"I came in with the attitude of only doing one marathon to get it out of my system, I now find myself planning on making the pilgrimage back to Burlington for next years marathon"
Friday, September 10, 2010
Half or No Half? That is the Question.
Inquiring minds want to know: will there be a true half marathon (in place of a 2-person relay) at the 2011 edition of the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon? There are two ways to answer that question… the short way and the long way.
For those who enjoy the short answer, it’s a no (but we will retain the 2-personal relay for 2011).
For those that enjoy a little bit more information, here’s the long answer. The premise that has been in discussion is to replace the 2 person relay with an independent, same day ½ marathon. This modification would allow us to expand the field size for the 3-5 person relay and provide a larger field for a ½ marathon, if it has an earlier start time. Potentially, this might allow us to retire the lottery system that has been used to award relay slots. The downside of a lottery is that some applicants are inevitably turned away, and that’s not an enjoyable circumstance for anyone.
From this theoretical base, we decided to infuse a little reality by running a modest “test team” through the paces at the marathon last spring. We hoped to learn all of the things that we did not anticipate in the planning discussions with a live field test. Suffice to say, the test worked. We learned a lot. The primary lesson was that we can’t be ready in 2011 to make such a change. First, we have to resolve the event’s flow in the Finish Area at Waterfront Park.
For those who have been at the Finish Area the last few years, you noted a different layout in Waterfront in 2010. Those modifications were a result of our effort to move the mid-point of the race into the heart of Oakledge Park for a variety of reasons (all of which came from the 2009 race experience). The ripple effect of those changes (which worked very well in Oakledge) presented some new challenges in Waterfront Park. It is our intent to resolve those challenges in Waterfront Park before the 2011 race. If we’re able to provide the type of experience that we all aspire to, then we will proceed with the possible expansion of the event to accommodate a ½ marathon for 2012.
Finally, before such a decision is made, we will be seeking input from our runners to better understand your desires. In this past year’s post-race survey we asked our participants which they would like to see, a 2 person relay or a ½ marathon. For those that answered, it’s a little better than 2 to 1 for those who prefer a ½ marathon compared to the 2 person relay (68% vs. 31%). While those numbers clearly show a preference for a ½ marathon, it’s not as strong as we had anticipated so we’ll probably seek some additional input before any final decisions are made.
So that’s the long answer. Feel free to call or email with any questions or comments.