Analysis of the Greensboro/North Carolina Marathon

Posted by Andy Durham on May 5, 2008 at 10:39 am under Amateur | 23 Comments to Read

They ran the 26.2 mile marathon in Greensboro on Saturday and the the turn out was really good with over 1,500 runners competing. I’m not totally sure we can call the people who showed up on Saturday runners after examining their finishing times.

Here’s a look at what appears to be a large group of joggers who ran through Greensboro on Saturday morning. We take a glance at the Top Ten finishers:

#1 Aaron Linz@2:52:37(Two hours, fifty-two minutes, thirty-seven seconds)
#2 Craig Longhurst@2:57:17
#3 Mike Selle@2:58:22
#4 Anthony Ivey@3:00:44
#5 Seth Banner@3:02:10
#6 Anne Kuiken-Popek@3:02:30(Ragsdale High School teacher/coach)
#7 Richard Sexton@3:07
#8 Tim Pierce@3:11:13
#9 Kevin Eagle@3:14:42
#10 John Mignosa@3:15:30

*****Anne Kuiken-Popek was the only Greensboro runner in the Top Ten.*****

The times are not very impressive overall. When I ran this race as the “Greensboro Marathon” back in 1990 my finishing time was 3:12:47 and that would put me in the top ten for this year’s race and I am not a world-class runner…There must have been at least 75-100 runners who finished ahead of me on that November Sunday just before Thanksgiving back in ’90 and we had a much smaller field than they had this year with the estimated 1,500 runners.

Great turn out for the event and I sure wish we would have had a slow field like this back in 1990 and I could have been standing on the medals platform ready to receive my prize but the way it went back then, it was just pick up your towel and head out to the basketball court for 10 games or so of three-on-three.

When I ran the race for a second time back around 1993 my time was relatively slower because I had to slow down and push local insurance agent Steve Loflin who had hit the wall and needed some encouragement. That year my time was 3:30:14 which would still been good enough for 17th in this year’s slow field.

The best race/races the city has ever hosted was the Rainbow Run which would go off every year in May right around Memorial Day weekend. I believe the race was run the Saturday before the big Memorial Day weekend. One year when I was feeling fresh, I ran the two-mile run/race and finished around second or third and then at the finish I kept going and jumped right into the 10K field and starting from the back of the pack, I was still able to crack the top 30 or so….

I enjoy breaking down the local sports landscape and I have a very good background to get me started. I’m sure most of the people that ran or jogged in the race this past Saturday are glad it’s all over and for some they can’t wait to get going again. I remember one year after the Marathon, I came back and ran a 10K the next day, and I don’t carry on that pattern any more.

The Marathon organizers need to do a better job of getting the word out to a more competitive pack of runners and their numbers will grow and the field of runners will become much more talented. When you see finishing times like we saw from Saturday’s field it makes you think you are reading times from a training run or from a controlled workout.

Let’s step out and let’s step up the pace…..


  • Don said,

    We got an invite and attended the initial Press Conference – putting info and video up from that meeting. After that… nothing.

    If Andy didn’t run for fun, I doubt we would have even posted what he did. Coverage is NOT automatic.

  • Andy said,

    Don’s right and we had MANY people inquiring about the Marathon as we look into our stats department and see Greensboro Marathon coming up many, many times…..

  • Don said,

    Gary posted on My Press Conference Coverage (http://www.greensborosports.com/2008/02/12/greensboro-2008-marathon-press-conference/) :

    1.
    Gary Lee said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Here it is 48 hours after the race, and I still don’t know how I did. I asked several volunteers and runners at the finish line and no one knew where they were posting the times. There was not even a visable clock at the finish line. This is totally unacceptable. I have been going to their web site since Sunday morning, and though it tell you to go to the results tab, there is no information there. I liked the course, and I felt like they did a reasonable job in most areas, but the results issue has left me really disappointed. Race professionals should have known better than to not have a finish line clock and to have times posted asap.

    ————————–

    As this was their first race, I’d say give them a break. The fact that they were able to get the race certified was a BIG accomplishment. Hopefully, next year they will do better. AND IF THEY NEED SOME IDEAS… We’re here to help; because anything that we can do to help ANY ORGANIZATION results in rising the standard for all groups.

  • Andy said,

    I have never seen a REAL race without the yellow/green neon finish line clock……..Results are always in a book or tablet notebook available to runners at least 30 minutes after the completion of the race.

