE THE HECK DID I PUT THAT #&*# PASSPORT?)

    One good thing was that I was able to get down to Falmouth and watch the Cape Cod Marathon.  Courtney Bird’s extravaganza is always a classy production, combining all the ingredients necessary for a successful race.  And that ain’t easy, brother.  Race directing a marathon has been compared to putting on a Bar Mitzvah in the Orange Bowl with 100,000 participants, all with their own particular needs and agendas.  Exaggeration or not, you get the idea.

    As a guy who has participated in 116 of them, I think I have a pretty good overall view as to what makes some work, and others fall flat.  The fact that the Falmouth Track Club’s effort is so popular that they had to close entries weeks before the date proves that they are doing almost everything right.  After all, most runners only do one marathon a season, and there is a glut of ’em offered in the New England Autumn.

    With a course so tough, why is Cape Cod so popular?  Because it’s “runner friendly.”  You get more bang for your buck, as ultra runner Bob Eckerson remarked, and he ought to know, for he’s a guy who will run a veritable buffet of four or five different 26.2’s this Fall.

    “You get all the amenities at Falmouth,” he remarked.  “Beautiful, scenic course, great food, a finisher’s medal, plenty of water stops that always seem to have a bunch of volunteers, the whole works.  And people watching, too.”

    Which happens, by the way, when you establish enough credibility (i.e. a good show) over the years to instill interest from the local residents on the course.  On Sunday, there were pockets of people all over, and a crowd at the finish.  The race director has to be able to put enough of his own precious ego in his pocket to enlist a lot of help, to delegate authority, to share the spotlight.

    Most telling of this approach is the ultimate question that every race director should ask himself: “If I were absent, not there for any reason on race day, would the marathon go on smoothly without me?”

    If the answer is yes, then chances are you have organized well and done your job.

Pete

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