Monday, May 2, 2011

Marathon weekend

The Lincoln marathon and half-marathon was run this morning in perfect conditions.  The runners lined up and started starting (it took over a half hour) at 7:00 AM, with the temperature in the low 40s, the sun warming the spectators, and a light breeze to cool off the second half.

The Casady's were at 20th and Pawnee, where the fans lining the street performed the wave for the runners at the 15K mark.  This year, we cheered on our daughter and son-in-law, along with 9,998 other runners.  Aside from the years I ran the half or worked the traffic, this has been our favorite perch, as the runners crest a mean hill and catch their breath on a nice half mile downhill stretch.  We used the cool tracking app  to keep get ready for the camera work, and had a fine time with our best friends who live up the block.

Later at lunch, we started thinking about the economic impact of marathon weekend.  A few thousand people come from all over the United States to run in Lincoln's marathon, which is also the National Guard Marathon. Our kids came down from Omaha, spent the night with us, ate out twice, and did a little shopping.  They're pretty typical, although hundreds of hotel rooms are involved and many more restaurant meals for the families that come from around the country.  Tonja noticed the increased traffic at Chico's on Friday, the Marriott down the street from our home had a full lot, and our waiter confirmed it had been a busy weekend with marathon guests.

It may not be a Nebraska home football game, but I guarantee the Lincoln marathon generates a bunch of local economic activity.  This is one of the reasons it was so annoying to see a guy my age or better throwing a snit in his Lexus SUV eastbound at the intersection of 10th and D Streets. He was wearing a coat and tie, and he wanted to continue east through the steady stream of runners heading north on 10th Street.  He apparently expected the officer directing traffic to stop a few thousand shoulder-to-shoulder runners deep in oxygen debt, a mile and a half from the finish. The officer whistled several times and  motioned for him to turn northbound  He ultimately complied, and as he turned we saw him mouthing a string of profanity and gesticulating rather enthusiastically.  Guess he was headed for Church.

The marathon route has been published and publicized all over town for weeks.  Message boards have been up around town for a week.  This is the 34th running.  It's not like there wasn't an opportunity to plan ahead and figure out the alternate route. The marathon comes around once a year.  10,000 people achieve a significant personal goal.  It is a huge bump to local business.  If you can't figure out how to get to church, I'll be happy to escort you personally next year.


Anonymous said...

Chief: I applaud LPD's efforts on the marathon. As a person who did the half, I can tell you how much I appreciate officers working to keep us safe. I ran the first four miles and then walked/ran the last 9.

I, too, noticed some knucklehead driverss. One was a young woman who just nudged her car onto South street between runners/walkers from about 19th street; we just had to stop. She honked her horn and drove through, giving people the middle finger salute. I guess she is just way more important than the other 10,000 of us.

The other instance, a man driving east on P at 10th nearly ran down me and another walker when he decided the woman police officer's gentle finger wag indicating he could creep up meant he could full-bore through the intersection even with people in the crosswalk. She about jumped on his hood, and banged his window to get his attention. Had he hit me, no great loss as my husband could use my life insurance; I would not have liked to have seen this officer go down just to protect a mope like myself, however.

Drivers: if you're going to take someone out, do it early in the race. I'd gone 12.5 miles by then.....don't take me out within sight of the finish line.

Anyway, thanks for Lincoln's support of a great community event.

Anonymous said...

I had a map for this event weeks ago, from the LTC site. I always make note (on my Google calendar, which syncs with my phone) of any upcoming runs/races that would impact my travel routes, and adjust accordingly.

I do the same with scheduled street closings. All it takes is a couple of minutes per week to stay up to date. Proper planning prevents poor performance (and minimizes stress).

Anonymous said...

You know it is annoying to folks in my neighborhood, that the same route is run year after year.

It would serve better I think to vary the route so the same parts of the city are not held hostage every year.

Anonymous said...

I'm Anon 3:04. I used to LIVE at 20th and High Streets so we were, as Anon 5:54 says "hostages" every year. And we LOVED it. Totally a great time to reconnect with our neighbors, cheer folks who were running, and even open our home to friends who needed bathroom breaks. We hosted watch parties each year. I'm sorry you feel so put upon for what, five hours at most each year. Chill out and enjoy the fun. There's no place that important to go on a Sunday a.m. Alternatively, park outside the loop and walk over. Early marathons ran out to Air Park, which was horrible for the runners because there were no spectators, but I guess good for the grinches who hate seeing others having a good and healthy time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you and all your officers for a great job. It made the event even better.

Anonymous said...

Run this stupid thing on a track. Streets are for cars.

Tom Casady said...


Yes, of course, roads have always been intended for your car.

Anonymous said...

