Steve Prefontaine would have turned 61 last week if he hadn't been tragically killed in a car wreck in 1975 at age 24. Pre had already finished fourth in the 1972 Olympic 5,000 and was one of the favorites for Montreal 1976. Running culture has changed a lot since then, and in my eyes, not really for the better. Running used to be more of a rebel sport like surfing where guys and gals would push themselves hard to test their limits. It used to take a 2:50 marathon for men under 40 to qualify for Boston, now the standard is like 20 minutes slower! Now the gap between elite runners and recreational runners is staggering. I'm not trying to be a snob but I don't like running being a bucket list sport where finishing becomes more important than pushing your body to its physical limits. What I really hate is how expensive things have become, mainly because participants expect so many goodies from a race. Here's a list of things I could do without entirely just to cut race entry fees a bit.
1) Race t-shirts: most of these are ugly with corporate logos all over the place. I've pretty much donated every race t-shirt I've ever been given to Goodwill.
2) Finishers medals. I'd much rather be given a beer after a race. Give the medals to the kids.
3) Age Group Awards. Again, give the trophies and the medals to kids and for awards, give some prize money to the top male and female runners. Support the youngsters who may be chasing their dream of running in a national championship race or even the Olympic trials. I'm grateful that I was born with the talent to have done quite well with running but I really don't like getting trophies and medals. The ones I've won are in boxes in my closet. If anyone knows of a charity that will take them to give to kids, let me know.