For those who aren't aware, one of the ways to get guaranteed entry into the NYC marathon is to, as a New York Road Runner member in good standing, run and finish 9 qualifying races and volunteer for another. This is not for the current year but for the subsequent year. This means if you meet this requirement during 2010, you could be toeing the line of the marathon in 2011.
I did this in 2008 for my entry in 2009 and I was doing this in 2009 to get my entry into 2010 until I got hit by a car. I had 7+1 done but since I couldn't race the marathon in 2009 I was able to defer my 2009 entry to cover the 2010 event.
I can't run now due to my hip injury but I've decided to try to do the 9 this year anyway (maybe I'm insane but I'm still hoping for a quick recovery). I don't expect to be running the marathon in 2011 but plans could change so I want to have an option. I still expect to be doing something of the iron flavor in 2011 but having the 9+1 could give me a choice to do the marathon instead. After I earn entry into the marathon in 2011, I would have a choice to defer to 2012 if I want. This flexibility is good.
Most of these races I use as "C" type of races which are more like supported training runs rather than races. They are timed, of course, and they do provide opportunities to set PRs and the like. They range in distance from 1 mile to beyond a marathon in distance. Some of these are really fun to run too.
I signed up for the first of these races even though I can't run but mainly because it is a fun race. It is on Superbowl Sunday morning and my daughter Amanda wanted to run it. Before the race is a football throwing contest and I fully expect to toss the pig skin before I walk the 4 mile course. Many people (thousands?) will be walking it with me. This race limits out at 5000 participants and it should sell out.
Walking it will still count as one of the nine as long as I finish since there isn't a time limit. No matter how good I may feel I will not run nor jog it. I'll probably be pouting over my weak showing in the football toss but we'll head home to celebrate the football game styling in our Gridiron classic race shirts (unless the Jets pull another rabbit out of their hat and in that case I'll be wearing green and white).
Game on! Literally.