Monday, August 9, 2010

Tamalpa Runners Cancel Headlands 50k Three Weeks Prior to Race Day

This is my 805 post. The only common denominator that ties everything together? I try my best to avoid negativity - even when talking about cancer, which was my original content matter back when I started this in 2006.

I'm going to have to break the rules this one time though, because I am really upset and pissed off; more so than I have been about anything in a long, long time.

Here is the back story:

As many of you know, I have been training my ass off these past few months to get ready for my next race, the Headlands 50k. What's more, I was supposed to run this race with my boy Todd, who's taking the time - and incurring the expense -- to make the trip from NYC with his wife Liza. Furthermore, as you will recall the last time I was supposed to run a race with Todd, I got knocked out due my knee injury. So this was our shot to cone together from opposing Coasts and finally run together.

And so, I've been running the course nearly every week, sometimes at four hours a clip. I have dedicated my entire Summer to this event. Yesterday was my final big training day. I ran my four hours and finally felt ready.

I've been so excited about the race - and running it with Todd -- that I've been looking at the course map frequently. Last night I went to the site to check it out -- to learn THAT THE RACE HAS BEEN CANCELLED. THREE WEEKS BEFORE RACE DAY!

In all my years I have run hundreds of races. Not one has ever been cancelled. And yet this one has been cancelled due to "organizational and logistical shortcomings" -- whatever in the world that means.

Unfreaking real. Keep in mind that this is not a 5k. It's an ultramarathon - one that requires tremendous commitment in terms of time and training. To cancel it three weeks outside the race date is to me, beyond unconscionable. My point is simple: if you make a commitment -- and take people's money (which they are refunding), you honor that commitment. Especially if you are a race director. Period, end of story.

Both Todd and I wrote to the officers and Board of Directors. I got back two notes explaining their position. I am a sympathetic guy and all and I do appreciate them taking the time to respond, but any way I look at it, it's really hard to see their point of view (which to protect them, I won't share. Maybe one day they will see this post and care to weigh in with their own "on the record" explanation).

To that end, though, out of principle and lack of trust in their organization, it is doubtful that I will ever join their club or run another one of their races. Not as if I think they care.

All that being said though, when he heard this news my boy Phil stepped up to the plate. Our plans are not yet formalized, but with a big assist from Phil, Todd and I are going to run this damn "race" come hell or high water. Local area residents, The Wife, Phil and likely my Kids will help man the "aid stations." I might do some fundraising for it on my own for Crohn's and Livestrong, non-profits that are important to both Todd and I.

Ironically, I believe it's this type of spirit that formed the original basis for the Tamalpa Runners back in day. I think they need to look into themselves to see if that spirit still exists, today.

Regardless, Todd and I are determined to cross the finish line, together, as originally intended. Because us ultra runners are nothing if not tenacious.

Anyway, that was cathartic. Stay tuned for more.

1 comment:

gailaj said...

I've heard of races being cancelled, but not so close to race date....seems like they could have put on the race in some shape or form, or did they have permit issues, or.....?