I have run a fair amount of 5ks since I started running in summer of 2008, and I need to say right now that the Hot Chocolate 5k I ran this morning (and hauled my butt out of bed the morning after Halloween for, mind you) was the most disorganized race I’ve participated in.
It started a few weeks ago.
Bob had already signed up long before I did. When he convinced me to sign up, I went to the site and saw that the packet pick-up Bob had told me about was no longer listed on the website. They changed this key piece of info and hadn’t emailed the registered runners to let them know.
Whatever. Could have been a fluke, right?
First of all, we’re pretty sure they oversold the race, as the place was packed to the gills. It took us 8 minutes from when the race began to actually cross the start line, which is not an altogether uncommon thing in a big race, but the race path was packed the entire 3.1 miles, and the course had some precarious turns, a stretch right along Montrose Harbor that could have easily ended with someone falling in the water, and I saw a guy in the last mile trying to pull his sneaker out of a hole it had gotten lodged in.
Regardless, I had a nice run – The weather was perfect and my admittedly nice race hoodie kept me the perfect temperature.
Then we finished the race, and immediately made our way to gear check.
Easily, we spent 20 minutes in the looping line for gear check before someone told us that runners with numbers of 15,000 and higher(Eric and I) could go to a new line. So we did, and soon realized what all the hold-up was. The gear check people had essentially taken everyones bags and thrown them into a great big pile with no arrangement, so when it was time to collect the volunteers (god bless ‘em) were basically looking for a needle in a haystack. Once Eric and I got our stuff, we returned to where Bob, Gina, and Laura were still waiting to get theirs, and took it upon ourselves to inform all the new runners in line with numbers 15,000 or higher not even to bother with the line they were in.
Race times haven’t officially come in yet, but we’re nearly positive we spent more time in line at gear check than we did actually running.
(To put things in perspective, the 2009 Shamrock Shuffle has significantly more runners and we maybe spent a grand total of 3 minutes in line both checking and collecting our items pre and post race. And, you know, that was in a blizzard, so..)
While we waited in line, we heard people complaining that the free shuttles took forever to get to and from the race site, that the 5k finishers were walking in the path of the 15k runners, and that this race was WAY better organized in 2008. A girl told us that the company who put the race up this year was a brand new company, and you could tell.
So, finally, gear collected, we headed to the food tents. As this was the HOT CHOCOLATE 5K, sponsored in part by Hershey, all the press had promised TONS of chocolate. Not really. Though the chocolate fondue we recieved was great (if in small quantites) the Hot Chocolate itself was really bitter and gross. We threw it away.
UPDATE: According to this blog, they also ran out of chocolate.
(Thats another thing. 15,000 runners and there were maybe 4 trash cans on the entire site?)
Though we all ran well, and the day was lovely and it’s always nice to run with friends (Congrats Gina, on your first 5k – and doing awesome!), event organization kept it from being a really awesome experience.
I won’t be running this race again in 2010. I’ll get on a treadmill and have a Snickers when I’m done, instead.
(Once again, I remain an ardent fan of Capri Events races..organized, accessible, easy-going, and safe courses. I’ll stick with them.)
Check out Bobs blog – chitheatreaddict.com – where he’s blogged an open letter to RAM Racing, and is recieving some interesting accounts from fellow runners.