2011 will mark the one of the most significant course changes since moving the finish into Folsom Field 30 years ago; A change of the starting line. The new starting line will still be on 30th street but now a mile south, adjacent to the 29th Street Mall near Walnut Street.
The course will head north on 30th till Valmont, take a left, then left again on 28th Street for the first mile. Soon after, west on Pine Street where it joins the familiar course just in time to make the climb up the first Folsom Street hill usually flanked on the west by the first group of Belly Dancers.
“How can you move the starting line of an iconic race?” Quips the twittersphere.
The new start was chosen for a few reasons. Most of all convenience. Race Director Cliff Bosley was quoted in the Daily Camera as saying:
“This change should make it easier for participants to get to the race,” Bosley said, adding that there will be separate drop-off zones for people in cars and buses. “Hopefully it will ease congestion on streets in and around the start area.”
It also brings the starting line closer to the finish. Before it was 2.5 from the points, now they are within a mile of each other making it more convenient before and after the race.
Most runners know the course as having fast start as most of the first mile is slightly downhill to flat, and with all the excitement of the start and thousands of runners pulling you along leads most runners going out too fast only to leave your heart and legs in debt later on.
But if you race smart, the new start should have no real effect on your effort. The first 4 miles of the race are generally uphill anyways. If you can conserve in the first half you will have some left in the tank for the final 2 miles which trend downhill to fast flat.
Bobby McGee always has great words of advice for race day strategies. First and foremost: “Go out strong, smooth, relaxed & at goal effort”. Now this may bring a 1st mile that is 3% faster than goal (e.g. 9:20) & that’s okay, as long as the effort was the target effort.
Also, start thinking about your pace in terms of kilometers (after all, its a 10k race). This will give you pacing feedback sooner than the mile and allow you to adjust accordingly.
Co-Founder and Olympic Gold Medalist Frank Shorter has some more great tips.
Other notable changes: The course no longer goes by Whole Foods on Pearl, and will completely bypass the Boulder Running Company. Maybe Nissan will pony up for the first mile Prem this year?
Justin Mock lines up in a gorilla suit. photo courtesy of nkstvns40
Could this be the end of the men in costume, sprinting the first 1/2 mile as fast as possible to catch their “15-seconds” in pictures? I doubt it, I still believe the start will still be fast, how could it not with all the hoopla, music, celebrity official starters and thousands of adrenaline juiced runners ready to go to battle along side you?
I am sure the course change will lead to many a water cooler discussion, personally I believe it will still be the same great race as any other year. After all, its not just about the course but how you run your race and the comradery you feel competing with 50,000 others.