Race medal question....do all races give finisher medals to those who are swept?

Discussion in 'Events/Competition' started by Qltrgrl2, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. thndrmatt

    thndrmatt Real Life Mickey Wannabe!

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    Reporting on the WaD sample certainly generated some animated discussion...

    A couple personal additions, I DNF'd Ironman China in 2009, and then completed Ironman Wisconsin later that year. The failure, inability to bring home the finisher's medal due to that failure, and general disappointment is what charged me to try again, and motivated me until I succeeded. I tell everyone that the success I eventually had was made infinitely sweeter by knowing how the failure felt. I wouldn't even wear my Ironman China clothing (which I'd purchased prerace) until after I finally finished one...

    The underlying issue is how welcoming RunDisney has made these long endurance races. There is a reason why less than 1% of people are marathoners, and it is that it requires a level of skill earned through training and practice that is not attainable for everyone. But in order to maximize participation, RunDisney has done what they can to encourage anyone to at least come to Orlando that weekend and give it a go, whether it be to increase the runners cap via wave or corral starts (and therefore increase crowding), or hand out medals to all who attempt. Discouraging participants from trying (and signing up for additional races) would not help them as an entity.

    I would compare this situation with longer races, such as a 100 mile trail race such as Western States or Leadville, or a half or full Ironman. Can you imagine if people were bussed from the 20 mile point of Leadville to the end and given a finisher's buckle? Or if they didn't finish the swim of an Ironman they were bussed to the finish, skipping the bike and run altogether, and allowed to cross to the announcer's phrase "You are an Ironman" and handed a medal? Even an athlete who trained perfectly could have a mechanical incident on the bike (or even a crash) that ends their day prematurely, and none of them expect to be treated like a finisher. Sometimes bad luck plays a part, but there's always another race in the future somewhere.

    It's true that of the ~20 DNF'rs I saw that were bussed from somewhere early in the race that some of them might have had catastrophic injuries or extenuating circumstances end their race. They might have trained longer and harder than most of us. Failure is a part of life as much as success is, and their eventual success when they complete a race of that distance would have been made sweeter if they didn't already have the same prize for the failure.

    What I love most about WISH is the way I describe us to people who ask (like several times on Saturday). I say it's a group of people of all shapes, sizes, speeds, and abilities, who encourage each other to lead healthier lives and reach their exercise goals. :thumbsup2 While a marathon (or half) is certainly a "popular" goal these days, it's not for everyone... I would be just as encouraging to those striving to complete something within their ability level at the time, regardless of distance.

    I do find it interesting that they organized the separate finishing area well away from the actual finish in a separate lot. That obviously required additional resources vs just taking them to the actual finish. I get the feeling they were trying to avoid this exact conversation? It certainly seems like one of those controversial topics where everyone has an opinion and is ever convinced to change theirs...
     
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  3. JCH

    JCH DIS Veteran

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    My thoughts are this:

    Disney offers a 5k option with every race. If you are someone who knows you can't keep up at 16 minute pace, or that hasn't trained beyond 4 miles, then there is no shame in the 5k. It comes with a medal, fireworks, Disney characters, the whole 9 yards, and there are no sweepers. You still get congratulated in the park, and yes, you accomplished something! This is the race for those who are trying to become healthy, but haven't trained to the point of being able to do 13.1 in 3 and a half hours.

    There was just too many people trying to do 13.1 as a first race, which I find to be very strange. I started out with the 5k as a bucket list item, then a 10k because hey, it's only twice as long, and only then even thought about a half marathon. It see many people signing up for halves without so much as running a mile.

    I tried training for the full, and realized that I am just not ready and deferred it. I decided to keep doing halves, and try to lower my time and get a few more under my belt before trying again in a year. Sometimes you have to be honest with your abilities, otherwise, you may do yourself more harm than good through risking injury.

    Giving everyone a medal causes people to try to do something they aren't prepared for. Half marathons and full marathons are not something to joke with. People have died attempting them. Even at the 10 miler, undertrained people were passed out, vomiting, and you could hear people calling medic constantly! It's just not worth that risk.
     
  4. justcruisin

    justcruisin Guest

    Someday they'll hand out medals with the bibs and goodie bags. Cut down on the congestion on the course.
     
