Protect our tradition
May 27, 2013
I would like to comment on the inclusion of relay teams in the May 24 Derby. This year there was a huge contingent of relay runners in the Derby, many more than last year. It is great to see this level of participation and persons becoming more health conscience. Three of my family members ran varying legs and speaking with them it is obvious they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The crowds of people calling out their names and giving them encouragement only will make them more anxious to participate again. One has said he may train harder and run the full distance next year. Judging by the level of participation of relay runners and the potential for more growth the May 24 organisers have some decisions to make.
You may ask, what do I mean by that? My experience in sport has always shown me that someone or some team wants to be the best and will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. For instance, perhaps there are four crack relay runners planning to get together to try and be the first across the line next year, and they do it. Will that take away from the first person to finish the complete distance? The Derby has always been an endurance event and one which has tested you mentally and physically. I experienced it myself many years ago. Is the tradition of the Marathon as we know it under threat?
The Derby is so popular that many more now wish to play a part. Some have suggested that the relay be on another day. Maybe, but will you get the entries or level of crowd participation? Speaking with my family members they are gung ho to do it again next year. I am sure the relay part of the event will continue to grow, hopefully not at the expense of runners doing the complete distance. What can the organisers do to satisfy everyone? Perhaps stagger the starting times between relay participants and the runners doing the complete distance? One thing is for certain, they have a lot to think about because the last thing most of us want to see is the relay team crossing the line ahead of the individual participant. Tradition will be lost!