Sunday, May 4, 2014

May you get what you deserve

When I was doing my A-levels, my favourite economics lecturer used to tell us before major exams: "And may each of you get what you deserve." He wasn't being cruel, just very British. (Why did we have some British teachers? He was hired almost thirty years ago when the country didn't yet have enough trained economics and literature teachers so the school system had to be jump-started by borrowing some from the UK. And then they didn't want to go back, so we happily kept them.)

The point is, when it comes to exams, you certainly get back what you put in. No one expects to roll up to an exam, or not even complete the exam, and be handed a certificate of completion.

This seems to be lost on some of the people who entered the Run350 half - last weekend's half that wasn't, which got cancelled because of a huge storm with thunder and lightning.

Most people were super gracious and understanding about the cancellation. Nearly all of the half-marathon participants I know just decided to a) go home and sleep, b) do the 10K instead, or c) go off and run 21km on their own after the rain had stopped. (And if you're me, you're a pigheaded stubborn little twit and attempt an ill-advised long run.)

But on the organisers' Facebook page, some people were asking for their finisher shirts and medals!

To the organisers' credit (in terms of averting a PR disaster, not in terms of educating the public about what you are and aren't entitled to), they kindly offered to give finisher shirts and medals to the half-marathon entrants who brought their bibs to their warehouse.

And then people started complaining that the collection hours were too brief, the warehouse too far away, et.c.

I understand if this was your first half marathon and you're a little put out by not being able to take part in the event at all. That's unfortunate. Sometimes these things happen - it's real life, after all. There will be other races.

But races get cancelled for far stupider reasons than participant safety in a storm (such as running out of water, ahem Sheffield Half Marathon!.) Runners should at least be glad the organiser is looking out for them.

Some people were saying 'I paid for it, so I should get the finisher shirt and medal'. No, you paid to run an organised event. You even got the goody bag - which already includes a pretty nice tech tank - ahead of time. There's a reason it's called a finisher shirt - you get it because you've finished. Obviously this isn't life-or-death stuff, but this entitled attitude sort of irks me. Also, if you are capable of running 21km, you are also definitely capable of walking less than half a km to the warehouse from the nearest MRT station. May you get what you deserve!

This also applies to putting in the hard work to train for a race. You can't really bluff your way through 42.2km.

Am I just being an old-school hardass curmudgeon about this stuff? What do you think? 

In this month's reading material, I am taking a tiny break between books of 1Q84 to read Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series of supernatural steampunk detective fantasy romance novels*, which are light fluffy reading with a wicked sense of humour. I'm also just now getting stuck into 'Delusions of Gender' by Cordelia Fine, which aims to debunk a lot of the pseudoscience that claims men's and women's brains are hardwired differently. I'm only in the introduction right now but I promise you a review later!

*the genre-slicing and cross-breeding is getting a little ridiculous. Can we agree to just call them 'novels'?

Gold Coast training log week 9 - April 28 to May 4
Monday - 9km easy + TRX
Tuesday: speed set: 3[(40s hard/ 20s easy) + 3min active recovery]
Wednesday: yoga
Thursday: 10.3km tempo
Friday: 9km easy
Saturday: 25km (extremely hot and humid - took me 3 hours, 4 waterbottle refills, 1 pack of shot blocks, and 2 Endurolyte caps. I ended up at East Coast Park, which fortunately has plenty of bathrooms - with paper! - and had to wring out my shirt, rinse it, and wring it out again before putting it back on. Everything was a soggy mess. My shorts were soggy. My socks were soggy. My shoes were soggy. I froze my tail off on the bus home. Public transport in Singapore is a never-ending freeze-thaw cycle.)
Sunday: 8km easy
Total: 66.3 km, TRX, yoga


  1. People are so lame!! I would also be enraged by the sense of entitlement.

  2. Compared to many recent events, I thought they were well-prepared, and definitely had their focus on the safety of the runners. There was *much* more confusion at other recent races where the same kind of rain-issue occurred.

    I was actually heartened to see how many people we urging the whiners to relax, lighten up, and stay flexible on race morning. As for the goodies...I guess I'm of two minds. Basically, if the stuff was dated (especially the shirts), why not just give out - keeps people happy, AND what else would be done with them anyway? But the medals? I think the medals probably should've been saved (if not dated) or melted down to make for new medals next year. I can't explain the apparent contradiction here, but these are my gut feelings.

    1. The organisers surely deserve a great deal of credit here for being well-prepared and decisive! And, I dunno, I'd still rather not wear a finisher shirt for something I didn't finish - it's the principle of the thing really. In any case, we definitely all got the race shirts in the race pack at bib pick-up, why wouldn't people be happy with that?

  3. Hilary J FrancisMay 10, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    I remember last year when the haze was so bad - there was a race pack pick up at the weekend and someone wanted to be told how she should get there as the haze was too bad! I always liked Run350 and its organizers showed remarkable restraint in their responses on FB. Far more than I would have done.

    1. You've got to be kidding!'s called common sense - use it!
      I seem to remember a couple of races were postponed or cancelled last year because of the haze, which was a wise decision.
      I like Run350 too, and am glad the organisers are so patient.

    2. I think it was the Shape run pick up which was later cancelled. I swear this woman was expecting the race organizers to send her a taxi or mail the packet to her!