Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where Would You Go? (If Your Budget didn't say "No".)

I use the running website, a social network for runners, to track my mileage, pace, and how many donuts I've earned thus far this year, which unfortunagtely so far exceeds significantly the number of delicious donuts I've eaten this year. "Donuts Consumed" is definitely something I'll start tracking next year.

I use dailymile for its data storage and analysis, but it tries to be fun, too. Both on its own site and on its facebook page, its admins post questions or challenges, which it calls "#dailymission" for its members. Some of them are fun. For example, last week it asked users to post their least flattering running photo (which in my case, is all of them). Others are a bit more serious -- asking for opinions on the new Boston qualifying standards.

Last week, dailymile posted a question that I thought was a fun one to consider.
What race would you most want to do, if you didn't have to worry about any logistics?
I thought this was an interesting question, but I needed to set the rules: "logistics" means budget, of course, as well as schedule, but also "ability level", meaning that in this thought experiment, it doesn't matter if I haven't met the qualifying standard for a race.

It was probably pretty obvious where I was going with that, and I admit that I've been getting a little bit of Boston envy. Hearing about other runners working so hard to make it to Boston, and the sense of accomplishment they feel when they qualify, it's a bit contagious. BUT, like I've said, I just don't think I have a Boston Qualifier in me. It's not that I think I can't do it -- but I think working that hard to shave well over an hour off my marathon time would turn something I've finally started to enjoy into something torturous.

A couple others that sound amazing:

The Reggae Marathon in Negril, Jamaica. Jamaica. How could it not be a blast?

The Great Wall Marathon. Wow. Nuts. Sounds really hilly, though. I've made my feelings about hills very clear.

Kona Marathon -- It's in Hawaii. That's awesome. I've never been to Hawaii. If I go there, do I really want to spend 5 hours running a marathon? (I guess you could say that about any of these.)

Athens Classic Marathon -- Supposedly the original marathon course. Every time someone runs a marathon they are, according to legend, following in the footsteps of Phidippedes, the Greek messenger who ran approximately 26 miles to bring news to Athens of the Greek victory at the battle of Marathon, and then died from the effort...reminding us that this really is a stupid idea.

All of these sound fun, and I'm sure there's hundreds more that would make for amazing adventures, just like there's thousands of places I'd like to visit if I didn't have to worry about money, vacation days, time, etc. But there's one race that stands out above the rest in my mind:

Awesome city with a thousand years of history and a great, Brian-friendly, climate for running. Not to mention there's a million pubs and they speak English better than I do. Unfortunately, not only is it on the wrong side of the Atlantic, but entrance is by lottery.

It's been fun to dream of faraway places, even though I there might be better things to do than run once I'm there, but of course time and money are huge constraints. That's ok; for now I'm pretty satisfied with the Philly Marathon in November and probably another shot at Shamrock next year.

But, if you didn't have to worry about logistics, where would you go?

(Attention work: On the off-chance you read this, please note that I wrote it last night.)


  1. Did you know you can also qualify for both the Boston and NYC marathons with half marathon times? Sure the half time may also be fast, but it may be more attainable to score a fast half than a fast full. Just putting it out there.

  2. Thanks! I only knew NY had the lottery. My best half (of 2) is 1:59, but shaving 37 off my half time does seem a little more realistic than 2hrs off a full (though for a variety of reasons I think I can do better at my next full).

    A lot of the people who didn't get into NY this year will probably be destroying me in Philly on 11/20.

  3. oh man the list is sooooo long, but I actually think italy... yeah that would be amazing, of course I couldn't read the signs or determine what KM meant in miles, but otherwise awesome

  4. Amanda, I only omitted Rome because it has 7 hills, and I am known to somewhat dislike hills! :-)

    I ran in Europe last year, but not far enough to have to struggle w/conversion. (My unhelpful Garmin decides to turn into a paperweight when it's outside of Pennsylvania, too.)

  5. I would love to do the Athens Classic... because well, it's classic!

    I'm currently obsessed with the Bermuda Triangle Challenge. (

  6. The Great Wall of China Marathon would be awesome, and I think without the constraints of logistics that would be my second choice.

    My first would be the Egyptian Marathon in Luxor. It starts and ends at Hapshepsut's Temple then runs through the Valley of the Kings and Queens and past many other ancient Egyptian sites. Sadly it does not pass the Pyramids of Giza, but the 100 km (62 miles) Pharonic Race does.

    Who's with me!

  7. The triangle challenge sounds fun.

    And I'd never heard of the Egyptian Marathon. That would amazing to run by all that history. I might pass on the 100K, though! (Though I'd consider a trip to Egypt unsuccessful if I didn't see the pyramids while I was there.)