Monday, June 7, 2010

Soldier Field 10 Mile

Memorial Day weekend has been the host of the Chicago Soldier Field 10 Mile for the past 7 years. This 10 mile race follows the scenic route of Chicago's lakefront, and finishes along the 50 yard line of Soldier Field.

This past year was my 3rd year competing in the race, and hosted 8,345 finishers. Among the finishers was Katie Mcgregor who was the top female who set a new course record of 55:51.

With all of the new technology that has come out in the past few years for new timing methods, this years race opted to use the B Timing system. This new timing technology has a sensor which is connected to the back of the runners bib. I think this is a great idea and I'm enthused about how it allows the runner one less thing to worry about because the bib and chip are married as one. While it is a great idea, for me personally I feel some flaws with this system. Firstly the bib cannot be bent or folded in any way, if so the chip warns that the device may become deactivated. Secondly, I do not feel that the bib allows for the most accurate timing possible.

With a race that is host to almost 10,000 people, it becomes natural for the starting line to become rather crowded. On race morning there was 3 different start corrals. I found myself seated in the first corral which became very compact. I placed myself far enough back to allow all of the faster runners to get out ahead of me as well as for all of the runners who feel the need to sprint like they are on fire out of the gate. When I crossed the starting line, I found myself 25 seconds behind the clock. This remained consistent throughout the 10 miles as I checked my pace with the clocks.

I crossed the 50 yard line at 1:11:55. While I felt that I hadn't run the best race of my life, I also felt that finishing in a 1:11:30 was an achievement. A few days later when I checked the results online, my finishing time proved to say otherwise. My clock time and finish time seemed to be the same. While I know that this is impossible from my placing at the starting line, the timing chip provided other information which becomes indisputable.

While I am well aware that 25 seconds doesn't make much of a difference in the span of a lifetime, I have been rather bothered by this for the past week. My race went rather smoothly and I felt fairly strong and relaxed, I finished 48th out of 4,641 women, and finished 330th out of the 8,345 total runners. But that 25 seconds means a lot to me, and I'll never get them back.

Sometimes its a shame when technology fails us. I'll get over my 25 second error eventually.

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