Fear and loathing in Buffalo

I like to research potential marathons on MarathonGuide.com. It’s hard to know what to make of a race when the reviews fall on the extremes of the spectrum. But, in the case of the Buffalo Marathon at least, it can make for some pretty entertaining reading.

Ann Onymous from Rochester, NY writes:
“I signed up for a large shirt; to me, this is an implied contract – I sign up ahead AND PAY MONEY and I get a race and a large shirt (unless I show up last-minute). A t-shirt is not that big a deal (well, on second thought it is – I trained long and hard all winter for this race; it would be nice to have something to show for it, like the women in my group who got shirts). How this has been handled is an issue reflective of the race management – poor. And while I’m on my soap box…. Maybe have a few more than the dozen or so porta-johns for the 2,300 racers at the start area – I’ve not seen as much public urination in my life (well maybe except for the Boilermaker in Utica – but that doesn’t start in a downtown city area).”

I don’t get why people get so outraged about race tee shirts, either when there are only large ones left or none left. I don’t even take shirts anymore since I have so many of them clogging my drawers. If you finish a marathon, you’ve got something to show for it: your finishing time, your bragging rights and your memories. You’ll usually get a cheesey little medal too. As for public urination, she ain’t seen nothin’ until she’s come to New York, Boston or Chicago.

S.N. from West Yorks, England whines:
“The course itself is flat and fast, but crowd support is spread out – there are long periods with very little support, although there are pockets of strong support to lift you.”

Oh, for fuck’s sake. Do your research. You’re running in Buffalo. Buffalo! If you want big crowds, run in West Yorks. Or better yet, Shitterton.

L.W. from Washington, DC reports:
“The course was 0.3 miles too long according to my GPS system (and my husband’s) – even in the first five miles. A third of a mile wreaks havoc on your pace when you’re shooting to complete the race before being asked to move to the sidewalk.”

A GPS reporting .3 miles extra for a marathon is actually very good, considering that it’s nearly impossible to run every single tangent perfectly. More important, how can a course be “too long” in the first five miles? I think my head is going to explode.

J.C. from Pittsburgh exhorts:
“The women runner’s were phenomenal. I was with a group running 8:05’s to 8:15’s that strung me along. Another important rating for this course, all the women runners were 5 stars and some are even good runners!!!”


And, finally, there’s this screed that sounds like something out of The Daily Worker. The inscrutably named “m. g. from Parkside with my wage freeze! On ice..” writes, somewhat bafflingly:
“My running partner got hit up for change at mile 25 from some panhandler dude!REALLY! Last bummer: all that was left were loaves of bread and some off-brand diet pop for my post-race party… BREAD AND WATER! HMMM, like I said, the Control Board MUST now have taken over our local road races as well as the economic freedom of the working class! When you see them at the Corporate Challenge in their HUGE tents with catered food and limo service, wave and say hello!”

Will I run Buffalo? I have no fucking idea.

7 Responses

  1. A single testimonial amounts to (insert expletive), but I worked with a guy for about a year who was aching to break 2:30 and came awfully close there. He lives in Buffalo, if that makes any difference.
    It figures that someone with the less-than-clever handle “Ann Onymous” would be among those bitching about the shirts.

  2. These are hilarious. Thank you. Reminds me why I live in the city now…

  3. I almost want to run it just to be in a race surrounded by all those crazy people.

  4. so funny, thanx, I needed that. My fav is the “you aint seen nothing yet…” urination comment.

  5. If you are *honestly* curious about Buffalo; hit up the forum here:


    There are a lot more…um…rational commentaries about their races, including the marathon. (The T-shirt debacle gets some discussion and explanation if you search.) There are some legitimate organization gripes, but it is a nice, mostly flat course.

    And as far as getting hit up for change WHILE running? Not something I’d rule out. Though in fairness, it only happened to me once while warming up when a bum said something like “Hey baby running back to my place? ::dramatic pause:: Hey, its a legitimate question! AWWWW….I’M SORRY!”

  6. I’ve never taken the t-shirt at any race I go to. I hate owning more things than I need and with 2 kids I have a shit-ton of stuff already. This bothers some people to no end. At the NJ Marathon last year: “Here’s your race packet. Oh, what size are you?” No shirt thanks. “What do you mean, no shirt. It’s free. Here I have a medium here.” No thanks, I’m good. “Are you sure?” Yep thanks. **Lady then looks at her friend and then back and me and then back at her friend and shrugs and puts her hands out as if to say ‘I’ve done all I can, he’s just some kind of weirdo.’** Lady, I’m running a marathon in the rain by choice, of course I’m a weirdo. The fact that I don’t want the ugliest shirt known to man just because it’s free doesn’t change that either way.

  7. Awesome. I don’t know if I want to run buffalo either. And I LIVE here, lol.

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