  5. halvnorsk

    halvnorsk Mouseketeer

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    I find this a very lively and interesting debate. Now I'm going to be looking at everyone wearing a medal during the WDW Marathon Weekend wondering if they ran the entire race or not. But I've learned not to judge by outward appearances. I've witnessed people of all shapes, sizes and ages running races and I think it's AWESOME! I'm going to have to look at other characteristics like that awkward post race gait/limp/swagger. This could become a very entertaining people watching game. :scratchin
     
  6. Terapin

    Terapin DIS Veteran

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    The test for me would be to put me in a chair. Let me sit for 10 minutes then ask me to get up gracefully and take 10 steps in less than 10 seconds. That is my authentication! :rotfl2:
     
  7. halvnorsk

    halvnorsk Mouseketeer

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    I hear ya! As a female, I dreaded every visit to the restroom ('nuf said). Although now that I have switched to minimal running shoes, I find my thighs are less sore after a long run than they used to be.
     
  8. Figment1990

    Figment1990 DIS Veteran

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    Just chiming in to say that I am one whose first time race was this weekend at the wine and done half. I am not very fast so I felt awkward at our local 5k and 10k's (where people usually are very fast). I know that's silly to be embarassed but I was so I didn't enter. I have endurance and a decent speed. I finished the half in 2:52 with stopping a couple of times and I am so proud of my medal. But I trained super super hard for this and learned so much about myself and my ability to commit to training. Disney is my happy place in life and I felt like I would feel comfortable here. So I did do a half as my first race and honestly, I feel comfortable with this distance. And what a thrill. I'm probably weird but I was smiling a lot. It was such a rush and so cool. (if you are trained, healthy, and have good weather and good luck)

    (edited to add: I had run prior to signing up for the race- at least 12 months worth of 3x a week several miles and ran a couple 7 mile runs before I decided to give it a shot)
     
  9. sissy_ib

    sissy_ib DIS Veteran

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    Have you gone and watched the local races? There are all kinds of people that run 5Ks. Fast runners, slow runners, walkers, people pushing strollers, elderly. You don't need a < 6 min/mile to run a 5K or 10K.
     
  10. Rupert B Puppenstein

    Rupert B Puppenstein DIS Veteran

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    It depends on the race. Some of the smaller ones including Half Marathons seem to have the more serious runners. So, you can be left in the dust. I am discovering that the larger races and those with themes tend to have runners of all levels. I will never forget my first small and local Half Marathon. It had quite a few out and backs and it was quite discouraging having people start out fast and finish fast too! You have to get used to people not being around during most of the race. It is quite an adjustment. :eek:
     
  11. JCH

    JCH DIS Veteran

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    I think it's a little different when you have been running for a year and can do up to 7 miles. :) What I mean is people who literally have never run at all deciding to do a half. I just think you need a base of at least 3-4 miles at pace before training for a half. That's where most training plans start, so if you are there already and follow the plan, you should be successful and not have to worry about sweepers and earn your medal. I don't think I'm being elitist by any means, just realistic. I also wanted to point out how awesome Disney 5ks are as an alternative for those who just aren't ready for a half.

    I get you on the local race 5ks/10ks with the fast runners. I always have to check the race results from a previous year before I decide to register. If I look and see no results slower than a 12 minute mile, I am skipping that one!
     
  12. FFigawi

    FFigawi DIS Veteran

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    I don't agree with this. When I started running several years ago, I began in February by training for a 10k in April. In May, I signed up for my first full being held in November. Two months after the full, I ran my first 50-miler. I didn't have a base or anything, I just decided I was going to go out and do it. My wife did something similar when she ran her first full too. This approach doesn't work for everyone, but not everyone has to have a big base before signing up for a half or a full.
     
  13. sissy_ib

    sissy_ib DIS Veteran

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    Maybe some, but not all. But to say all participants in all the local 5Ks and 10Ks in a large city are super fast runners? I have a hard time buying that.
     
  14. Tabetha

    Tabetha DIS Veteran

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    And even if you feel like everyone is really fast there is no shame in being the slowest. I've run 2 10k and a half marathon here at home and we solidly placed in the very back of the pack each time. The half we last did, there were a whole 9 people who finished behind us..

    But guess what? We got so much encouragement the whole way from spectators, finishers and the on-course volunteers. And as awesome as all the fast runners are, there is a grit and determination that goes with those of us plugging along at the back - someone has to be last!

    That said, we busted out butts to make sure we stayed within the pace. Had we been swept, there's no way I'd have taken a medal. To me, the medal is the symbol of completion. That's why I got a PR at my last half: I really, really wanted the cool medal.
     
  15. DIS-OH

    DIS-OH Mouseketeer

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    I can see both sides of this debate.

    But, just wondering...if you get swept in one or both of your Coast to Coast races, do you still get the Coast to Coast medal? Or just the individual race medals?

    I earned my C2C in 2012 (Princess and DL Half) and consider it a once-in-a-lifetime achievement as my job makes it difficult to travel during the academic year.
     
