Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Houston Marathon Lottery

Okay, so today was opening day for registration for the Houston Chevron Marathon LOTTERY! Who in a million years would ever guess that Houston's marathon would go to a lottery system to enter?! But they have. Last year's marathon and half-marathon filled up within 36 hours of opening registration. I was on the road last year at the BMW MOA Rally in Johnson City at 12:01 AM when registration opened. That would be 1:01 AM EDT in eastern TN, just in case you missed that fact. So there I sat, in my hotel room in the middle of the night, fingers poised over the keyboard, mouse in hand, trying to get my registration to go through an overloaded registration website.

In 2008 it filled nearly as quickly. Houston Marathon has sold its soul in order to attract the big names in marathon running: The Olympic medalists and Olympic hopefuls. To do this they have instituted a large cash prize purse which, while attracting the elite, detracts from the amenities and fun for the average weekend warrior like me. To add to the desirability of this event for the elite, it has been the U.S. National Championship Half Marathon event for the last 3 or 4 years.

Today at 6:00 AM registration for the LOTTERY was opened for business. With no pressure to log in, since the drawing will be done August 17, 2010 and time of registration will hold no bearing on chances of winning a spot, I didn't sign up until 5:00 PM this afternoon. In the meantime I've been browsing the Active.com website for other marathons in the December-February time-frame as possible alternatives. As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, "the thrill is gone" as far as the Houston event goes. It's all business, all the time. No joy. No fun. No race-day silliness. The runners are treated like a number and pushed through the system like cattle at the slaughter house. I didn't enjoy it this past January and the hassle of getting there is almost not worth it. I've decided to book a room at a downtown hotel the eve before the event, to relieve the pressure of getting there race day morning. Maybe that will help some. We'll see...that is, IF I make it into the event.

I've identified a few possible events and might even do one or more of them even if I do win the lottery for the Houston event. Hmmm, let's see....there's St. Petersburg for the Women's Half Marathon the weekend before Thanksgiving: a nice loop course, pretty cool finisher's medal and a great spot to spend a few days before and after the event. Or there's Charlotte, NC with a loop course through historic downtown, hotels and convention center right there at the start/finish area. And another possibility is in AZ. Disney has a pretty awesome Half Marathon, too. Just haven't figured out the logistics for it, yet.

I'll just take a wait-and-see attitude, see what happens August 17. In the meantime I'm in training for the Maui Half Marathon in mid-September. That one's a winner all 'round: Get to see my son and his family including my grandson and new granddaughter, a nice little jaunt from Oahu to Maui for a 3 day weekend to do the race, then back to Oahu for the rest of my visit.

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