Saturday, April 21, 2007

Different Strokes

Going back to 5Ks, I ran this morning at a small race close to home. It started at a local high school track, ran around a light industrial area, and ended back at the track. It was for a good cause, Special Olympics, and was also held in memory of a local grad who passed away a few years ago. My string of ever-decreasing race times this year came to an end, and I finished in 24:36. 2nd best time this year; I'll take it.

Anne asked how the 10K I ran last week in Sweden was different from the US. I was kind of curious too, which is one reason I wanted to run it. So based on my vast experience running internationally (twice so far), here's what I observed that was different:

1. The Swedes were fast! I was hoodwinked by this pic on their brochure of families and little kids running, because they must have run the 3.4K instead. The 10K was stocked with serious runners that all took off in a flash from the start. I came in at about my normal time, which is usually in the 30-40th percentile in the US, but I was past the 75th percentile in Sweden. :-(

2. No t-shirts, but I did get a souvenir coin at the finish

3. Gigantic race bibs, easily twice the size as ours

4. Race start at high noon, on a Sunday

5. No chip timing, although someone recorded our times manually

6. Almost everyone belonged to a running club

7. Race volunteers shouting encouragement in Swedish sounds just like what you expect to hear in a rowdy beer hall!

It was a fun experience, and I hope to have more, but I'm also glad to be back in the U.S. of A.


susie said...

Congrats on the time, Rich Interesting stuff on the 10K race. I wonder if only serious, fast runners race there, as you said. So many people, like me, are running here that we slow things down!!

jeanne said...

Congrats on another great time, rich! and thansk for the inside poop on running in sweden--i'd be toast over there!

(the humdinger club, is it?)

E-Speed said...

interesting facts about running in another country. I believe the percentile change. I guess even us regular american runners are slower than our foreign counterparts.

Great job at the 5k!

Ginger Breadman said...

Wow, how cool to run a random race in another country! You learn so much about the culture as it relates specifically to you and running. Great time on your recent race!

GandaMan said...

Interesting. I'd be in last place in Sweden! (But how fast are they when it comes to marathons?)

David said...

I am impressed: you run for the Texas USA Klub?
I guess small crowd means serious runners only.

Rae said...

Great job on the 5K!

You'll have to post a pic of the coin! I wonder if they always do that or if they ever do shirts? At least a coin doesn't take up half your closet and who cares if it is fluorescent yellow???

peter said...

First American male in the race. That is impressive! What, did you and Ryan Hall get together before that weekend and decide that he would do London and you would do Stockholm?

Anne said...

The description of differences reminds me of what small road races were like in the USA during the first running boom, especially with fast fields and the lack of T shirts. Interestingly, it was my track club that introduced the T shirt concept (and the triathlon). Least that's what it says in running history books.

Thanks for answering my question. And I'd kill for that 5k time now. Nice job, Rich.

Yvonne said...

beer hall shouting - I like the sound of that!!

peter said...

I just read your post on my place about my charity. Hilarious. I'm with you!

Deene said...

so have you selected another country for your next run yet? thanks for sharing.