TrailRunner MagazineOf course size matters.  TrailRunner Magazine is asking trail dogs like me what I think about the introduction of bigger purse prizes at trail races.  Absolutely, bigger is better.  I’m familiar with some negative consequences to road races wherein the ambiance changed, the event got too large, etc.

But trail races are different.  Trail races are typically limited in size due to the course, so I don’t see this affecting the size of most events.  What it will do is attract more higher-caliber athletes.  And for me, that’s very cool.  I’m not looking for the competition.  I’m fifty years old.  I like looking at elite runners and I like the idea of hanging with them – even if it’s just pre and post race.  Understand that for me, a race – or any organized event – is a celebration of running.  As a rule, I don’t even like training with other runners.  But an event is just that – an event.  It’s a party.  Elite athletes make it just that much more special.

And that’s not just rhetoric when I said I like looking at elite athletes.  Especially women elite runners.  At the risk of my wife reading this, I love how they look.  Reminds me of when I ran NCAA track in my youth.  It takes me back in time.  Being able to stand next to them in a starting corral is an awesome experience.  Up close and personal.  It promotes my self image of still being a real athlete.

Last point is I don’t think we can give these runners enough.  This isn’t pro football or tennis.  I’m certain we’re not talking about a six figure purse; although that would be very nice.  Especially if they still let me line up with those elites.