By TOM HONIG
Events like the popular Santa Cruz Wharf to Wharf Race are being changed dramatically by social media.
It used to be that people celebrated their running exploits with friends and family -- but now the Wharf to Wharf is becoming an online phenomenon as well.
First, online has changed the speed with which the Wharf race sells out every year. It used to take a couple of months for the 15,000-runner field to sell out. Now it takes just days.
And then there's online video of all aspects of the race -- the start, the finish, the stuff in between. Two videos are posted on the Wharf to Wharf Facebook page of marriage proposals. The Sentinel also has posted a video.
The Facebook page also has given runners a way to give vent to any frustrations. The main one: walkers. I'm not sure what you can do about that, because people who are walking -- or even running slow -- insist on getting up toward the front of the pack at the beginning of the race. It's probably getting worse thanks to an aging population -- there are more of us who can't run anymore but still want to be part of it.
Still the Wharf to Wharf Race remains perhaps the premier public event in Santa Cruz County each summer. Anything that popular now gets exposure on social media as well as conventional sites like the Sentinel, Patch, KSCO and on community television.
Definitely check out the Wharf to Wharf Facebook page.