This week’s Wish List Wednesday finds me dealing with history and races. Let us clarify first, there is a difference between historical races and history themed raced. Well, at least there is in my mind. A historical race is a classic race that has been put on for decades like the Boston Marathon or even most Turkey Trots. A history themed race is a race that bases itself around an historical event/person/ location like for instance the Pike’s Peak Marathon in Colorado or the Lewis and Clark Half Marathon. It is the historically themed races that the history nerd in me wants to badly get a chance to run.
I wish….. I could run a history themed race!
Set Up- Geeked out for History
Im kind of happily saturated with history these days, between watching the “Hatfields and Mccoys” on the History Channel and my near 3 hour visit to the Tampa History Musuem. Plus I have always been something of a history geek. When I went to college I planned to study history before I was carefully guided into teaching. This did not stop my enjoyment reading druing those days from being books about historical events and happenings like the Battle of Cowpens, War of 1812, and Verdun during WWI. History has always been a central part of my intellectual life and I would love to be able to coalesce that with my love of running.
In Runners World I have read of several historical races. Ones that take place across the historic battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam, or on the trails once used by the “Swamp Fox” Frances Marion for hit and run assaults on British forces in the south. There is the Battle of Bunker Hill Road Race up in Boston or the Richmond Ukrop 10k along historic monument avenue. Longer races that fit this description might include the Marine Core Marathon or the JFK50 MIler. These are just the ones I know of, but I would be willing to bet if you searched around more online you could compile quite a list. It might make for an interesting website idea. So why cannot I do one?
Well for one reason, I dont think Tampa really celebrates their history. At their history museum the other day I was dazzled and amazed by the level of history pertinent in the area. I was also disturbed that I had lived here for 10 years, actively sought out culture and had found very little. This town has tons of it but does a very odd job of inculcating it from mainstream life so that it is hard to find. Therefore, while Tampa has a ton of races that celebrate the different areas of a widespread variety of communities, it doesnt really emphasize any truly historical themed runs that I have seen. I would love to run something that commemorates the rich history of the area. Is there one I am missing? Or iss this something I just cant get to until I leave the area permanently since road trips are out of the question .
The Ideal Wish- A city rich in history themed possibilites
That Tampa would have a race to celebrate the copious culture and history. Perhaps something related to the Roughriders and the Spanish American War or something related to the Seminole raid on Captain Dade’s March. Maybe a Cigar City Half Marathon or something celebrating Tampa’s rich connection to shipping and ports. I dont know, people who are for me creative than me could surely develop something. I would run it, I would love to run it. I would love to run a a race that celebrated the history of a town I have lived in for 10 years and may be leaving shortly. I wish they had one so much, that I would come back for it at some cost.
The Reality- Am I missing it?
I dont think one in Tampa exists. The races in this area tend to take on other themes. They celebrate the areas vast connections with nature as well as its many different runnable areas. Clearwater, St Pete, Bayshore, Temple Terrace, Tarpon, New Tampa are all great places to run and loaded with races. Miles upon miles of run friendly roads and trails only enhance this. Aside from the heat, Tampa’s spread out setting and its flat landscape make it an ideal runners town. The history dork in me would just love it if there are one or two history themed races out there, so that I wouldnt have to find one elsewhere. Especially since I cant really afford to find one in another location at the moment
The Possible- Down the Line
I have not looked at races up in Tally but Im willing to be that their are one or 2 up there which will fit my history themed needs. Tally has an odd mix of culture and history especially in relation to the Seminole Indians. I also have friends in different parts of the country and at some point in my life I could link up a trip to visit friends in Virginia with a race in Bull Run or a friend in Pennsylvania with the Gettysburg race. I just have to keep a list of this races handy in case the opportunity arises.
Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0