First time since 2003 that I haven't done a Midnight Sun race. Ten times at MSR and once at Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage. Even if I had stayed in AK, probably would have opted out of MSR and done Mayor's or traveled elsewhere. Had a good run there but it was time to move on.
Don't get me wrong, I love the race, and am very grateful that my two sons both won a MSR Scholarship, as well as Kuba and Erich, two of the other boys from FAST/West Valley. Nevertheless, there are a number of things that sort of drove/drive me batty about the race. So from 2,500 miles away, here is what found sort of annoying about the event.
1. Bring back the plaques! For years the age group awards were ceramic plaques with the year's artistic logo. I have seven, my wife one, and we still display these. But a few years ago they stopped and started giving out hats, or certificates, which just aren't as nice.
2. Newsminer coverage exhibit A. Print the story online! Two days later and no story? (edited to add that they did print it on the 22nd).
3. Newsminer coverage exhibit B. It's not all about the costume contest.
4. Jazzercise. Cut that CHT out. Egregiously annoying and not even a good warm up routine.
5. Fewer ads on the t-shirts. The shirts are usually nicely designed, but they are all but ruined by the billboard of 20 or so sponsors on the back. Pick one or two sponsors, put those on the sleeves and be done with it.
6. Mark the course and have course marshals direct the runners properly. Reports from the race indicated that there were some significant changes over the last half km, but it was poorly marked and the marshals just stood there.
7. Newsminer coverage exhibit C. Give a more nuanced coverage of the event and the athletes. Maybe recognize the top 5 or 10 or 20 for a job well done. Get a scoop from 1st, 2nd at least and then list the top 20 or so on Sunday's paper. Did you know that the women's winner was a former high school national champion?
8. What's with the RCN/Fairbanks "insider" low number bibs? Those should be earned with top performances in recent years, not by who you know.
9. Advertise to the Outside. Would be a great destination race, and it used to have a national reputation, but now it's all Fairbanks runners.
10. What's up with the 12 year age group 18 to 29, while all others are at 5 year increments for adults, 2 for children? It's not that difficult, and certainly more fair to break up that age class. How about 18-24 and 25-29?
Rant over. I didn't really miss it this time, but do hope to return someday maybe even as soon as next year.