  • Cary said,

    I cannot believe the comments made by Andy. You sure are full of yourself. Patting yourself on the back for posting a slower marathon time because you helped an ailing friend who needed that extra push to finish the race.

    Since when did a slower runner become any less of a serious competitor than the faster individuals. Most runners, even the elite ones, run the race to better their own times, not to beat the other runners. If everyone was in it to win the race then you would see very small marathon fields.

    You also have to understand that the Boston Marathon was held just weeks before this marathon, so many of the so called “competitive” runners (as you call them) had run that marathon and were not interested in running another so soon after. Sure, there were some problems with this first time marathon, but that is to be expected. They will work the kinks out and make it even better in the coming years. Even the most established races have their problems (remember Chicago?).

    And another thing. I doubt you would have posted a 3:12 time in this Greensboro marathon considering it was significantly hillier than the Greensboro marathon held 14 years ago. So don’t go patting yourself on the back so soon.

    You have insulted all of the runners who participated in this local race!!

  • Andy said,

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the runners were better back in the old days…..

  • Greg said,

    I think it is just you Andy, Cary is right the course back in the good old days was very flat.

  • Cathy said,

    I think back in the days of this blogger he had the indians chasing him and that was many years ago. No wonder he was moving so fast with the indians in pursuit.

  • Andy said,

    26.2 miles is 26.2 miles, I don’t care if it’s flat or not. The first Greensboro Marathon that I raced in, I hit the 6 mile mark at 36:36 a personal best and I knew it was time to slow down or I might break a record or an artery.

    Today’s runners just don’t seem to have the Passion we did back then…..

  • Cary said,

    I suppose you had to walk through 2 miles of snow before the start of the race back then…

  • Bill said,

    Who is the president of the local running club? I think we need to give him a call and alert him on this embarassing article.

  • Andy said,

    There’s no need to go hating on me. I call them the way I feel them.

    The toughest weather problem was when I slipped off of the ice-covered trail and ended up in the creek at Lindley Park.

  • Nathan said,

    Andy, you arrogant schmuck. People like you give the sport a bad name. Your pitiful and obvious yearning for your glory days is simply embarassing. Don’t confuse your personal disappointment with a lack of legitimacy or passion in others. Anyone who puts on their shoes and puts one foot in front of the other has the right to be called a runner. Cary’s response is thoughtful and accurate; you have insulted the 1,500 people and hundreds of volunteers who went out to support this event. Fortunately, I don’t think any of them give a damn what you think. They ran for themselves, as RUNNERS do.

  • Matt Evans said,

    Wow, the people who ran aren’t “runners” but your 3:12:00 18 years ago makes you one? I’m glad to know my first Half-Marathon performance of 2:01:35 makes me “not a runner” rather than a runner aspiring to improve.

    Your article is laughably full of inaccuracies and stunning ignorance. Anne Popek wasn’t the only Greensboro runner in the top 10; Jennifer Pack, Mary Beth Errington, Kristi Hunter, and Maureen Franklin are all from the Greensboro area. Jennifer is a fellow member of the Greensboro Running Club actually.

    If you add up your obviously lacking grammatical and punctuation skills, the rambling nature of your post, the numerous times you contradict yourself, the lack of even basic information that was on their website like the fact they started posting results at the finish line at 10AM, along with your affront to every participant who ran in one of the races that day, it’s rather obvious you are either a crackpot, 11 years old, or mentally challenged. A running Rain-Man you are not however.

  • Andy said,

    It just seems like the times overall were faster back in the 1990’s….

    I’m not losing my mind am I?

    Maybe I am, but if I went into training 2 and half months before the race, I could run 3:20:00 next May.

    Maybe the cooler temperatures in the fall(November) helped us run faster back in the 90’s….

    Maybe being younger we were just crazy.

    I still remember a race here town back in the mid 1980’s and it was HOT on Labor Day Monday and we ran the Miracle Mile from the former YMCA up on W.Market at Tate Street to the Governmental Plaza(Phil McDonald Plaza). That was for our group and the other runners started at the Hayes Taylor YMCA down on East Market and the groups went flying on the start and our group headed down hill and then way up hill on Market and made the right turn and ended up at the Governmental Plaza and I was the first person there from either group and I won a slice of watermelon and a Gatorade.

    The mile time for me was 4:48 and that’s probably the fastest I’ve moved in a few years so all of you runners are probably faster than me but I used to be right there and if you give me two and a half months notice I will run that NC Marathon in 3:20:00 next May.

