Oklahoma City, Okla. - What a weekend! Beginning in Bricktown (for me) and ending at the OKC National Memorial, so many things happened this weekend. In typical Oklahoma fashion, the weather was unpredictable, and it made for some "cool" experiences on both Saturday and Sunday. Overall, the participation of the event was at a record 25,731 participants. I haven't seen numbers like that (as a participant) since my Dallas run in March 2016.
For me, the weekend started with the expo, assisting the USA TODAY Sports Active Alliance booth, networking where possible, and finishing with the 5k run on Sunday Morning. Here is a quick recap of the weekend.
Memorial Health and Fitness Expo - The picture above was taken on the first day within the first few hours of being open. Don't let the lack of traffic in the picture persuade you from thinking this was a madhouse at one point. The first thing I did before reporting to the Alliance booth was get my bib.
It is good thing I did too. The Marathon received it's highest attendance ever with 25,000 plus in run event participation. The scheduled running events were Kid's Marathon, 5k (3.1 Miles), 5k Wheel, Half Marathon (13.1 Miles), Half Wheel, Marathon Relay, Marathon Wheel, and the Marathon (26.2 Miles).
As to how many more people were at the expo, I'm not sure. The 17th annual was a first for me in that I have never worked the OKC expo. This expo and event also happened to be my first stop of the year with Active Alliance 2017 Tour. Speaking of which,
USA TODAY Sports Active Alliance Booth
A new banner was created shortly after the first event of the tour, the Oakland Running Festival. If you are new to hearing about the Alliance, it is a tour of established endurance runs linked through the "Active Alliance" from USA TODAY Sports. The goal is to acknowledge the events on tour as the best organize and prestigious events in the country when it comes to endurance runs. All running events listed are qualifiers for the ultimate destination for endurance runners, the Boston Marathon. The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon was the 4th stop in the 2017 tour. Oakland Running Festival, St Louis Marathon, and the Illinois Marathon preceded OKC. In the month of May, the Orange County (California) and Cleveland Marathon are the next immediate destinations. For more information on the Active Alliance visit, idaremeto.com
As a new addition to the Alliance expo displays, they debuted the "Innovation Zone" here in OKC. That's right, it was a world debut .... this was the press release on it, remember? 🙂 In "the zone", attendees were able to test G-VERT Run feature on a Trueform Runner non-motorized treadmill.
VERT the makers of the G-Vert Running App allowed participants to track the impact of his or her movement style. Specifically, it monitored the running efficiency by tracking the overall energy as well as the type impact of an individual's running style. If high impact registered as high, the reading would suggest to the runner that changes in running mechanics would be beneficial for the sake of injury prevention. Readings were in real time by use of a blue tooth enabled sensor placed in a belt worn around the waist of a runner.
To have a video visual in how the G-Vert app and senor works, visit this quick video from the SIF Instagram account. For the majority of my time between Friday and Saturday of the expo, I was involved in testing and speaking about the G-VERT technology and the tour.
Sunday, April 30, 2017
If you were in the area on Saturday, you knew a bizarre and windy storm went through the area early Saturday morning. Though it was not a Tornado, it created damage like one. Saturday continued to ran throughout the day making for a windy and soaked Sunday morning, the day of the race. The storm didn't stop anyone from participating, I can tell you that. It indeed looked like a typical big race in the early morning with thousands of people dancing around in the corral looking to stay warm before the start of the race.
I came to the area very early in the morning and was rewarded with a great parking spot. It was not very far from the starting line. That said, I made sure to stay in my vehicle as long as I could before getting out in the elements. So knowing there was 25k in attendance, I began to make my way to the corral for the 5k. This was my second time to be a part of the race. My first marks to this day, my one only 26.2 (full marathon) that I have ever done.
6th Street and Hudson
As I arrived in the corral, honestly, there was only one thing on my mind, "Let's get this started!". I forget to bring a trash bag. What I mean is I learned a very expensive lesson in November 2015 at the Route 66 in Tulsa. I was freezing in the beginning and a few miles into the run, I ended up discarding some nice winter clothing due to overheating. I saw veterans using a trash bag in that run and never forgot how intelligent I thought that was after losing so much clothing. So on the dot, I have to applaud the race organization for the half and full. At 6:30am, as advertised, the corrals for the full and half were let through. 5k runners were lined up by mile split time (in theory), with a start scheduled at 6:45am. When the line started to move, it was more like 7am. However, that is understandable when there are 25,000+ involved.
This is my only constructive critique for this 5k event. In the past there have been 5k runners that got "lost" by running with the half and full pack and missing the turn for the 5k trail. To my understanding, that was part of the reason for delaying the 5k start. If indeed that was the reason, that seems very reasonable.
The only factor that seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle was the "wave" release based on times. By the time I got close to the starting line, it was obvious there were some participants that did not read the signs. There were strollers, walkers, in the 7:00 minute mile group. My point for bringing this up is it did make for a bit of an awkward start. Everyone has their different motivations for doing the event and will gauge their speed accordingly. Let's just say it felt like an Obstacle Course Race (OCR) for the first 1.5 kilometers of the run. When I reached Bricktown Bridge on Reno, the pack started to separate the runners, joggers, and walkers. For future 5k events, I hope there will be some adherence to the wave section for the 5ks. I did feel bad accidentally bumping into the walkers. However, when the walkers spread the width of the street....well, runners would like to run.
Like I said, by the time I reached Bricktown, this was a non-issue. In the big scheme of things not that big of deal. Though, I'm sure the walkers would like to have the faster people in front of them too.
After the entrance into Bricktown, it was essentially smooth sailing. At the risk of a TMI moment, I did feel the need to utilize the restroom but decided to slow down my pace and wait until I crossed the finish line. A lot runners are like this. With it being a 5k, I knew I could...and did, successfully 🙂 I finished at Automobile Alley, got my swag and visited the Memorial which is a block away from the finish line. There I found an image (and captured it) that personifies the reason for this event in the first place. Anything that I could have been complaining about prior, was completely forgotten about. The people who run this event, run to honor those who fell on the tragic day of April 19, 1995. Without a word, this image below, to me, encapsulates everything.
I may need to rethink working the expo the day before the race. Data is showing me that my performance times tank when I'm involved working the expos. Hmmm...
I'm taking the next 4 full months (May-Aug 2017) to concentrate on my mechanics and conditioning. One thing years of racing has taught me is you truly perform like you practice. Now that things are stabilizing in business, this should be easier to do. Looking forward to my next race adventure in early September. The one will be the one that started it all, my 8th consecutive Brookhaven Run.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST...
To top off the weekend....a few days before the expo began I was officially PUBLISHED! You can find my article from pages 38-40 in the double-sized issue of Oklahoma Sports & Fitness Magazine (May/June 2017).
The May/June 2017 issue of Oklahoma Sports & Fitness Magazine came out a few days before the expo. I was more excited than usual as it housed my article, "No More Weak Links", I wrote for the issue. So excited it came out. This link will provide you locations in where you can find hard copy versions of the issue.
A great weekend of memories at the 17th Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Event.
The Largest Attended Edition to Date...Highlights from 2017