The Houston Marathon last year switched over to a lottery system as opposed to the first come, first serve online registration of the past. Many locals were upset about this as they were no longer certain if they would be able to run as registration became nothing more than chance. This concern was valid because after the lottery selections many of them (myself included) were not able to run because they were not lucky enough to be drawn.
With the popularity of the marathon seemingly increasing exponentially each year this puts many the of larger cities Marathon Committees into tough positions. Just look at the controversy from the changes to the Boston Marathon registration process! Online registrations are selling out immediately and lottery systems are considered unfair. So what are the organizers to do? How about the hybrid system that will be implemented for the 2012 Houston Marathon?
Here are the details:
|Click image for larger view|
Summary: Starting on this May 10th if you have run a marathon (after July 2010) with a time under 4:00hrs or a half marathon with a time under 1hr 54m 36s then you are able to register early for the Houston Marathon. As you can see from the chart above qualifying times apply for the half marathon as well.
Basically, the Houston Marathon Committee is giving faster runners a chance to register before the lottery system begins. After May 30th, if you do not meet the qualifying times, you will be able to toss your name in the hat for the lottery.
Usually on these very interwebz pages I take a firm stand in one direction and defend my POV vehemently. However, with this one I am not sure how I really feel? Is this a good system? Should faster runners be given special treatment? Considering the difficulty of the logistics of making a marathon registration process fair and easy is the Houston Marathon Committee doing the right thing? What do you guys think?
With all that being said above. I qualify for the early registration and have decided to not run in the Houston Marathon (1/15/12). Personally, I enjoy smaller races and as I get older become increasingly frustrated with large crowds and the utterly stupid rules and costs of these marquee events. I prefer a start and finish line that is either duct tape or chalk!!
That is why I will be running in The LaPorte 1/2 Marathon on December 4th, 2011 (the infamous Sausage on a Stick Race), the Texas 1/2 Marathon on New Year's Day (5 minutes from my house), and the inaugural The Woodlands Full Marathon on March 3, 2012 (will be my first stand alone marathon).
Let me know your thoughts on the Houston Marathon Registration process?
Thanks for Reading,