Does anyone else remember the days when you ran a marathon and there was no chip timing? The only way you knew your time was to look up at the clock as you crossed the finish line. Your time was from when the gun went off regardless of how back you started or if you were still in the porta potty when the gun went off. Unless you were the FIRST guy at the start, your time was your race time plus some extra. But, we didn't know any different, so it was OK.
Then they would mail you a paper certificate with your finish time and placing. Then, later they would mail you a results book. I was clicking around the White Rock Marathon site (now Dallas Marathon or some such) and found that they actually scanned the results books from back then so you can see the results, etc. I had so much fun reminiscing!
1997 - it started sleeting at about mile 15. Miserable! In the results book, they list the temps and humidity percentages for each hour of the race. Humidity was 100% and it was cold! I tried to drop out around mile 20 but Brian wouldn't let me! 1999 - bad day. Really bad day. Had to convince the guys I was running with to just leave me behind. It was better for the group! 2005 - went back to race it after moving to Colorado in 2004. Of course, 2005 had that new fangled timing chip thing! They have results listed all the way back to 1971 - before I was even born. How cool is that?! Wish I could track down things like this for other races I ran a hundred years ago! Kudos to the Dallas Marathon for this. Kinda makes me want to go back and race it again!
These days, I get really annoyed if I can't pull up results online within 12 hours of finishing a race. To think, we waited weeks for results back then! A band at every mile? Nope. Your local running club would yell at you at mile 20 at the aid station. And, no one wore headphones. I mean, really...you would have had to carry around one of those yellow Sony tape decks or CD players. That's right, kids! Maybe that's why I have never done a race with headphones. It just still seems too foreign to me. Back in the day, we talked to each other. About our race goals, the races we had done, the weather, current events...whatever.
So, now I just sound like a grumpy old man. There are things that are WAY better about racing today. But, it's fun to look back on the things that made racing "back then" so much fun. And, just think..."back then" for me wasn't even that long ago...I started endurance sports in 1996. I have plenty of friends who have been racing since the early 80s. Imagine their "way back when" stories!
So, enjoy your iPods, Garmin GPS watches, chip timing, shoes that don't weigh 85 pounds and technical running wear. But, don't forget to just get out there and ENJOY running!