DC Rainmaker's recent post made me realize how much I LOVE non M-dot (non Ironman brand) races. Gasp! Horror!! Shame!!!
I really do. Why???
Well, besides lower cost, less crowds, hassle and hoopla, and, to me, a more rewarding race experience, I think athletes get much better treatment at smaller, independent races. For example, I recently got two emails from the race director (RD) of the Gator Half Iron, which I'm doing next month:
One had this picture of their trapper doing her job to ensure we have a nice race.
Because we all know gators are a possibility in FL lakes, although in March they are most likely hibernating or inactive and oblivious to any neoprene clad triathletes sneaking into their territory. In late May, however, when the water temps are 80+ degs, well, that's another story (and one you won't likely hear about from the Florida 70.3 RD).
The other had a photo of one of their volunteers to do body marking for the ladies.
Because we all know what a special and sensual experience it is to expose your arms and legs to be tickled by a big black felt marker, and how the person doing it can make or break your race. At M-dot races, chances are that all the hotties are doing the race so that the folks doing the marking are, uh, let's say, less hot.
It's these little things that make a race special to me. That personal touch from RDs, a race shirt or logo that every other triathlete is NOT wearing, the satisfaction of gutting things out when there was NO ONE around to carry you to the finish, that look of awe in others when they find out you went 140.6 (or 70.3) miles just for fun, NOT for a label.
But I have nothing against those who do M-dot races and wear their logos. In fact, I welcome them. Just beware, especially if you're in my age group, I find M-dots to be exceptionally motivating targets when I'm racing ;-)
PS - I also think there are a lot of great marathons besides the biggies: Boston, New York, Chicago, Marine Corps, the RnR series ... EEK, please don't hate!