“So…” you ask, “how’s training for the 2012 Gasparilla Distance Classic going?” My answer would sound something a lot like this: “It’s not.”
I would list all of the reasons, but they just sound like excuses coming out, so I’ll refrain. There are 46 days left until the 15k (9.3 miles). Will I race? I would really like to. But it all depends on what I can accomplish in this next month and a half. If all else fails, I can at least go to Tampa prepared to run the 5K (3.1 miles). (But if not, I’m sure there is an alternative early-Spring Atlanta race. Anyone have any suggestions?)
I will say this: It’s not what it used to be. What was once a wildly well-known and -run Tampa race is now merely a spec of a week-long celebration. Instead of it being the event, it’s an event. Visit the Gasparilla‘s website, and there’s no mention of a race anywhere.
It is definitely one of the most ignored, under-rated 15k races in the southeast. And I’m not the only one who thinks that. Maureen Chiodini recently wrote in to Tampa Bay Online expressing her dissatisfaction for the city’s inability to recognize or advertise the Gasparilla for the Tampa Bay legend that it always has been. 38 years is a long time for a race to successfully run and not be awarded the proper recognition. Wouldn’t you agree?