blueollie

The Peoria Steamboat Days race: changing character?

You can see my post of my personal experience at the Steamboat 15K here. The upshot is that I had a blast, even if my finish time was pretty lousy. This post will be about the race itself.

I first did this race back in 1998 (as a runner; did the 15K) and have participated in the event every year, except for 2003 (in Utah) and the fall 15K in 2000 (marathon the next week). For a few years, they split the 15K and 4 mile into a summer/fall event and for 2 of those, I did both races.

I’ve walked the race with my wife, walked both events for time, ran both events for time. Obviously, I’ve never been near the “front of the pack”, but I’ve experienced the race as a “just under 28 minute” 4 mile runner and a “just under 1:08 15k runner”, and yes, as a back of the pack person (walks with my wife, and well, the two times I walked the 15K).

I’ve always been pleased with the traffic control, aid stations, the course, etc. There was one year (2016) where some 15K aid stations were staffed by untrained volunteers and they ran out of water; I wasn’t affected as I typically only drink every 5K or so.

This year featured a “funnel start” instead of the usual “wide start”. I worried about that a bit, but given that age group awards were based on chip time, people were well behaved, lined up more or less where they were supposed to, and the first right turn was easy; no crowding. The crowd had been “lengthened out” and you really were with similar pace people.

In the past, the turn was hectic.

But there is something else: (I got data from “finishers”, not “starters”)

year 4m 15K 4k/2m big 2 all change 2 % change change all % change
2013 3124 866 98 3990 4088
2014 2613 776 111 3389 3500 -601 -0.150626566 -588 -0.143835616
2015 2443 805 156 3248 3404 -141 -0.041605193 -96 -0.027428571
2016 2347 822 157 3169 3326 -79 -0.02432266 -78 -0.022914219
2017 1781 666 151 2447 2598 -722 -0.227832124 -728 -0.218881539

Though there was a big decline from 2013 to 2014, there was a massive drop from 2016 to 2017. Note: the short distance was either 2 miles or 4 km. I compared the drop in all three races and the drop in the total of the “big 2” (15k and 4 m put together). I show the absolute drop, and the percentage drop.

I can’t say for sure what the cause was. I can say that in 2016, there was a big change made in the “Building Steam” programs (designed to prepare people for the race” and in 2017, the Building Steam program was eliminated completely, with the local running store offering a couple of programs.

I also note that there are other events 90 minutes away (one in the Quad Cities); I stayed with Steamboat as I just love seeing everyone.

One irony: I actually, well, I don’t want to say it, but…”liked” the smaller race as there was more room to walk and no n00bs just unexpectedly coming to a complete stop right in front of you (slow, out of shape beginners are prone to doing this and it is maddening).

But I wonder if these are healthy numbers for the event.

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June 19, 2017 - Posted by | running, walking | , ,

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