What is wrong with the organizers of the Chicago Marathon? After heat-related hospitalizations and deaths marred the 2007 race, you’d think they’d be on their toes. Yet the 2011 edition, which is eight months away, has already featured two huge, easily avoidable missteps.
Misstep 1: The race will take place the day after Yom Kippur, for which observers are required to fast for 24 hours. Sure, you can race a marathon after fasting. But don’t expect a PR; there’s a good chance that it will be an awful experience too. I’m not Jewish. Nor am I Christian. I don’t think any holiday should dictate a race director’s decisions. But Yom Kippur is major — it’s kind of like failing to notice Christmas, and then scheduling the race for that day, and then saying, “Sorry! We spent years planning this — and did not look at a calendar during those years — and things can’t be changed now.” I understand the consternation.
Misstep 2: You can register for the race online, but registration starts at midnight tonight CST. Boston’s 2011 race filled up in a mere eight hours (and that’s only because a broken registration link sent runners off into the weeds for several hours). Will Chicago fill up this fast? I don’t know. I guess if I want to be certain of getting in then I have to stay up until 1 o’fucking clock in the morning on a weeknight to register. Or get up at a reasonable hour and hope there are spots left.
Why, Chicago Marathon? Why? If you were hoping to generate excitement by opening up registration at midnight, then guess what? You’ve failed. Instead, you’ve generated anxiety and resentment. I haven’t even registered for your race yet and I don’t trust you to care about my experience as a customer. Nor do I like you all that much. Nice job.