As I was picking up my Ventura Marathon race bib before the race a few weeks ago, I came across an awesome sight...this perfectly arranged line of porta-johns. Kudos to local Cal State Site Services for this beautiful line-up.
After 20 years of running and racing, I have no qualms chatting about the use of porta-johns. Well I don't like using the porta-john, they are a welcome sight, particularly when unoccupied.
Having access to porta-johns are a critical aspect of marathons as well as other races, as the lack thereof can cause massive problems and/or messes.
Well organized marathons have an adequate number of porta-johns at both the start of the race and dispersed throughout the course. Every few miles. The Ventura Marathon did a pretty decent job of that. In fact, I visited one of them around Mile 9 of the race.
The time and momentum lost in visiting a porta-john mid-race is not a good thing. But...as they say...when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. Probably my single biggest pre-race stress point is ensuring my innards are empty, yet have enough fuel in me to power me through the full 26.2 miles. I didn't quite achieve that goal in Ventura and that sliced probably two minutes or so from my time.
Perhaps I'll figure the timing one of these days. Perhaps not. After running 30+ marathons you'd think I'd figure that out.