December 16, 2008

Just lie there and think of England.

Well, New York runners, I hope you got the peppermint-flavored anal lube out and warmed up, because here it comes: NYRR is once again bending us home-town-ers over and farking us deep and hard. By way of their email newsletter, NYRR has announced registration caps for most races during the year and race fees are about to go up. Again.

I'm beginning to dislike CEO Mary Wittenburg. She is a pretty figurehead, excellent politician, and a runner, but not a Fellow Runner, I'm afraid. During her brief tenure, to date, we've seen race fees go up by 50%-100% (depending on NYRR membership status, when you register, etc), seen hometown qualification chores rise (a volunteer commitment is now required), and the institution of a corral system at ALL races.

Now I will be the first to say that every NYRR member should volunteer - but to require it of people trying to qualify for the marathon reduces that gig from being voluntary to "voluntary". And I hate having to put quotes around words. I saw a whole hell of a lot of "volunteers" at the last race - most of them completely superfluous. This new wealth of man-hours is being mis-managed.

Corrals - also an excellent idea for the larger races. But when I find myself a quarter-mile from the start line at every single race because I'm a slow runner; when that even includes the damn FUN RUNS for crying out loud - it ceases to be a good start management tool and becomes simply discrimination against new or less able runners.

Now the races are to be capped. Read about it here. I note that certain races - those with big sponsors I suppose - will have higher caps. Not NO caps, mind you, but higher caps. Okay, I can understand not wanting to have 8,000 runners at every 4-mile race and pitiful turnout during the rainy 10Ks. I can understand wanting to find a way to spread out the qualifiers load more evenly over the races. But capping races at 5,000 is going to lead to mad rushes to register for the good races and people who aren't checking online registration every day are going to get locked out of races that better suit their calendar, running style, or which their friends are running. It will be harder to do races as groups.

There will be more runners who fail to qualify for the NYC Marathon. This makes it feels like just another waying of squeezing out the New York runners from our own city's major race! Sure, there are seven other ways into the marathon, but when you live in that city, you expect a break - and having to put in 9 qualifying races plus 1 volunteer commitment, all around capped races is NOT what I call a break, or even equal ground with the out-of-country tour groups. (This is the only race I know of where the locals have to run more than one qualifying race. All other races, if you have to run a qualifier, it's for qualifying TIME (i.e. Boston), and the only block to NOT getting in the race is that registration fills up. I understand caps on marathons, even the NYC Half-Marathon - but 4-milers??)

Perhaps this is a way of pressuring more runners into getting bibs by raising money for charity. Admirable to raise money; but not fun or meaningful when forced to as the only way into the marathon.

I don't know. It doesn't break any laws, and since NYRR is a corporation and not a members-run club, I guess they can make their own rules - but the rules suck. I feel more and more like I have to fight for an entry into my own city's marathon.

I'm also feeling like I'm PAYING more and more. Yep, that's right. "NYRR will be holding race prices at their current levels through March 31." In other words, race fees will be going up in April. So not only are we under the yoke, but we also have to suck the financial dick just a little harder, too.

You know, I used to volunteer for the Marathon Expo AND the marathon - four hard days worth of volunteering. A LOAD of time commitment. But now, I may not do that again, and just do my volunteering on some little 4-miler that will be over quickly. I'll still feel like I've paid my dues.

So there you have it, Sisypheans, another notch in the ever-tightening belt that will eventually keep YOU from being able to get into your own marathon! Happy Holidays, biatches!


Oh, and just because 'tis the season to be be bitchin', I leave you with this curmudgeonly thought: Who the hell thought this monstrosity was ever a good idea?

I'd love to have heard that conversation:
"Hey, that's a gorgeous spruce you got there on your upstate property, John...been growing that for, what, about 70 years?"
"Yeah, she's a real beauty. Tall and proud, home to dozens of woodland creatures, with many decades of life left in her."
"Let's chop 'er down!!"

You can insert the drool visuals on your own. Somewhere the story gets even worse:

"Hey, let's drag this bush into the city, choke the natural beauty out of it with 5 MILES of wires and cold, ugly, garish LED lights, and top it with a relic straight out of the 70's! It'll be the biggest eyesore in the whole wide metropolis!!"

Yeah, that's right; I said it: Rockefeller Center's "tree" is a blight on the cityscape and a crime against nature. For all you can see of the tree itself, they might as well put up an artificial one. And the lights...ugh. Serious amount of ugh. Whoever the designer was should be blinded as a retaliatory gesture for his crime against the people of NYC. But I'll settle for a boot to the ass that leaves welts that spell out, "Hey, genius - you can do LEDs and still make it look good!"

And what's with NY Public Library? Not a single decoration! Not even a bow around George or Gracie's necks! This...might have to be remedied.


Danny said...

I absolutely feel the same about the NYRR. I have my own rant prepared, that I haven't posted yet. I've been trying to get some answers by email, with only marginal success. I'll rant in the next few days...

Michelle J said...

Hey Chris,
Great post and i couldn't agree more!! I am off right now to sign up for the Half Marathon!!

Thanks and your very funny!! I'm giggling about the Christmas tree conversation!!!