While I generally prefer to run large road races for the excitement-factor, I’m beginning to enjoy the benefits of smaller races as well.
Simple answers to questions!
Easy access to restrooms!
No crowded starts! No waiting ages and ages for official results! No waiting for much of anything!
And even HIGHER on the list of good things in life: a WELL-MANAGED small race.
Enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers!
ACCESS TO POST-RACE SHOWERS! (Hooray!)
The Delevan Panther Frostbite Classic had all of that, with character to boot. The Illinois Valley Striders are an organization that does more than just provide a home for race results on the Internet (although they do that, too!) Their members are truly a community. People know one another; they enjoy running together, competing against each other, and encouraging each other. I was a member when I lived in the area, but that was a full 8 years ago. (Whoa!) So I didn’t know a single person at this race, but that didn’t make me an outsider. People talked to me before, during, and after the race. They kept me going in the late, late miles of my 19+ mile training run, and they offered congratulations at the finish. While I quietly packed up my gear (and my plaque for winning first place in my age group) and left town shortly after the award ceremony finished, the people of IVS put on an entirely enjoyable event that made me feel a part of their community. Even if it was 40 degrees and spitting precipiation, and even in the middle of nowhere.
Had it not been for the good Central Illinoisian runners, volunteers, and race managers out there last Saturday, I wouldn’t have run a very laughable half marathon PR.
I hope it doesn’t stick around for long, as I’m giving the half another go – without running a 6-mile warmup – tomorrow morning!