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Wanting a key race goal for the summer, I recently registered for the San Francisco Marathon on July 31st. As I excitedly surfed the race website, one fine-print detail caught my eye: Please note that the early start time is needed to run on the roadbed of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Excellent, I thought – I’m a morning person so that could only mean I had picked an ideal event. And then I had a peek at the schedule, and the actual start time for the first wave – 5:30am! Granted, I’ll be starting a wave or two off the front, but the time is still a bit of a shock, even for an early riser like me. Allowing for my morning coffee ritual, plus some logistical maneuvering to the start line, I’m guessing a 3:30am wake-up call will be required. I realize that technically qualifies as morning, but I’m wondering how many people in San Francisco will have just crawled into bed as we racers are rubbing the sleep from our eyes!
Of course, I’d much rather start at a ridiculously early hour than later in the day. Back when I first ran the Boston Marathon, the race didn’t kickoff until noon. Yet athletes had to be bussed to the start line hours in advance, only to sit and wait – and wait, and wait – for the gun to go off. I prefer not having time for my stomach to knot up with nervousness. I don’t want to get hungry or anxious – I simply want to go!
So if the alternative extreme is to begin running in the pre-dawn dark, I’ll gladly accept the challenge. The lack of sleep affords runners the unique opportunity to run across the Golden Gate Bridge, which certainly could not be closed to traffic any later in the day. Plus, with the schedule as such, there’s plenty of time to race, rest and be ready for a full day of fun by the Bay!
– Holly Bennett