WALKERS: ASK FOR RACE DETAILS A RunningUSA Newsletter emailed to me included a featured item “Chesapeake Bay Bridge Event Partners With Charm City Run”. The article begins with a statement about the partners’ intent to encourage walkers to return to the race with a message of welcome. “The focus of this year’s Across the Bay 10K event is making sure that walkers, first time runners and family groups know that this event welcomes them”. Bay Bridge Day is a traditional annual event, begun in 1975, which allowed thousands traverse the bridge on foot. It's November 6 in 2016.
The state of Michigan, my home state, since 1958 has held a 5-mile Labor Day walk across the Mackinac Bridge, which spans the Straits of Mackinac* that connect Lakes Michigan and Huron. I have ALWAYS wanted to participate (lately I’ve had fewer and fewer excuses to explain why I have not) so I was instantly interested. There aren’t very many opportunities to walk on bridges that span large bodies of water; the only view we are afforded is that from a car or bus. Also, I think the state of Maryland is beautiful and is almost Michigan in ”reverse”; MI is surrounded by water (four of the Great Lakes) and MD surrounds water (Chesapeake Bay)!
According to the article, the bridge walk was not held after 2007, due to “skyrocketing costs and increasing security concerns”, which devastated many. It was reincarnated as a RUN in 2014, the "Across The Bay 10K". Now the sponsors and the Maryland (Governor's) Advisory Council on Physical Fitness wish to reassure everyone that walkers are still welcome. Charles Chester, the chair of the council was quoted in the article as saying, “"Health and wellness is so important for all residents, of all ages. Walking was adopted by the Maryland Legislature as the State's official sport and with the support of the Council because it is the one physical activity in which everyone can participate”. HOW COOL IS THAT? WALKING AS THE OFFICIAL STATE SPORT!
The problem I see is that there is hardly a mention of walkers or walking on the race website for which the link is provided!!! I do believe the sponsors message that they want walkers to feel welcome is genuine, and they will eventually proclaim it on the website. Most races are looking to boost registration numbers with the potential of increasing race revenue and prestige; walkers can provide this boost.
My reason for THIS post is to raise walkers’ awareness that they can use opportunities like this to inform the running industry as to what they as WALKERS WANT in race organization. In my opinion (I am not a competitive walker) it’s simple: walkers should request the same INFORMATION ON THE WEBSITE regarding race details as is provided to RUNNERS! Those interested in a walking competition can more easily determine which races are of interest to them; those who wish to take a more social approach can find their perfect non-competitive event.
Websites should provide specific information, just as it does for runners, about walker registration, course, start time, timing method, results reporting, and award categories. If all is the same for walkers as for runners, it is useful to spell it out in a section dedicated to walkers!
If you register for the Across the Bay 10k as a walker, provide a comment if possible. You can cut and paste the following as a comment for any event. I'LL PUT IT ON THE WEBSITE'S WALKERS RESOURCE PAGE.
“Dear Race Organizer; Thank you for welcoming walkers! I very much appreciate website information that specifically addresses walker activities in the event. Details regarding registration, course, start time, timing method, results reporting, and award categories for walkers are likely to influence whether I choose to participate in your race this year and in subsequent years, and whether I encourage others to register. If the same or different than for runners, it is very helpful to have this information clearly stated without needing to check multiple linked pages. Hope to see you at the race!”
* The image above was taken on the wide sweeping porch of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island MI looking across the Straits of Mackinac, seen as open water between the white porch columns. The Bridge is faintly visible below the tip of the flag in the middle of the picture, just above the horizon.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
New! Search Box
Earned Runs is now searchable! Check it out...