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Got nowhwere to (water) run

January 21, 2010

Once the snow covers the trails runners are forced to hit the roads.  Even though roads are built for cars 99% of drivers have the good sense to move their steering wheel one inch to make room for a runner because they know there is plenty of room.  That other small percent of drivers feel that the road is rightfully theirs, they don’t want to share it.  To make their point they don’t budge and they honk their horn.

It seems as though there are a few swimmers who like to honk their horns too.  At McMaster there are a few recreational swimmers who don’t want to share their swimming lane with people going slower (ie water runners).  Instead of honking they complain to staff about having to manuever around water runners who are moving slowly. 

The way the lanes work at McMaster is that all the traffic flows up the middle and back down either side in each of the slow, medium and fast lane (a six lane pool split into three wide lanes).  If one lane is enough room for traffic to move up the pool than one lane is certainly enough to move the same people down the pool.  That conveniently leaves the other lane for water runners to go back and forth.  99% of the swimmers realise this and are happy to share.  A few however make it a point by coming down the same side as the water runners. 

These selfish swimmers have complained to the pool staff to have water runners banned on Tuesday and Thursday when the pool runs the ‘long course’ (see pic above).  We were told on Thursday so I wrote an email describing a simple solution so that everyone can share the pool.  I didn’t get any response to my suggestion. 

On Tuesday during recreational swim we (there were five water runners, two more came and were denied) were asked to leave the pool.  We complied and had a discussion on the deck to come up with a resolution so I could continue to train.  As pissed as I was that I had to abandon my training I kept my cool so as not to burn any bridges, although I’m sure I still annoyed the aquatics manager with my persistence in finding a solution.   The aquatics manager even agreed that the rule was absurd however, they weren’t budging on their decision.  It seems as though one of the selfish swimmers is some sort of big shot at McMaster (who may or may not donate large sums of money) and the decision to ban water running was going to stick.

The funny thing is that during our conversation on the deck there were between zero and four patrons in the deep end at any time, plenty of room for more people to enjoy the pool (or to train, pool running isn’t exactly enjoyable). 

While there are a number of solutions to a simple problem the one they came up with is to open the pool for an extra hour for pool runners.  They will charge the varsity track team and Quest for Gold $30/hour for us to train.  Which is fine with me right now but completely ridiculous.  When I was injured last week I was in the pool for at least 1hr 45min each day.  Now that I’m running more miles an hour will be sufficient for my needs.

I also just received an email saying that if I want to water run for longer I can pay $170/hour to have the pool.  That’s right $170/hour!  I would be embarrassed if I worked at McMaster and was a ‘supporter’ of the Pan-Am games and the athletes.

I wish I could send all the complaining swimmers back to Kindergarten where they could learn the valuable lesson of sharing

  1. Bruce Deacon permalink
    January 21, 2010 1:41 pm

    Yeah…frustrating, eh? Are there no public recreation centres you could use? You wouldn’t be bullied this way in a public facility and if you were, you could go to your elected council to get it resolved. In a universtity facility, they can arbitrarily make rules based on alumni funding, etc.

  2. reidcoolsaet permalink*
    January 21, 2010 2:05 pm

    The public pool by my house is so small you have to turn around every 20 seconds. Of course any speed is tolerated there as it would in any normal place during a rec swim.

  3. Barbara permalink
    January 22, 2010 11:18 am

    It’s not any easier to use the track. We are so frustrated with the lack of communication. I bet we have talked to 5 people who all work at the recreation centre, all claiming they know the rules/cost of using the track, clearly they are not receiving the same memos. So far we have received 3 different prices to use the track during very limited times. One day our group was there at the allowed time and the track was arbitrarily closed to accommodate the “emergency practice” of Mac’s relay team.
    No, the McMaster University does not care about the public using their facilities nor do they care what the public thinks.
    Bullying is right.

  4. Bruce Deacon permalink
    January 25, 2010 4:06 pm

    It sort of reminds me of the time I almost got beat up by a very overweight German guy who took personal offense to my heat acclimatization strategy of running in the sauna. I seem to recall the recreation centre was not exactly in my corner.

  5. Desy permalink
    January 26, 2010 10:30 am

    At Carlton University they have a water running lane that’s sweet! I still haven’t found my buff

  6. Sheryl permalink
    January 27, 2010 9:59 am

    I’ve been one of the people swimming at Mac while you run in the water. Doesn’t bother me any! In fact, I’m too shy to ask while I’m there but I’d like some advice on how to start water running. I’ve been suffering injuries for years and keep thinking about water running but am unsure where to start. I’m a middle-aged chubby lady with no speed aspirations! LOL I just like to run and it frustrates me that I keep having to go back to ‘square one’ due to shin splints and stress fractures.

    So – I support your water running and think that a dedicated lane sounds like a capital idea. I think I’ll email the aquatics manager and offer my opinion!

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