  16. Rupert B Puppenstein

    Rupert B Puppenstein DIS Veteran

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    Did I say all participants? I said some of the races. I do find the local large races to have the most crowd support and many races actually give an award to the last finisher. Surprised Disney doesn't do that.

    No, if you are swept you do do not get the Goofy or the Coast to Coast. You just get the medal for the race you were swept from. I can see that it might be possible to get the Goofy medal if say you were swept during the Half but finished the full because they go off of your bib, not times (although they have threatened that there is a cut-off to get the Goofy medal time-wise) as of yet. I guess things can change with all of that too. I can't imagine that anyone swept from the Half would continue with the Full Marathon though...
     
  17. sissy_ib

    sissy_ib DIS Veteran

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    No, you did not. I was initially replying to Figment1990 who said they felt awkward at local events because they had super fast runners. There is no reason too feel awkward or embarrassed. I am saying there are very few races that are only for the elite runners among us. There is a reason most are called "Fun Runs" and "Family Runs". And now is a great season to get out and try a local race for the first time. I cant tell you how many "Turkey Trots", "Jingle Runs" and "Resolution 5Ks" I am seeing locally. I just did the "Mini Marathon" (3 miles) at the Rock n Roll marathon and 1/2. I saw all shapes and sizes of people doing the half and 3 miles. (Most people I saw doing the full were really in shape!!) The fastest person on the 3 miles did a sub 6 minute mile. I came in just under 15 min/mile and there were plenty of people who finished in over an hour. Just because there are people faster than you is no reason to be ashamed or not participate. Running these events should be fun, it's not the Olympics.
     
  18. Rupert B Puppenstein

    Rupert B Puppenstein DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for clarifying that. I thought you were responding to me because of the quote being included. :) That is the newest fundraising craze and family activity.
     
  19. sissy_ib

    sissy_ib DIS Veteran

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    I was responding to both of you. You said
    Yes, but the small percentage of races for elite runners is no reason for Figment1990 to avoid all local races.


    I hate running, but I love doing races. Both by myself and with my DH. I am no where near the faster runners and I don't want to be. I do it for my health and for fun.
     
  20. Figment1990

    Figment1990 DIS Veteran

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    Ok. Geez. Chill out. Maybe I don't want to be last?? It's a personal thing and I checked the results of my local 10k and I'd be at the very back and I was willing to even do that but I missed the registration. I'd do it now maybe, after having done a race, but for my first race, having it be a Disney one was really more in my comfort zone. but honestly I like the pacing of my half, I liked being out there a long time and I don't really want to run up and down major hills at my townships 5k at 7am. The wine and dine for me, was perfect.

    Opposite of you I like running but im not that huge on racing. I run because I enjoy how I feel, I like being alone with my thoughts and I actually mostly do it because I'm still working out some old injury rehab. (which is another reason I avoided some local races this year because of all their hills).
     
  21. Quiksilvr

    Quiksilvr DIS Veteran

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    A greater percentage are. I'm a 21-23 minute 5K runner. If I happen to run a race in some small town or suburb, I am often competitive for an age group award. If I run the same race, same finishing time, here at home (I live in downtown Washington, DC), I'm nowhere close to an age group award.

    That said, there is always a contingent of runners going much slower. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Nobody is judging you.

    My experience has been that the race breaks down into several groups: (1) the elite people who are competing for the win; (2) the pretty-close-to-elite people who are competing for age group awards; (3) the serious runners who aren't fast enough to compete for age group awards; (4) the fast amateurs; (5) the casual runners; (6) the social runners; (7) the "I just want to finish" runners; and (8) the walkers. There is nothing wrong with being in any of these groups.

    In a small race, I'm a solid 3 who sometimes gets lucky. In a big race, I definitely slip to a 4. For example, I recently did a 5K where I was able to get 4th in my age group, and finished inside the top 20%. But, there were only like 200 runners, and the race was in a rural area. During my most recent half, which had about 15,000 runners and was in a major metropolitan area, I came in around 3200th, so close to top 20% but not quite.

    Anyway, the point is that there is nothing to be ashamed of. If you want to get out there and do the course, go out and do the course (just don't hurt yourself). Don't let the super fast runners at the front intimidate you. A couple of my friends at work are elite runners who sometimes win half marathons and can dominate the heck out of 5Ks and 10Ks. (During the race where I came in ~3200th, one of my friends came in 10th overall.) Since I started running "seriously" about a year ago, those guys have been nothing but helpful and supportive. They want me to succeed at my level, even though compared to them I'm so slow that I can't even keep up on easy maintenance runs.
     

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