I forgot about the Marathon but remembered it when I got caught up in traffic in the third of the five lanes Southbound at S. 27th in front of the Bishop Heights shopping center. Several of us had left a few feet in front of our bumpers to allow anyone that got tired of waiting the opportunity to turn around and find an alternative route. Everything was going great--- no honking, cussing or rude gestures until some forty something Woman obviously suffering from Hot Flashes from early Menopause started calling me profane names and telling me to pull up because there were cars stacked up behind. Don't try reasoning with an idiot. It was funny because everyone made a point of boxing her in tightly so SHE had to wait another half hour to make her left turn onto Hwy 2.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

I had to wait twenty min on my way to pick up a person who needed a ride. This person is an athletic and very physical able walker. In spite of the almost half hour wait for his ride, he waited. I pick him up and explain about the marathon traffic. I take him to where he needs to go. About a mile ride in all. If he had walked from where he was waiting, it would have been about ten min or so total walk or about three hundred yards in all.
Stupid is as stupid does I guess.

Uncle Jonathan said...

Opinions differ. I'd like to see a referendum in each neighborhood on the benefits vs. held hostage issue.

My mild mannered niece was moved to very rare profanity after needing an hour (vice 7 min) to get home after her night shift as a nurse at Bryan hospital.

I know how she would vote.

Anonymous said...

I hate running and runners, stick to the bike paths and sidewalks the streets were built for cars! If I could vote to make it go away I would!

Anonymous said...

I was prepared for the marathon traffic because:
- I saw it on the news
- It was mentioned in the paper
- An electronic sign was on my street about a week in advance
- Marathon organizers hand-delivered a flyer to my door
- Mile marker signs & flags were posted a day in advance
- It happens EVERY YEAR

If you're a Lincoln resident, you know it's coming. If you got stuck, learn from your mistake & plan for it next year.

Anonymous said...

If you ran it on a track, it wouldn't be a marathon, because it needs to be an out-and-back. If you wanted to be picky, you could say the way they do it here is two out-and-backs, so it isn't a true marathon course either.

It wouldn't be bad to run it in North Lincoln every other year, so they could also experience the joy of the event, unless the organizers simply think that area isn't "good enough".

Tom Casady said...


Actually, I think to be a "true" marathon, you'd have to run 26.2 miles point-to-point and then drop dead after delivering a short message.

Anonymous said...

Chief-We had a half marathon here on Sunday. I couldn't believe the gall of all those out of towners in their running gear jamming up the lines at my favorite eatery after the event. Couldn't they just go home and spend their money instead of making me wait an extra fifteen minutes?


Unknown said...

We had some unexpected house guests Saturday night who were in Lincoln to visit someone at Bryan. After several calls they were told Lincoln's hotels were sold out. That's some revenue (and a little tax)for a weekend in May.
We also had a request from a participant send help if we saw them stop moving on the tracker.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, the hotels did not jack the rates up like they do on football weekends. It's GREAT that we had 10,000 people participating this year!

Anonymous said...

All the beautiful people would never stand for it run in north Lincoln. I say move it to Grand Island.

Tom Casady said...

4:27 and 10:40,

I think that Lincoln Marathon starts and ends in the North Bottoms. I also think that Lincoln's second biggest road race is known as The Havelock. Oh, how I loved that hill on 84th Between Havelock Ave. and Adams Street.

Steve said...

I have nothing against marathon runners. I was actually hoping to run one myself some years ago, but my hips wouldn't hear of it.

On the other hand, from a purely legal/ethical point of view, the runners are pedestrians and should follow the same rules as anyone on foot is normally required to do. The fact that there are a lot of them doesn't make it right that they can behave in a way that would normally be illegal (crossing the intersection on red lights, etc.) If it did, then any time a large number of people wanted to do something, the rest of us would just have to tolerate it. Any number of things come to mind (speeding, smoking pot, urinating downtown on game days, etc.).

I'd be willing to bet that there are more people who are upset by the traffic delays and other inconveniences caused by the marathon than there are people who actually run or otherwise enjoy and support it.

That being said, it is one day a year, and I can live with it.

Tom Casady said...


Here's the difference: they have a permit, just like the Shrine Parade or Ribfest. Those runners are just like the guy wearing a Fez and driving figure 8s on little motor scooter: they've been given exclusive use of the street by the permit.

Steve said...


Yes, I realize the runners are authorized and not actually breaking the law. Again, I'm not necessarily opposed to running the marathon the way it is done now. I'm just voicing some devil's advocate ideas about how the rest of the public (non-runners) might feel about it and wondering if anyone ever asked them if they cared. After all, they pay for the streets, too, and as I said, are probably greater in number.

Anonymous said...

I may be late to join this party, but my daughter ran in the Omaha marathon a few years ago, and I couldn't believe they let cars drive up the quiet residential streets in South Omaha at the same time the runners were running. Years ago I also thought this was an inconvenience, but they do a better job now of letting the pubic know of the routes, and for sure the city needs all the extra revenue it can get. Nada.