6.04.2009

Sticker Shock

As a runner in New York you are contractually obliged to aspire to and apply to run the New York City Marathon. It's actually written into the rental agreement, right after the paragraph that states all apartments with children need to have window guards. I thought it was weird too, but I checked, it's there. (Apparently, my condo-owning brethren have an odder obligation that has something to do with Bugaboos and offspring.)

So back in May I made my yearly pilgrimage to ingnycmarathon.com to sign up for The Marathon. (I've picked up the nasty habit of calling it The Marathon. But as any runner knows, especially those who, like me, lived in Boston for any period of time, the only Marathon you can properly call The Marathon is the Boston Marathon. All others are called by their proper name.)



Twice I had seen this falsely assuring welcome graphic. Well, not really twice because the date does change every year, but go with it. And twice I had been rejected. Not that I was in a rush to run this race. I already have New York state checked off my 50-state list. And I knew that if I didn't make it in this year that I would be guaranteed entry for 2011. Patience--one of the unexpected side effects of distance running.



I still can't get over the fact that when you sign up for a Marathon (any of 'em) you have to sign a waiver that essentially says you might die from this. That is bad ass.



Headphones are strongly discouraged? Why even bother saying that? It's like saying "this water is going to be very wet." It's not going to make any one not jump in.



"Never ran a race" Could you imagine the NYC Marathon being your first Marathon? I mean it could scare you away from racing forever: 4am wake up for an 11am start, massive bridges, congested route, an exit chute that is over a mile long. It could also set a false expectation. Very few other races in the world get the same media attention or crowd turn-out.



Sigh. I was hoping to have a new PR by now, but it just wasn't meant to be. And from what I understand NYCM isn't exactly the best place to be planning a PR.



Now the annoyance starts. Really, do you need to know my occupation?



Yes, now that you bring it up in the middle of my application for the NYCM I would like for ING to contact me about estate planning. I (more than most) know this part of the agreement between NYRR and ING, but really? They can't do this in a follow up email?



ONE-HUNDRED EIGHTY-TWO DOLLARS? WHAT. THE. HELL??

What? Huh? I mean, if you're some boondocks Marathon that is struggling to get sponsors and have decided to pave the course in gold I'd understand an almost $200 entry fee--but this is the NYCM. The race goes through pot-holed streets in the South Bronx! There are sponsors knocking at their door to sign up! How do you justify charging people $182?? I won't even spend that much money on GU in the course of a year!

I think we gotta water down the prize purse a bit to make sure that there'll still be a back-of-the-pack next year.



Wait, wait. So I just gave you $182--a week's worth of groceries + a reasonably nice dinner--and now you want me to sign up for your club? Nothankyouverymuch.



Ok. The t-shirts and hat I understand--I would never buy them, but I understand. My real problem here is the watch. First off, if you don't already have a running watch why would you want to buy one now that you've submitted your name for the NYCM lottery? Second, if you were going to all of a sudden buy a running watch would you really buy it online? I mean, if you don't have one already I assume you don't know about them (or you intentionally opt to not wear one, in which case you wouldn't want to buy a watch) and therefore would probably want to see it in person. Third, and this goes for all this merchandise: at this point YOU'RE STILL NOT IN THE RACE. You're just in the lottery. There is a very good chance that you would be buying this stuff in vein.

Then, the waiting game. And by game I mean I would go to the NYCM site daily to look for updates (I know there would be none) and make sure all my information was entered right. I would have to hold tight until that magical, undetermined day in June when the NYRR would decide to fire up its digital bingo spinner and start spitting out names of the chosen 50,000 who would race the (other) race of races.

Turns out that magical day was today....

6 comments:

The Laminator said...

Haha! All that just to say you got in this year! Quite verbose, don't you think? I disagree that NYC can't be a PR course...I've ONLY PR'd here every year even though I run marathons elsewhere. I also disagree that you have to go ride the buses at 5AM, unless you want to rub elbow with the tourists. I suggest you do what we locals do...the Staten Island Ferry...at 7:40...will get you there in plenty of time. But you're right about it being so ungodly expensive...I could probably run two other marathons for the same price. Oh yeah, did i forget to say...

CONGRATULATIONS!

Heehee =)

J said...

Ok. So. Unlike the other commenter, I quite didn't get the part where you say you got in. It says the spinning spitter day is today.... BUT... ????? Did you get in or what???

BTW, NYCM is my marathon PR. Who says you can't PR at NY?!

Jess said...

I read somewhere...maybe RW...that NYC is using price as a way of thinning the applicant crowd. Apparently, some other big races, like Chicago, are doing it too. But, $35 for "chip activation"? That is especially BS.

Kevin said...

Congrats for gettin in

Irish Cream said...

Wait, so you ARE in, right? If so, CONGRATULATIONS!! Oh my gosh, that is such great news! But wow, $182 is STEEP! And I thought Chicago was bad at $125 . . .

Adam said...

WHOAAAAA. Where is the picture of the free vasoline that they give you to help the ass pipe slide better??