2 thoughts on “Flying Over Qualcomm Stadium

  1. Frank,

    Ranting is the purpose of blogging. While I fully understand your frustration with Competitor Group, and their emphasis on the masses and charity fund-raising, at the same time you have to consider their business model. They came into running not out of any love for the sport, but to seize what they saw as an opportunity. By shifting away from the “sport” of running to the “activity” of jogging, they see themselves maximizing their capital investment, and paying back those venture capitalists that funded their operation. That’s the point of venture capitalization.

    If the sport of running holds no appeal to CGI as an integral part of their operation, well, don’t blame them. Their’s is simply the calculating eye of the marketplace turned to the current state of running in the USA. No, any blame that exists must fall on those of us who have allowed the sport to fall from grace through a laissez-faire system of unconnected, locally-based events with no system of developing homegrown talent, nor of regulating or showcasing the talent that does exist from around the world.

    If the stakeholders of the sport would have done a better job over the past 20 years, perhaps CGI would be staging not only the mass events which they do with professional acumen, but front those events with powerfully attractive fields of talent that motivate and draw even more masses to the starting lines. Unfortunately, CGI does not see how bringing in anonymous, interchangeable speedsters who show no inclination toward helping promote or market the sport assists in any way in elevating their bottom line.

    I’m sure they would be sad to hear of the loss of a valued customer like you, but willing to make that trade-off to gather the thousands of new entrants lined up to take your place. Fortunately, there remain many events whose focus remains at least equally divided between sport and activity. Let’s hope your message will motivate those events and others who love racing to re-double their efforts toward balancing the scales of running in a win-win fashion, not zero-sum.

  2. Frank says:
    July 1, 2011 at 11:43 am (Edit)
    Nice shot. Looks hot there, which is unusual as far as I know. That shot reminds me of the parking/staging of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, and I am feeling like ranting, so forgive me for doing it here… I skipped it this year for the first time since it started. I’m kinda mad at Competitor Group for the way they added the half-marathon and relay to the event. No, I AM mad at them for it. Yes, I get that it’s not a major race, but still.. When Tim Murphy started it, it really had potential. They had a 2:09 finish early on and it was one of the fastest marathons in the West. Then Competitor got Elite Racing and things turned seriously “corporate.” Not in a good way. The race became less and less focused on runners and more and more focused on walker/fundraiser entrants. Adding a relay and half was like a steak into my heart after traveling from three states over 13 years to compete, no matter what. I appreciated being added to their “hall of fame,” just for hanging on for ten consecutive years. But if I’m so important to them, why did they have to dump a bunch of slowpokes in my way at mile 9? I never finished all that high (maybe 40th overall), but I loved going and felt like the early years were meant to give competitive age groupers the chance to be part of something. After all, the first marketing slogan was, “You missed the first Boston Marathon… Don’t miss the first Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.” So, OK, I thought I’d spend my hard-earned money there… They repay folks like me by pushing aside any pretense to seriousness to make way for folks who don’t know enough to NOT stand on the course looking for their relay partner, or who have no idea why people are yelling “TRACK!” as they saunter up 163 at a jog while 6:25 milers are coming through heavy traffic. And I do mean heavy. The whole thing is about getting entry fees now, less about putting on a damned fine race that attracts people because of it’s quality. Well, what can I do? I always enjoyed your coverage on the DVD I bought (or watched on the tube some time later). But I had to stay away this year in protest. If they’re just going to put on a “fun run,” I’ll spend my money elsewhere. Chiefly Chicago, where I’ll be lucky to place 500th, but at least there won’t be a thundering herd at mile 9 and nobody will hand me a cup of water at mile 14 and yell, “You’re almost there!”

    On a more positive note: I’m still eager to use my little web site to promote the Dollar for Development idea. I emailed Steve Nearman a few weeks ago, but we haven’t connected yet. I’ll watch your site for stories to cross-link, too. But you have my digits and can call or email any time if I can help add to the noise and get more race directors on board. Just say the word.

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