On Monday (when I really should have been marking assignments) I asked a question in one of my running FB groups about the food left at the end of the race on Sunday.
I mentioned that there wasn’t much left for me when I came through and I was pretty disappointed about that, and I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t my mistake. Marathon brain is a very real thing and I very well could have walked past a stack of water bottles and bananas and not even noticed.
The discussion started to take the direction of “that’s just how it is”.
See, I’m a middle of the pack-ish finisher in big races. I have a 4:25 marathon time and a 1:58 half marathon time, this puts me right in the middle. I’m not going to win any races, but I’m also not bringing up the rear.
Well, coming in at 5:34 for the ultra moved me into the tail end of the runners group. And to hear that this is normal for people who finish near the back of the pack just blew me away.
So, because someone RAN A FREAKING MARATHON and took a bit longer, it’s okay for them to not have sufficient food?!
Not in my world.
I am so completely taken aback and baffled at this that I can’t think straight.
Apparently one volunteer said they had to throw out bananas last year, so they ordered fewer. Two things 1) why would you throw out food instead of donating it (I might be picky about it, but I’m sure not everyone is) and 2) you knew this race would be bigger than last year and you didn’t at least order the same?!
One of my friends needed to ask a volunteer for a bottle of water after running for 5+ hours.
Another friend went into a bar to ask for water because there wasn’t any when she finished. They also saw how much she was suffering and made her drink some juice. High-five to the very kick-ass bar for doing this – but it shouldn’t have been necessary.
After hearing from multiple people, it sounds like this has been a problem for a while at the Calgary Marathon and it needs to change.
I had a truly fantastic time. The start/finish area is amazing. To start/finish in the Stampede Grounds truly shows off the wonderfulness of the city.
Post-race nutrition is vitally important.
Like, I can’t stress how freaking important it is to get food and water in you ASAP.
And they had none.
Now, talking about food and finish times raised a lot of questions for me……
- Are slower runners less-deserving of post-race nutrition?
- What about people running a shorter distance? Say, a 5k – should food be rationed for them? (I finished at the same time as the 5k, which I’m sure contributed to the really long line up for the smoothies)
- Do you hoard food when you come through?
Most importantly – how do we solve this?!
I immediately thought back to Disney – upon crossing the finish, everyone was given a medal and a cool wash cloth. A bit further down the chute were tables with water bottles and PowerAid and then further along was the food tent. All food was pre-packaged in a box, so you grabbed your banana and your box of food and carried on your way.
To me, this is the solution.
Scotiabank also sponsors the Toronto Waterfront Marathon and has a system similar to Disney to get you your food. You get your medal and water and are given a bag. Then you walk through the food area and volunteers put the food in your bag and then you get to meet up with friends and family.
Sure, it’s a bit of a bummer to not see your friends/family right away, but how else do we solve this problem?
In my world (which is sometimes filled with kittens and rainbows) EVERY runner is deserving of the same treatment, whether you are winning the race or coming in at the end. We all paid the same entry fees, we all put in the time to train and sacrified time with friends and loved ones, so no one deserves to feel like they are less-than just because of a stupid time.
Have you ever experienced a lack of support due to race time?
Do you think all runners deserve the same kind of support?
Do you think this is a fixable problem? (obviously I do!)
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