Cinco De Mayo: What Happened?
I am sure that with the spotlight on Reno Nevada’s Cinco De Mayo’s inaugural marathon (which also included associated events of 5 KM, 10 KM and half-marathon), it will be hard for marathoners, especially first timers, to look at the race and see what went “right”, rather than what went wrong. That being said, I will try and focus initially on what I perceived as positive related to the marathon.
at the packet pick-up at the “11th hour” as it were, that is on
Saturday May 6th around -the
expo closed at (my wife and I
spend a few days camping in the desert near Winnemucca prior to leaving for
immediately inside the doors of
There was a little confusion where the timing chip station was concerned, since it’s wasn’t properly emphasized, and it caused a great deal of problems the following morning when a fair number of runners competing at different distances did not have their chips.
had typical marathon vendors sporting such items as inaugural marathon
supplemental gear-long sleeve shirts, sweaters and the like. (Incidentally the
marathon “finishers” race t shirt was a cotton short sleeve and I got what was
remaining-an extra large-) The design of the t shirt is the same format as
A very large
not to be overlooked “perk” along with the entry fee was free admission to the
pasta dinner, which included a speech by “
The dinner, which was held at the Circus Circus in Reno, included a very nice self service pasta buffet with salad and desert spread, waiters on hand, full service bar, and could be attended by family and friends for an additional well spent $20.
The morning of the race I was confronted with an unusual and pleasant scenario, in the US’s “biggest little city”… no problem finding restrooms (unless you count being tempted by 500 slot machines one has to pass in Nevada’s cleverly configured casinos), no concerns finding secure parking in the heart of downtown; (gambling revenue off sets the 5 story parking garages and security and oversight); and finally, no worries about turning in my sweat bag (an A to A course with my car a few blocks from the finish)…
Here end the majority of my accolades for this marathon. At the would-be start of the marathon (630 am) we were greeted with news I can’t thus far remember encountering at a marathon…the start would be “a half hour late”….
Wow. What an unusual move for a marathon. I would determine two things later (one: what caused the delay) and two; the delay didn’t help make the marathon a much more efficient event.
I kept considering the first timers-I can’t imagine someone who trained for months and was mentally psyched for it to have their balloon deflated like that… spouses waiting based on projected finishing times, runners who may be on a deadline for a flight…and most disconcerting-the fact that we were in the Nevada desert in Spring, and each minute we started later in the day could compound problems, especially for the rear echelon of the marathon field. (Incidentally the delay was related to getting permission from the city to set the course(s) up-one would have thought this would have been planned out further in advance)…
From the beginning of the marathon, when it finally did start, I sensed trouble. My splits in the early miles were between 1 and two and a half minutes different, despite the fact that I it was early in the marathon and I knew I was running a fairly even pace.
As it was, I should have been happy—at least I “got a split” from a mile marker-between about miles 8 and 14 I didn’t notice any mile splits at all. Most of the aid stations, located about every two miles, had “abandoned” tables with bottles of water in buckets on the ground, or in chairs. A few offered watered down Gatorade, and gu-belt camel backed marathoners earned their weight in gold…the only supplement on course besides water and diluted, powdered Gatorade were a few energy bar stations (ever tried to consume one of those energy bars while you were running(?)… and gummy bears (a little easier to consume on the run)….
Two other improvements of note here….the half marathon split off at about 7 miles and there was no prominent distinction of the split. There was a local law enforcement official directing traffic, but no course official in place. I found myself looking back after I made the turn to ensure a (yellow) marathon number was behind me and not a blue half marathon number.
I understood after the race that several marathoners inadvertently took the half marathon course, but I am not sure if the reverse is true)… Also a prominent half marathon denotation was sorely lacking, a staple of most marathons. I did pass a giant rainbow colored balloon around what I thought to be half way, along with a small group of area residents, but without mile marker, prominent aid station or other, I was unable to determine where I was at on course….. (around this point I also observed a classic Jet Black ‘49 Ford Coupe “Hot August Night” by design. Reno’s famed summer car show came to mind, and along with the hot air balloon, I at least sensed the culture of my surroundings, and felt a purpose of being for selecting the marathon)…
course was predominantly hybrid rural-urban, on the outskirts of
To this end, however, I was sorely disappointed…there were supposed to be five bands and I noted only two of any significance (including the aforementioned), and the second was so far inset off of the marathon route their voices and instruments could scarcely be discerned. This band was “staged” next to the only body of water we would encounter a small lake…
Part of my motivation to do the race, (rather than some of the other area marathons such as Vancouver Canada), (beside the fact that I love Nevada and have been making annual pilgrimages there since I was a young kid), was that my wife (Yuri) is a first language Spanish speaker, and I wanted to get her more involved in the marathon experience….The website opened up with Puerto Rican Salsa music…
With Cinco De Mayo as the theme, and the listing of all the previous Latin Pop and first language Spanish speaking groups that had entertained at Reno’s Cinco De Mayo on the marathons web site, running Reno’s Inaugural Marathon seemed like a sure winner in terms of familiarity for Yuri. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and was sorely disappointed.
Free admission to a Latin Jazz artist for the marathon was included for an evening performance at the Sands Resort, downtown; the evening after the marathon, (finishers), guests were $25. We opted out in favor of going to nearby Spark’s Cinco De Mayo event for all of a half hour—530 to 600 PM, (we learned it closed two hours early because of suspected “gang activity”…
Did I mention that an angry pit bull lunged at me just before mile 23? His collar tightened around his throat as the last of his chain length expired, just inches from Achilles, sending me about 18 inches in the air and landing with a severe charley-horse in my corresponding right quad. The owner asked me if I was ok. Thanks, friend..
As I have heard often said…”folks, I couldn’t make this stuff up”……
of the marathon were rewarded with an inaugural, spinning,
The following Maniacs “survived” the marathon…
Eddie Hahn 3:37:57
*Les Omura (also mentioned as a Maniac and noted in Reno Gazette Newspaper)
Dave Bell 5:
Charles Sayles 5:56:45