Sunday, 15 April 2012

Holmestrand Marathon (2012)

Race #3 2012 - 21.1 km - 1:33:02

Holmestrand Marathon
Despite Holmestrand Marathon (or "Holmestrand Maraton" as the start number showed) being arranged for the first time a very decent amount of people had signed up. Before the race day more than 1400 runners were on the list for the three distances, 7 km, half marathon and full marathon. And I was not even one of them as I did sign up on the race day, I was not the only one doing this.

The Good
The Track
Despite it not being the easiest track it was a nice one. I don't prefer flat tracks, and in this race there were plenty of minor hills. This gives you the ability to "change gear" and I do find that more fun and less tiring (!) than going in a constant pace for the entire distance. Doing one 14 km loop followed by one 7 km was also brilliant. It would have felt heaps worse starting with the 7 km. When you've done the first loop 7 km is not that far to go. After around 9.5 km there was one gravel road going up a long and steep hill, I could have done without that one though.

Drink stations
Plenty of drink stations and I had no problems getting enough to drink at each place. Both water and energy drinks were easily available.

The volunteers along the track were cheering happily. All volunteers had a great attitude, including Tomas Pinås, the man in charge, despite having a "few" thing on his mind. Wonderful!

There were not too many spectators along the race. But the once that were there did a great job. There was specially one group of people that caught my attention. Around five people stood outside a yellow or orange (?) house towards the end of the last round. They all had flags and cheered on everyone. That family should get the spectator's award. Thanks! When I passed that house the second time there were all gone. I don't blame them as the weather was not exactly spectator friendly.

The Medals
src :

The medal we got after the finished race were great. Thick, heavy and solid.

The Bad
Despite it's being the first time for Holmestrand Marathon the organisers should know what elements are important for arranging a successful race. I guess the event became a lot bigger than firstly anticipated, but the organisers can't only hide behind that argument.

12 days before race day there were more than 1000 registrations.

Finish Line
According to a small sign the finish line for half marathon was about 350 - 400 meters before the proper finish line were all the spectators were waiting. Several half marathon runners continued in full pace and sprinted the last hundred meters towards what did look like the proper finish line. Seriously, it should not be that difficult making different tracks that all ends up at the same location. Completing a race with a lot of people cheering and the speaker yelling is nice. It's what makes up us "joggers" feel like athletes for a few seconds. Knowing where to start the sprint, is also nice. Now I stopped behind a building, that looked like a storage, with no people around. Major fail!


OK, there were more than four toilets then... 
More feedback.
Feedback part 3.

There are almost no organisers that manage to order enough toilets. Holmestrand Marathon being no exception. I registered only four toilets. Two for men and two for women. Four toilets for around 1500 people would have been nothing but extremely bad capacity planning. However there assumingly were several toilets I never noticed (see Facebook screenshot above).

Let's say each runner in average found 6 toilets in this race. Assume 1/3 or 500 of the runners needed "service" during the last 30 minutes. Let's assume the average toilet visit takes 2 minutes. If there were equally as many men and women, evenly distributed among the toilets, you have the numbers:

Arrival rate is: λ = (500/30) = 16.67 runners / minute.
Arrival rate for each (toilet 1 till 6) toilet being: λ1 = 16.67/6 = 2.78 runners / minute.
Service time (toilet time) is: Rs = 2 minutes.
The service rate (toilet visitors per minute) is: μ = 1 / 2 = 0.5 customers per minute.

A toilet can not be utilised more than 100%, unless several people share the same toilet at the same time, and that is just gross. Doing the math for finding the utilisation: ρ = λ / μ = 2.78 / 0.5 = 5.55 = 555%. Something that is impossible! The result is the toilet system collapsing. And this is what happened at Holmestrand. Of all the people wanting to visit the toilet not everyone had time. You get trashing (people using gardens, parking lots etc). Something that makes me grumpy (I'm turning into a grumpy old man) is me not being able to have the mandatory "pre race dump". And for doing that I like getting at least five minutes in private. In contrast to Lise Karlsnes from Briskeby I don't like the smell though.

