Friday, February 08, 2013

Opening Day

Much like major league baseball, the racing season has it's share of rare yet popular experiences.

The Cubs may never win a world series, but just about any better than average baseball fan wants to step foot in the friendly confines. And what if the Cubs did make it to the world series? Imagine the fans that would come out of the woodwork to see it!

Along those same lines, most runners train for their first marathon in Anytown, USA. Some of us are lucky enough to have a big city marathon be our first. Sometime after that first marathon, most of us have thought about the Boston Marathon. Or for the Ironmen reading, Kona. The big event of your sport.

In cases of the true hallmark events, a vast majority of us average marathoners will never have the chance to run Boston or London (unless we get in through a charity race entry). The difference between our PR and the minimum for qualification into the race is too great. And even if we did meet those qualification standards, we'd still have to be sitting at our computers that first minute on opening day.

Opening day for Chicago baseball is usually a cold, sometimes wet, day in April. But it's opening day never the less, and tens of thousands of fans from all sides of the city and suburbs come out for it.

Opening day for your 'A' race depends on when it's held. In general, a fall marathon's registration opens in the first few months of the year. As endurance events have gained in popularity, registration on opening day has become imperative. Looking back to 2008, my first marathon, CARA training had started before the Chicago Marathon had sold out (about five months). Since that time, the race has added 5 or 7,000 additional entries and still, last year, sold out in a number of days.

So, on an upcoming Tuesday, I will be posed at my computer as the clock strikes noon to register for the 36th annual Chicago Marathon. Thousands of other runners from around the world will join me. I can only imagine the race will break a record again this year with the shortest period of time to a sell out.

The thought had crossed my mind (albeit briefly) to not run Chicago this year. I find myself thinking about the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. Marine Corps will be held at the end of October this year (ironically on my birthday). Registration opens mid-March and sold out in mere hours last year. So I will try again on Marine Corps opening day.

In a few weeks I could have entries into two marathons, one marathon or none.

Opening Day will decide.

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