Monday, June 2, 2014

This Week on the Net (5/26-6/1)

Short week of blogging and web surfing.
  • First week of RWRunStreak!  Right after the first day of the challenge there was a problem: the #1 person on the list somehow did 25 miles in just over an hour (a car had entered the challenge?).  So the next day the RWRunStreak Facebook page posted the following announcement:
    • "Many of you have asked why manually entered runs aren't accepted in the the #RWRunStreak streakerboard powered by MapMyRun. When similar challenges in the past have been opened up to manual entry, some people misused the feature and populated the board with unrealistic data. So, for that portion of the streak, we are going to stick with only verified runs.

      But please keep in mind that recording your runs there is not required to be considered part of the #RWRunStreak. All you need to do is run at least a mile day. This challenge is intended to be a fun way to promote healthy running habits. It's not a competition.

      Please visit our #RWRunStreak info page"
         People weren't happy.  Not everyone uses Nike+ like I do so when they run on the treadmill their workouts aren't recorded.  And apparently map my fitness program has many problems that prevent people from logging their runs accurately.  It's sad that a fun, motivating challenge has induced so much grief.  Good thing is that many people still vow to do the challenge regardless.  I don't know if they actually know that the ranking is absolute meaningless, and it's the number of streaks you do that qualifies for the sweepstakes in the end.  But whatever gets you running right?

  • There was a half/10K event in Kunming, China on May 25th.  More than 10 people got sick during the race and one person died after being rushed to the hospital.  Some friends relayed the news to me on an online chatroom, knowing that I'm obsessed with running at the moment.  I went and looked for a few articles myself.  Many people were blaming the organizers of the race, since apparently the promised water aid stations along the course were not there.  The insufficient water combined with the summer heat and the high altitude of the area caused many people to become sick.  I feel sorry for the person who died, apparently he's only an undergraduate student.  Many people were blaming heavily on the organizers, and there may be a lawsuit that will follow even with the waiver forms that every runner was required to sign prior to the race.  And this is not the first time people have become sick and died during a race.  Running has become a very popular sport in China, and with that many cities have organized races to satisfy the runners.  But China is still young in this area, and the organizers still have much to learn to efficiently pull off a successful race.  I was particularly excited when I heard about the Shanghai Marathon, since I'm originally from Shanghai.  The marathon happens in late October/ early November every year, but registration doesn't open until a month before the actual race, which to me is a huge surprise.  The New York Marathon happens around the same time each year, and entrant lottery draw happens as early as March.  This is just an example that shows how organized and well planned each race is, and with all the runners, their little teams of family and friends, as well as the residents of Shanghai, these are big events with amplified problems to consider.  Mistakes like the disappearance of aid stations when they were promised to runners, lack of information on the race location, and the over emphasis on the waiver form that is then used as a weapon for the organizers to shed responsibility are just a few things that Chinese marathon organizer have to learn to do better.  After all, running and racing is supposed to be healthy and fun, not a shortcut to death.
  • After reading about the death at Kunming 10K/half marathon, I was surprised to learn from a race recap of a Memorial Day 8K race that they ran out of water at the finish line water station.  Katie's brother had to save her sister some water, and it was a hot day.  I was surprised because it didn't sound like a big race and it's typically held on a warm day of the year.  I had been blaming on China's immaturity in race organization to make the fundamental and silly mistake of not preparing enough water at aid stations, but it seems that I am being myopic and ignorant in what's actually going on.  I've only been to one race (5K/10K) so far, which had about 300 participants, and although there was only one aid station on the course, there was more than enough water along the way and snacks and more water at the finish line.  And from all the other race recaps I've read it never seems to be a problem.  I was impressed that some races even posts the flavors of GUs they provide at the aid stations to better inform the runners as they prepare for the race.  At the same time I also realize that while every runners are required to sign a waiver form, the organizers never clearly stated their promised responsibility, even if it's some basic like the medical and water aid stations they say they will have.  We assume they will provide all of these necessities because of the registration fees we pay to enter the races, but they are not required to disclose a legal binding statement of any sort like we have to do.  

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