    I still have it, I just have to go find it and get it flying again. Good job on the race, but back in my day…………

  • Andy said,

    And Matt I’ll have you know that according the News and Record race report files, Anne Kuiken-Popek was the only Greensboro resident in the overall Top Ten.

    I listed the Top Ten in this post/blog which was written by the man that knows sports inside and out in the this town.

    I have run every day for 30 years, since 1978, and I am tired, I will go take a nap now.

  • Don said,

    Matt, they may have posted the results on the web; but this entire thread started by a runner/participant who couldn’t find that information. This was the first time the organizers held a marathon and they made plenty of rookie mistakes – one of which was failing to take advantage of free publicity.

  • Cary said,

    Andy,

    I am giving you the challenge to run a 3:20 next year in the NC Marathon. I am assuming the course will not change. But interestingly enough, your 3:20 time would not be considered the time of a “competitive” runner as you so eloquently stated above. You would be considered just one of the large group of “joggers” on a “controlled training run”!

  • Matt Evans said,

    Don,

    I have no problem with people pointing out mistakes the organizers made. That’s how an event gets better. I’ll even give you another couple; the mileage markers were confusing and they didn’t post chip times for anyone but the marathoners … even though the half-marathoners and marathoners all crossed the starting mat together.

    I do however, take offense to Andy calling everyone who participated “not a runner” because the field wasn’t up to the standard he felt it needed to be. I’d also say they didn’t need any more publicity … the race was very, very close to the capacity limit of 500 per race.

    Overall, as the inaugural event, I’d say they did a very good job. The course was beautiful yet challenging, the water stops were well placed and well stocked, the finish line had great snacks, the medals are nice, and it was for a good cause. There will always be room for improvement in any event, but tearing down the event and insulting the entire Triad running community doesn’t help anyone … and likely won’t do wonders for the publicity of your site either.

  • Don said,

    Andy will be Andy…. He’s been covering sports in Greensboro longer than anyone currently left in the market. He doesn’t get the respect because he prefers to dance to his own drum. We try to cover GREENSBORO sports and will give every sporting event in Greensboro a fair shake. We often get forgotten when the TV guys have a few minutes to fill or the newspaper has more ads than copy and the local events get a minute or two in the limelight.

    Hopefully, we can convince Andy to run in next year’s marathon. The rest of the editorial board may start the process to get him there. I’ll bring it up at our next meeting – Natty Greens’s 10 PM Wednesday (2nd Floor) – all are invited.

  • Runner said,

    Every event even one run for years have room for improvement. After making corrections from this years marathon I know next years will be bigger and better. Andy wont run next year because he wouldnt be able to live it down that he cant hang anymore and has to eat all his words from this site. Every runner that crossed that finish line deserves all the respect in the world no matter what there time was. Oh and by the way Ms. Popek usually finishes a marathon in 2:37, finished this one in 3:02 that shows you just how hard this course was.

  • Melissa Fourrier said,

    Well, it took me 3 months, but I finally got around to reading all of the comments about the first annual NC Marathon. I’m the race organizer and the ex. dir. of Foster Friends of NC. First, the race serves as our annual fundraiser and the money raised serves children experiencing foster care. Second, first year out of the gates, we are extremely pleased with the overall results of the NC Marathon. We have alot of areas to improve upon, and we are doing just that.

    The plans for 2009 are well underway and I can assure you, this is going to be a race you do not want to miss! The course is changing, the pre & post race events are much better, we have cash prizes for overall categories, strong sponsorships, a new category (10k), bus tours of the course, amazing support from volunteers and community groups, but most importantly….we have a waiting list of runners ready to register. This is an event that benefits everyone and for those of you who had a good experience, thank you for supporting us, we hope to see you again next year.

    For the negative comments and criticism, thank you too. We choose to learn from all types of responses. We take great pride in being able to listen and respond in a professional, respectful manner. We had many Boston Qualifying runners participate in this years event (some volunteered, some planned, some ran the half) and their comments are a valuable tool we have used for planning the 2009 event.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you have any additional comments you would like to share. *M.

  • David said,

    The race was not organized at all, even for a small local event. The organizers have decided to do it again and raising the fees. I hope they are raising the bar from last year. I would list all the things that were screwed up but the list would be too long. I’d just say few things went right (including the basics like accurate distance and results). The were talking about doing a 10k with the race and have now replaced it with a 2mile and 5k. Seems ridiculous to have both a 2mile and 5k but I would not expect inteligent decision from these event organizers. Go run the Nashville or Knoxville marathon instead (same time of year).