The Bayshore Marathon took place on the Old Mission Peninsula today, and I just want to preface this op-ed by saying I’m all for people getting out there and running. I especially love seeing the oldsters out there pounding the pavement because, well, that gives me hope. Yay for all the runners.
But here’s how today went down. As is usually the case on Bayshore days, I awoke to the cheery sounds of people jogging down Bluff Road with a soundtrack of my neighbors’ energizing mix-tape nudging the runners onward. So I wandered down the driveway and hung out with my neighbors for a while, clapping and cheering the runners on.
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Then my daughter drove down the driveway in her car, and that’s when I realized she had to get to work about five miles away. She didn’t want to attempt driving amongst the runners, so I hopped in and we saw a window of opportunity and started inching down Bluff Road towards Blue Water Road. The plan was to try and cut through the crowd and make our getaway up Blue Water Road.
Oh my gosh. When we rounded the corner towards Blue Water, we could see hundreds of people, both volunteers and runners, at the intersection of Bluff and Blue Water. Along the road were mountains of spent water cups and trash, but that’s not the worst part (and honestly, the Bayshore crew did a great job of picking up every single piece of trash later – you’d never know there was a race there).
The closer we got to Blue Water, the meaner people became, shooting us dirty looks, shouting at us, and even knocking on the car, in some cases. I wish I’d gotten a photo or video of the whole scene, which I’m sure resembled protesters outside a Trump rally, but we were so overwhelmed that all we wanted to do was get through the crowd and get my daughter to work – which we managed to do. But it was a little terrifying.
When I dropped her off and came back – stopping for coffee and a muffin at Peninsula Market to kill some time – the cops at the intersection of Blue Water and Center Road wouldn’t let me drive down Blue Water at all – even though that’s not where the race was taking place. Of course, I didn’t plan on trying to get through the crowd again – that was off the table – but they wouldn’t even let me drive down and park on Blue Water to take some photos of the race and crowd. If I wanted to get down there, they said, I’d have to walk. And the cops were nice about it. I’m sure having to tell Peninsula taxpayers they can’t use the roads is no fun for them.
And hey, a walk would normally be fine. Any extra activity in my day is always welcome. But since I’d just padded down my driveway earlier in flip-flops, never planning to be out half a day, I decided to forgo hoofing it down Blue Water. Being a Peninsula girl, however, I figured out how to get home by trespassing through a few orchards (and passed a neighbor out there who was doing the same thing on their way to Center Road – hey, neighbor!).
So here’s the thing. Yes, I know the Bayshore Marathon is just one day out of the year. But how are Old Mission Peninsula residents supposed to get to work and function during the race? What if there’s an emergency? My husband and mom both have health issues – what if we needed to get them to a hospital (which, by the way, my mom did end up going to the hospital later today with breathing issues – she seems fine, but they’re keeping her in for a day or two)?
Look, I applaud the runners who work hard to achieve their goals, but much of the Peninsula was shut down for six hours today – not just Bluff Road and Blue Water Road, but East Shore Drive and Center Road, as well. Should my daughter have left the house five hours before she was due to be at work? Called in sick? Taken the day off work? What do other Old Mission Peninsula residents do?
Could there be a way to keep the Bayshore Marathon, but still allow Old Mission Peninsula residents to get to work and function on the roads? I look forward to your thoughts in the comments section below.
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb