Thursday, June 24, 2010

Race Numbers

As in musical numbers.  You know it's a good pun when you have to explain it.

This morning I was going for a slow laboring run, because that's what I do lately.  And as per usual my mind began to wander.  And as I ran past Minnehaha Falls where Get In Gear starts I got to thinking about music.  Specifically, pre-race music that is blared over the loudpseakers at races like Get In Gear.

I like the fact that they play music.  It gets people excited and makes the whole race more of an event.  But when I think of lining up for a big race and the music that is being played, only two songs come to mind.  It reminds me of that Blues Brothers scene where they only know two country songs as they pose as the Good Old Boys.

But instead of the Rawhide theme song and Stand By Your Man, the only two songs I can think of hearing at races are the Chariots of Fire theme song and that Dixie Chicks song, Ready to Run.

Now the Chariots of Fire opening music is a great song.  A beautiful, inspirational opening scene, but we are coming up on the 30th anniversary of this movie's release.  I was ten when this movie came out.  Plus, the movie is about a couple of sprinters, not distance runners.  And the opening scene is lost on a generation of runners.  I say, time to freshen it up.

And then there is the Dixie Chicks song.  Watch the video.  No really, watch it.

Three ladies in wedding dresses... what does this have to with running?  And who has a triple wedding?  Talk about a logistical and financial nightmare.  Okay wait, they are running after awhile.  But this isn't about racing.  It's about leaving the altar.  And trespassing.  And stealing kids bikes.  And vandalizing cars.  And assaulting mascots.  And ruining kids' birthday parties.  

Breaking hearts and committing petty and/or mean crimes?  This isn't about running at all.  Halfway through they're not even running.  They're riding bikes.  And I can't even figure out the end.  They start a food fight and suddenly everything is okay?  I need to remember that next time my wife is mad at me.

Just because a song has "ready to run" in it, doesn't mean it is about running.

Plus that video annoyed me because it seems like a direct ripoff of one of the greatest parodies of a chase scene ever, the one in Raising Arizona.

Anyway, I got to thinking on the latter half of my run, "okay wise guy.  It's easy to criticize someone else's job than do a good job on your own."  So I asked myself, what pre-race set list would I make if I were a race director?   And then I realized what a tough job that would be.  You can't just play music you like; you have to find something with a broader appeal.  But why try to tie it to running? When you do, you end up on the same two songs every race director is stuck with.  Tom Petty's Running Down a Dream gets a lot of play too.  

At Twins games I like to ask the people I'm with what song they would choose to play as they get introduced to bat.  Now I have a new question to ask at races.  If you were the race director, what five songs would you play before the race?  It is a much harder job than I initially thought.

I would pick older mainstream songs just to make sure they have wide familiarity.  Off the top of my head, my list for the pre-race crowd would be....
  1.  KISS' Rock n Roll All Night.
  2.  Aerosmith's Sweet Emotion, which would lead naturally to...
  3.  Run DMC and Aerosmith performing Walk This Way together.
  4. John Mellencamp's R.O.C.K. in the USA.
  5. And to round out the five, I would add one song about running (sort of) Intergalatic by The Beastie Boys because they do claim they "run the marathon to the very last mile."
The close reader will note that these are not my favorite songs and have nothing to do with music I listen to when I run.  They are just songs we all know and are widely liked; and they would be a nice break from the Chariots of Fire/Tom Petty/Dixie Chicks playlist.


Chad said...

They "run the marathon to the very last mile"?

Technically, doesn't that mean they stop at 25.2?

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mizuno running shoes said...

I agree with you that; "It's easy to criticize someone else's job than do a good job on your own."