Why do I keep running on non-certified courses?

I said over a year ago I was not going to sign up for any more races on non certified courses. I am tired of training my butt off and at the end of the race realizing the course was longer than the advertised distance. There is always the chance the course could be shorter than advertised, but I feel kind of slimy when I tell someone I ran a 10K and it was a tenth of a mile short.

I am a real idiot! I did it, I ran another race on a non-certified course. A year ago I ran the Folsom Blues Half in Sacramento with my daughter and best friend. We all ran it together and it was a really fun race. When it was over, we all realized the course was long. I know Garmins are not 100% accurate and we compared our Garmins and asked a few others around us and the consensus was the course was about .15 miles long. We also found the race director and he would not confirm our claim, but he certainly did not deny it.

That race was in 2014 and when 2015 came around my friend and I decided to run the same race again. The difference between last year and this year is I am going to take the race serious. I knew the course was long, but I thought it would be okay, but it wasn’t. There were over a thousand runners and I finished in 11th place. Yea, I am very proud of my finish place, but I was not happy with my time because the course was long.  

Shame on me for thinking I could live with a long course. I trained by butt off for the race and wanted to achieve a Black Performance Level. I fell short by less than a minute, 46 seconds to be exact.  Let’s assume my .15 miles is accurate. Reducing my time based upon the extra distance I would have achieved a 1:27:00. That’s Black! My goal was Black and because that darn course was long I just missed and had to settle for Brown. Guess what, I am not a happy guy.

As much as I enjoy running a race with a very dear friend I cannot quite stop thinking about what could have been if the course was certified. Sure I can tell everyone who asks about my race my time and include the fact the course was long, but then I look like a person making up excuses. I know I am whining here, but I gotta whine somewhere :).

I love the Performance Level colors. They are a great motivator. If it wasn’t for Black I may not have cared the course was long, but I want the darn black decal. I earned one last year on a certified course and I wanted another one this year. PRracer nailed it with Performance Level colors. They have given me a new goal with my running. I wish I was a solid Black runner and then a long course wouldn’t make a difference. I am not that fortunate and I have to have everything go my way to get into Black and an accurate course is just piece of the puzzle.

I am going to go back to my original plan and only run on certified courses. It only cost about $100 to certify a course and there is no reason why all courses shouldn’t be certified. The Folsom Blues Half travels over four bridges and that is part of the beauty of the course. To hit all four bridges (we actually start on one) the course has to be a bit long. I get it. To keep the four bridges, why not have a timing mat at 13.1 and then another mat at the finish. By doing it this way they can certify the 13.1, keep the course as is and make everyone who cares a little bit happier.
Mike Haedrich
Mike Haedrich


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