NFL Week 8: The Marathon Qualifier
The application also asked for a "certificate" to show that I am "qualified" to run in the marathon or half-marathon. Well, I don't have that, since I haven't run in one before! So the leader told me I had to go do a test run - any applicant that doesn't have experience needs to run in the test run on Oct 25. As I found out more about it, I had to run 8K - about 5 miles - in less than 2 hours. People who can do that would be qualified and can run in the half marathon in November.
(Why this qualifier? Well, last year, so many Chinese natives signed up for the marathon that were novices. Some couldn't even run 1K, let alone 13 or 26 miles. 2 people died in the race because they weren't accustomed to running these distances. So they put in this qualifier to weed out these novices before the real race. )
The registration was supposed to start at 8:30, and at 9:30 the race would begin. The cutoff time was 11:30 - so you had to finish by 11:30 to get your certificate. I arrived at the stadium - it was on a university campus - at around 8:15. I immediately saw a huge line of people by some tents. Uh oh - the lines were enormous even before the check in was supposed to begin!
My registration number was "17" out of like 2500 or so.....they put all the foreigners in the first 100 numbers..... I stood in line for the tent labeled "0001-0400". 400 people will come to register at this tent.....and there were only 2 people staffed at this tent. Red flags started waving in my brain.
At 8:15 I was about 75th in line; at 8:30, the processing started and it was a sloooooooow go. Around 9:00, I was getting near the front - about 10 away from the table - when I saw some people running on the track next to the line and heading under a tunnel. People were putting cones out and the Chinese officials were yelling some directions in Chinese. What's going on? Has the race started? But me and 1500 of my Chinese friends are still in line!
I finally get to the front of the line; I get my bib sticker and told to head to the left side of the track. I go over there, get in a group of 20 or so people; an official barks some instructions in Chinese and a few runners take off..... I stand there motionless.
Thankfully, a native Hong Konger comes up to me. "Hello", he says. "I know English"
Great! Can you tell me - what's going on? Is the race starting?
"Uh, no, the officials realize they can't register everyone in time for the start. So they've changed the qualification course."
OK.....what is it?
"Well, we run once around the track here in the stadium, go under the tunnel to the soccer field across the street, run once around the soccer field, and then collect our certificates."
Um....is it timed?
"Oh, no, if you can complete that in any time, you can be qualified. Want to join me while we jog? "
Sure, I said, as I just shook my head.
We ran about 6 minutes - maybe, at most, 3/4 of a mile. The video here tried to capture the course; the starting stadium is in the background with the poles; this is the final soccer field where we picked up the certificates at the end.
For this run, there were 4 water stations - where you could pick up cups of water, if needed - and the ambulance. I did not need any water.
All that on a Saturday morning - for a 6 minute run. I went home and ran for about 45 minutes while finishing the Week 8 Beating the Books podcast.
The runners? Most were dressed appropriately and looked like they knew what they were doing; however, there were the few dressed in collared shirts, slacks, cargo pants, and sandals. Here's one runner who completed the qualification....
This whole experience does not surprise me ....fairly typical of a Chinese event. You never know the surprises that will come up.
Talking about surprises- well, that's what the Browns gave me last week. I should have saw that coming a mile away......Hoyer had not had a bad game yet, and was due for one; we seemed to have read all the press clippings that declared us to be 6-2 automatically. I think we will focus at home here and run Oakland out of the building in the first half, and then have to hold on for dear life at the end to win......please, don't lose again to a winless team.
On to the games:
Det 24, Atl 13. Atlanta is horrible. Why did I pick them last week? Baltimore moved the ball at will last week. How does Atlanta score on Detroit?
Sea 23, Car 20. Seattle's not good enough just to show up and run someone out of their building, but I don't think Carolina has the weapons to take advantage.
Bal 27, Cin 24. The last stand for Cincinnati, and Baltimore will want to win after losing in week 1.
Mia 24, Jax 16. Yes, the Jaguars defense is good - but their offense is horrible. I don't know how they break 20 here vs. a revitalized Ryan Tannehill.
KC 26, StL 16. St Louis played every trick known to Lombardi against Seattle, and barely won. I know KC is off a big win and may have a letdown, but the Rams will have the bigger letdown.
NE 30, Chi 27. Discouting the Bengals win, the Pats' defense is not that good. Chicago has the weapons to stay with them in a shootout.
NYJ 23, Buf 17. Orton with no running backs heading to the Meadowlands to face rex Ryan? I know the Jets are 1-6, but I don't see the Bills scoring more than 20, and I am trusting the Jets offense to continue to improve.
TB 28, Min 23. The only reason for this pick is that Tampa is off a bye.
Hou 24, Ten 17. Houston's defense vs a rokkie QB making his first start? I know it's a road game, but I don't see Tennessee moving the ball much.
Az 27, Phi 20. Just can't shake the feeling that the Az D line will eat the Philly O line for lunch.
Ind 23, Pit 13. Pittsburgh is not good. If they didn't have those 3 minutes at the end of the half vs. Houston, they would have been blown out.
GB 27, NO 24. Not sold on New Orleans' defense to close out a critical game like this.
Dal 23, Was 20. These games are always close, right? And it's Colt McCoy's homecoming!!
Best bets: 15 of them. Last week: 6-7; overall: 43-53-3
Det -3 1/2
Atl/Det under 45 1/2
Bal/Cin over 45
Chi/NE over 51
Min/TB over 43
Hou -3 1/2
Az -1 1/2
Ind -3 1/2
Ind/Pit under 49 1/2
GB +2 1/2
Was/Dal under 49
Supercontest picks: Last week: 2-3; overall : 21-14
Det -3 1/2
Ind -3 1/2
I really don't like having 4 favorites on that list.