I was really on the fence about writing this, I hate writing anything negative about races in general but after sitting back and reflecting on it, I realized I had to write it.
I have been a very proud ambassador for The SF Marathon for the last four years. It is the first marathon that took a chance on me and made me feel like I had the voice and a story to share. It is something I will never be able to say thank you for enough.
The race always showed its runners’ first attitude. It was the race I told my friends about. I bragged on it frequently.
And then there is the Golden Gate Bridge. For someone not from SF this is the highlight of the entire event.
That was until this year.
It started at the end of the race last year. Actually a month after
SF Chronicle posted the article: Golden Gate Bridge terror fears put SF Marathon on shaky footing
The short of it is GGB Authority had concerns about safety and security. It sounded like at this point everything was up for consideration. The Marathon continued to advertise the bridge as one of its focal points and life went on.
Until earlier this year.
First off, Rock N Roll Marathon who is the only other race that had been using the auto deck of the bridge had to move everyone to the sidewalk for their event earlier in 2018. The change was advertised early and it does not look like it precluded anyone’s enjoyment of the race.
If you checked out the websites you could see that the outlines of the course map for the first-half marathon did not include the out and back section of the bridge, but yet in all the advertising, the bridge was still in play. People had been signing up assuming they would be indeed running the bridge.
That was until a couple weeks ago when reports from CBS News in SF and the Chronicle confirmed that GGB auto deck was unavailable for the runners, the full marathoners would get to run the bridge on the sidewalk. The first-half marathoners would be forced into a new course.
For the record the first reports did not come from the race themselves, it came from people asking on Facebook and Twitter.
The bridge means a lot to a lot of people running. It meant a lot every time I ran it, because it was truly a once in a lifetime magical experience. (Okay for me twice). All it takes is looking at some of the comments in the SF Marathon social media to realize how much it means to some people.
I ran the sidewalk last year as they forced the last coral on to it, it was not a safe experience for me. I get trying to stagger the starts and only needing to let so many runners on the bridge. It sucks but I can see the problems that will happen there.
I have a hard time watching friends get their heart broken by the event.
Now here is my question.
Should of it been been handled differently?
I can’t really say. I am not in those shoes where I have to make a decision. But I do have a pretty hard time with the fact that when I was down there for the G1 USA Special last weekend I stumbled upon this billboard in the middle of downtown with them still advertising.
I won’t be running. I also know several friends who have decided that because of the way this played out they will not be running. I am taking a deferral and giving a chance to see if changes happen in 2019.
I do know that there is a small sect of runners who will be getting together on Saturday to run the bridge and I encourage you to join them. Look for the runners_4_goldengate on Instagram and they will hook you up.
I tried to present this in a way that layed out the timeline as I saw it and a bit about how I felt. I know I have some marathon friends who have already shared their disagreement with me for not staying positive. I get it, but I also see this from the outsider who plans their entire year to run those two miles that is the Golden Gate but I feel like I will give them the benefit of the doubt and see where it goes from there.