So how many toilets would be needed, using the same numbers given above? This depends on how long you want your runners to wait on average. I reckon waiting 15 minutes should be the absolute maximum for any race.

Wait time (max) is: Rw = 15 minutes
Response time: R = Rw + Rs = 15 + 2 = 17 minutes
R = 1 / (μ − λ) ⇒ λ = (Rμ - 1) / R = (17*0.5 - 1) / 17 = 8.5 / 17 = 0.5
So to achieve an average waiting time of 15 minuted the arrival rate can be no more than 0.5 customers a minute. Hence the magic number is:
5.55 / m = 0.5 ⇒ m = 5.55 / 0.5 = 11.11

So, if the above assumptions are correct, Holmestrand Marathon should at the minimum have had 12 toilets, and they should all be easy to spot!

7 km
After 14-15 km I ended up in the middle of the 7 km group, that started one hour after the full and half marathon runners. This created chaos as the track was not that wide where we merged. I ended up running in the main road on my own.

The registration area was far from optimised. It was impossible to know what table you should queue at. Next time a list of names and start numbers hanging on the wall is a good idea as well. But what was nice though was that it was possible to register despite running late. And the people there were all positive and helpful.

My race
I've never before been less motived for a race. If it had not been for Mr Haug working hard on motivating me, next to Yr and Storm forecasting a sunny day, I would have kept my foetal position in bed for heaps longer. I was very tired from four previous quality sessions, strength training, moving houses and lack of sleep. However, being half awake and not thinking clearly I did send Mr Haug a message early in the morning, saying I would run. Seconds later I regretted and hoped he would answer that he had gotten sick and could not run. That never happened.

Yr and Storm were wrong. On the way down to Holmestrand the temperature showed 1.5 degrees and it was snowing. We were about to turn the car and drive back home. I thought of my bed that still would be lukewarm. But we did continue as there were no good places for doing a u-ey on E-18. Arriving at Holmestrand it rained less, but it was still bloody cold. I considered doing the 7 km in stead of the 21.1 km as I had nothing but shorts and two tees. But the 7 km started one hour later, and that would be too long to wait (I easily get restless). I resigned and signed up for the 21.1 km. The universe had decided I was going to run the half marathon. There was no point trying to resist any longer.

1:33:02 it was.

The race was a good one. I loved the track and I had no negative thoughts along the way. And no pain, except for some minor annoyances on the outside of my right thigh the last couple of kilometres. Nothing that slowed me down though. I didn't feel the tiredness from the day before. The first 8-9 km I ran with Haug, before he accelerated and left me "alone" in the rain. I finished in 1:33:02 that is decent enough for a (soon-to-become) 400m runner. (Being a 400m runner is my new excuse for not running faster on longer distances, and being a half marathon runner is my excuse for not being a faster 400m runner. Sweet!).

Mr Haug was correct of course, you seldom regret something you do, you're more likely to regret what you don't. Overall it was a fun experience. And nothing is better than a couple of cold beers in front of the telly with a great show on, after a proper half marathon in the rain.

Haug the motivator, part 1.

Haug the motivator, part 2.

I didn't take that many photos from the race, because of the weather. But here are most of the once I did get.

Mr Haug, the motivator and the driver.

"Character building", as Mr Haug stated!

Snowing, despite we per definition do have summer.

1.5 degrees. Bermuda and tee, but of course (can't understand I get sick that often)!

The locals had made a special sign for Mr Haug. The two boxes did contain energy bars, energy drinks and phone numbers from all the local Holmestrand chiks. Lucky Mr Haug. It helped as he was strong in the race.

Tone Klone, Leira and Haug.

The organisers must have been reading Ringom's blog as they gave me (and the girls) pink start numbers.

Christopher waiting for service time. By the way, congrats on the PB!


Smelly cat, smelly cat...

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