by Josh Levine
Picture over 12,000 runners at the Coliseum, with hiphop artists Kanye and Common at the finish line. If you don’t know, 12,000 is a big number for a 10k. As a lifelong hiphop fan with a medium interest in running, I’ve been hoping someone would find a way to get people like me into the sport. In fact, I presented a similar idea to Runners World magazine back in 2006.
About the race: It felt like the organizers had never been to a “normal” race before. There were tons of young runners, a lot of them unfamiliar with “race etiquette” which has to do with respect for other runners. This also meant that people were lined up wrong – race organizers typically group runners based on timing and experience to avoid bunching up in the race. Because they didn’t do this, the course was completely disorganized. So much so that my time was about 4 minutes slower than it should have been because I couldn’t break through the crowd. I couldn’t have been the only person frustrated by this.
At most races, they give out free fruit and bread to make sure you have the proper fuel before taking off. It’s generally bananas, oranges, and bagels, in addition to water and sports drinks. N+HR was heavily sponsored by Gatorade, Powerbar, Starbucks, and Bear Naked granola. That was great, but the activation didn’t work. Before the race they gave out Powerbar gels, which frankly are nasty. Energy bars would’ve been a better idea. No Gatorade, and Starbucks only had the weird yogurt drink – let’s be honest, drinking yogurt before running is just unappealing. As is yogurt right after you’re done running, which was offered with granola on top from Bear Naked.
Gatorade was served at the water stops, but that’s it. J looked for a bottle after the race, with none to be found. This is actually where it should have been.
The commercialization of the foot race is a good thing, but keep the fundamentals intact. Run it like it’s supposed to run, and then get that corporate dollar to pay for some hip hop legends-in-the-making to play at the finish line. That’s hot! Hell, get Dole as a sponsor to “sample” bananas if that’s what it takes. Just do it right.
Oh yeah. Kanye was incredible. I read mixed reviews of his MTV performance, but who cares. He rocked South Central, which is really all that matters.