We had a heated discussion here on back talk a few weeks ago about the effect of marathons and other running events on our neighborhood, specifically when it comes to traffic.

Personally, I am a huge fan of the White Rock Marathon. I’ve run it the last two years and both times it was an amazing experience — but it’s the community involvement, the nostalgia of the decades-old event, and the charity element that make it so special.

Even before I was a runner, the athletes that flooded my neighborhood one Sunday in December every year totally fascinated and inspired me. I was OK with the Rock n’ Roll half marathon that shut down some streets last month, because it was well publicized, well organized and people from the neighborhood, if they were the least bit aware, knew what to expect.

This Sunday, the Big D Marathon will run through Old Lake Highlands, Lochwood, Lakewood and other Lake Highlands/East Dallas streets (map). It will undoubtedly inconvenience and make a lot of you angry, and, in this case, I think some of the frustration might be justified.

While I am sure the race organizers have good intentions (and the Big D looks like a fun event), they have not done a good job of warning the community about the potential traffic interruptions. As a reporter who covers the White Rock area, I keep close tabs on news and blog reports. I get loads of e-mails, newsletters and press releases, yet I haven’t heard a word about this, except a tiny ad in a Run On! newsletter. The only reason I know about it is because I am a member of a running club, so I have a couple friends running in the event.

This is the type of oversight that can give the running community a negative reputation — it makes us look sort-of selfish (kind of like when we’re jogging in a group that takes up the entire trail while chatting so enthusiastically that we are oblivious to the cyclists trying to pass — but that’s another rant for another time).

This Sunday, people will be doing something fantastic, and in some cases life changing — running 26.2 miles! — but, sadly, it will ruin someone else’s commute to mass or breakfast and bad, rather than happy feelings will ensue.

I wish organizers of races that close streets/stop traffic would increase efforts to get the word out — just notify the neighborhood associations and THEY will get the word out. Some non-runners would still get inconvenienced and irked, and some runners will feel self righteous and entitled no matter what I say, but with a little effort on both sides, these races could get closer to being positive, inspiring events for everyone who lives in the neighborhood.