~ Nothing Mini about it ~
NYRR Mini 10k June 12th 2010
Official time 1.05.39 10.35 min/mile
This is a race I look forward to every year. Not really because it’s an all woman race, which it is, but because of the support and fun that surrounds it. The buzz starts early when NYRR announces which elite woman runners will be participating in the Mini 10k. You may be wondering why its called a Mini 10k. So was I so I looked it up.
A Short History of the Mini:
On June 3, 1972, New York Road Runners staged the world’s first road race exclusively for female participants, the 6-mile Crazylegs Mini Marathon. To understand how extraordinary this achievement was and to appreciate how far the Mini has come since then you must travel back to a time when distance running was a very different pastime than it is today.
In 1972, the “running boom” had not yet hit. Distance running was a fringe activity practiced by a few dedicated souls. The New York City Marathon had been run but twice, with a mere 55 finishers the first year (1970) and 164 the second (1971).
As marginal as distance running was among the population as a whole, it was even more esoteric as an activity for women. In most road races the number of female finishers could be counted on one hand. In fact, not a single woman finished the first New York City Marathon and only three crossed the line in the race’s second running.
But by 1972 things were starting to change for women runners. In April, women were permitted to officially enter the renowned Boston Marathon for the first time. In June, President Nixon signed into law the landmark Title IX legislation, which mandated equal funding for women’s sports programs that receive federal aid. In Munich in September, the women’s 1500 meters was run for the first time at the Olympic Games. All the while, female participation in road races while still tiny compared to men’s participation was slowly, steadily growing.
Despite these significant inroads, many running events still did not officially recognize women, and plenty of people including Olympic officials believed that women were physically incapable of running long distances. In New York City, a small group of women and one man were determined to do something to change the public perception of women runners and open doors of opportunity for them. Nina Kuscsik, the 1972 Boston Marathon winner; Kathrine Switzer, who had finished that race wearing a number in 1967 despite officials’ attempts to drag her from the course; and New York City Marathon co-director Fred Lebow, a champion of women’s equality, decided to launch a women-only road race.
Lebow signed on Johnson’s Wax as the race’s sponsor. The company which made a women’s shaving gel called Crazylegs had contacted him about putting on a women’s marathon, but Lebow talked them into a more manageable 6-mile “mini” marathon, named after the miniskirt, then the height of fashion.
Lebow, Kuscsik, Switzer, and others recruited participants in schools, bars, and even among Playboy bunnies. The Crazylegs Mini Marathon drew 78 women a huge turnout for the time from all over the country. The race was won by Jacqueline Dixon of California in 37:02, with Kuscsik third and Switzer sixth.
The Mini has been on the NYRR annual calendar ever since that historic first running. By 1977 participation had grown to 2,277; it was 5,807 in 1979.
I went into this race with no plan and zero expectations. I was also running it naked. I got to Columbus Circle about 45 minutes before race start and there was not one runner in the corrals yet. I had plenty of time to check my bag, use the porta potty and then get into my corral. I was surrounded by woman. Lots of them. It felt just a bit claustrophobic to me but then again, I am not good in crowds. So, no fault of NYRR.
Both Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliffe were slated to run this race. Both of them are pregnant and both are due on the same day. How cool is that? Anyway, it was announced that Kara wasn’t going to be running the race and I later read she had a back injury that was keeping her from running. The gun went off, we were off and there was Kara giving out high fives of support. You better believe I got that high five. It was interesting because not only did I feel her support, but I think she felt all of our support, including mine. She had a huge smile on her face and you could tell she was just taking it all in.
I got into a groove, I guess and just keep running easy. We were on Central Park West, a nice flat stretch and I felt good. At 90th Street we took a right and headed into Central Park where we were treated to a cornucopia of hills, rolling hills, downhills and flats. I loved it. I ran up every hill without a walk break. I had to. The downhills were nice too. I did take 3 30 second walk breaks half way into the race. I wasn’t really running fast and perhaps that is my downfall in races. I just don’t get into the speed like I should. I think to myself, I have all the time in the world, yet I really don’t. I just sort of run along.
Like I said earlier, I really had no plan and wouldn’t be devestated if I ran a slow race. Well, the one and only plan I did have was to beat last years time of 1.12.07. I pretty much knew that unless some unforseen crazy thing happened, that I would easily beat that time. And I did. So mission accomplished.
I do not have splits for this race. I remember hitting the 5k point at 31.45. So the 2nd half of this race was much slower timewise. No negative split here. I did cross the finish line with my arms up in the air. And a smile on my face.
After the race, I met up with some wonderful friends for brunch.
Running is all about running and all about bettering yourself in the process. Running is all about inspiring and motivating not only yourself but others. Running is a sport within a sport. There is so much to learn and take in, it can be mind boggling. I try to keep it simple though. No need to confuse something that I love. And I sure do love running. I was speaking to my friend Michelle about this very thing and we both agree, running is a huge part of our lives and has made us better people. Running has given to me so much that I want to give back in some way.
So, nothing Mini about that Mini 10k. I highly recommend this race. I now have 8+1 towards my 9+1. That means that after June 24th when I run the New York Wall Street 3 Miler I will have run 9 NYRR races and volunteered at 1 race. My obligation will be fulfilled and if all goes according to plan, I will run the New York CIty Marathon next year.
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
– Malcolm X.
“The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other,… but to be with each other.”
— Christopher McDougall