Posted by: Jen | October 18, 2009

Race volunteering

I volunteered today at the Nike Women’s Marathon. It’s not been a race on my list of races to run and actually seeing the event further confirmed that. While I do appreciate the fact that thousands of women enter the lottery every year for the chance to get a Tiffany necklace from a firefighter in a tux, it’s not something I strive for.

I thought the race itself, for being as big as it is, could have been slightly better organized. The signs to various services (bag check, etc) were really small. Many people were walking around lost and we were out there to answer questions, and boy did we. The bag check is over there, your pace group is over here, the start line is up and around the corner. Bigger signs would have alleviated a lot of confusion. Our fellow volunteers were mostly high school students who didn’t really do anything but stand around giggling and talking to each other.

The course for Nike is similar to that of just about every other major race in San Francisco, which is another reason I’m not too excited about it. You can only run the race course so many times. 🙂 I prefer to travel when I can, even just to San Jose or across the bay, for variety in my race locations. I think the best way to see a new city is to run a race there. 🙂 I am also just not a huge fan of Nike in general, and haven’t been since I read some studies/journals on their business practices back in college – we went into Niketown last night so my friend could buy a pair of socks and I was not feeling the whole vibe. The music was too loud, the merchandise too expensive. We also noticed that a good portion of the girls/women who run NWM are the “pretty girls” you see on your school cross-country team, right down to the makeup on race day and the matching bows in their hair. To me, a race isn’t about looking good, it’s about the race between you and the clock, you and yourself, challenging yourself to new heights. It felt to me that NWM was more about “wear our clothes, look pretty, and ‘run like a girl’ (do guys and girls run differently?)” than “get out there and challenge yourself and enjoy one of the best running cities in the U.S.”

Just my opinion – this coming from a makeup-eschewing, anti-trendy woman who doesn’t fit into most of Nike’s apparel, short-sleeved shirts notwithstanding. Take it with a grain of salt. If Asics put on a race, I’d be all over it. 🙂

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