Skip to main content

Sydney 13.1: Is course-cutting acceptable?

Photo courtesy Dr. Norm Lewis @
Here's a shot of the wrecking crew I ran with at yesterday's Sydney, Australia Half Marathon.  On left is Virginia Hamrick (who runs like a gazelle) and on right is Hannah Helms (who gutted out her first-ever 13.1 finish).

That's master man in the middle. The dazed look on my face represents some of the tomfoolery I noted on the course, related to massive course cutting by a substantial portion of the field.

Here's my Garmin watch shot of the course. Note opera house, on the north end of the cove to the left of our route.
Joan Benoit would not be amused (for those who can't recall Benoit, she's the inaugural women's Olympic marathon winner in 1984 who never cut a corner, even in training)

On some sections, the road would sweep to the left or right and hundreds of runners would jam through sidewalk or market areas to take a short line into the next turn. On another occasion we had an out and back section; many runners turned back prior to the final marking cone.  I was nearly steamrolled going to the final cone and making an official turn back.

I have read reports that it's also an issue in European ultrarunning. As a matter of fact, many in other cultures believe the shortest distance between two points is fine and acceptable.

I ran a 1:59, nothing to write home about. What ever the time, I do want an "official" finish. I'm racing for personal pride; pulling up a few hundred yards short of 13.1 does matter.

What's your opinion on this phenomenon?


  1. Course-cutters are merely getting exercise. True competitors run the entire course.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Nothing to see here, folks

It's been a long time since I've been active on my blog. To be honest, I got tired of putting in the work, creating content, with so little feedback or response. Time to divert to other things...such as my new fiction book, coming out soon. Part horror story, part steamy romance. You'll definitely want a copy.

There's another reason I haven't been posting. My endurance spirit is broken.

Some medical issues, some sadness is loss of speed. I don't have much range left in my pulse rate and I have put on a blob of weight.

I "ran" my 10 mile loop this 2:18. Is that ugly, or what? An overall fatigue follows the run. I remember a few years ago, I'd bang it out in straight 9's for a 1:30 - and at that time had a long section of medium effort trail included, too.

It's the new normal. It's age appropriate. I'll be 59 in two weeks. Let's get real.

Rode my mountain bike Sunday after church. Don't know what I hit but I went…


You have to look closely (click and enlarge photo if needed), but when you do, check out the 5th metacarpal (bone furthest from thumb).

The diagonal break is symbolic of what happens when your mountain bike handlebars snap around 360 degrees, and those bars catch your hand against the bike frame during the rotation.

Well there you have it. I got up after my ride over the bars and knew something was wrong, but didn't want to admit it. Rode about three miles back to the car, then went a week with some ice and heat. Thought it was good, until I smacked the same bone on the bars during a road ride the following weekend.

Time to stop the charades and get to urgent care.

For the past three weeks, I have been in a formed splint that kept the pinkie and ring fingers immobilized in a hooked formation. Don't want those tendons to move across the bone. As the doc stated, it's a "forgiving" break, but nonetheless you don't want to give the bone any excuse to shift; that…

Fitness setback? Use the healing power of plants

Maybe you're like me. You had achieved a fitness and nutrition peak, but then slid off the mountain. Hey, most of us aren't professional athletes and we aren't paid to be ripped and shredded, right? Life got in the way. I produced my dossier for tenure, then finished several academic publications. And, there is always teaching and a responsilbity to the student experience. I'm not proud of the outcome, but that's how it works for me. When I wrote "Mind Over Diet" the key premise was self-negotiation. You must create your own scenarios that drive action. It's time to start over. My advice is to build your comeback with food, not exercise. Everyone wants to run to the gym and crank the big long does that usually last? I'd suggest the food is the ultimate change agent. Eat as close to "alive" as possible; take the processing and chemicals out. Fresh food will bring life back into your body. That's the foundation. Here…