I've run a few hundred races over the past decade, but I've never had the sinking feeling I had while running in the Pumpkin Run last week.
I was a mile into the race on Youngs Road, when the thought went through my mind, "Is this a chip race?" I started looking at runners around me, and -- sure enough -- I saw a timing chip on a women's shoe. I had forgotten all about it. Sigh.
I finished the race, went straight to the scorer's truck and reported my time. Since I wasn't exactly close to an age-group medal, they just added me to the list with no controversy. Still, I felt rather stupid.
So kids, make sure you look around for chips well before you reach the starting line. And registration volunteers, it's always a good idea to remind people to grab chips at check-in. I'm probably not the first, or last, to do this.
I'll try to do better this weekend.
Here's the weekend race calendar, courtesy of buffalorunners.com:
* Race to Cure Childhood Cancer 5K, 2402 N. Forest Rd. in Getzville, 8:30 a.m. Saturday, 681-4433. There's no quit in the organizers of this race, which has come and gone and changed locations over the years. Nice to have it back on the schedule.
* Tim Hortons 5K Coffee Run, 8289 Main St. in Eden, 10:30 a.m. Saturday, 445-0047.
* Dr. Richard Sarkin Memorial 5K, Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, 10:30 a.m. Saturday, 713-0769. You might remember this race as one that came just after the "October Surprise" snowstorm a few years ago. Let's hope for better weather this time.
* Niagara Falls International Marathon, Buffalo (Art Gallery) to Niagara Falls, Ont., 10 a.m. Sunday, 905-356-9460. I wonder if this is still one of the only two-country marathons in the world.
* Niagara County Deputy Sheriffs' PBA 5K Run, Market St. in Lockport, 10:30 a.m. Sunday, 622-6416.