March 30, 2011

Race Organizers Didn't Set a PR

Unfortunately, the CareFirst National Half Maration wasn’t run well by the event organizers. I already touched on the awful packet pick-up lines and in my next post I’ll discuss inefficient driving and parking logistics, poor starting line organization, blocked corral entry, no mile markers (inexcusable), and bottlenecked finish line, but there were complete horror stories for those that came behind me.

Thankfully I outran some of the races biggest problems – running out of water, long waits at hydration stations, the finish line became so crowded racers couldn’t cross the final timing mat, racers received the wrong medals (half versus full), they ran out of medals. Other complaints at the finish line festival included the race organizer’s own printed directions being wrong, Metro cards for the relay racers were short on return fare, the “official shuttle” never made it to the “official hotel”, there was no GU energy gels where they were supposed to be (I wasn’t looking for it).

And the ultimate sin, the shirt was ugly. The 2010 Training Tee was a great design (I bought one on sale for $10), and the 2011 Training Tee was also a nice graphic, but the official race shirt was a muddled map of DC with a bunch of locations listed (many of which were for the full marathon and the half never hit). I run for free shirts and bananas, and I demand satisfaction.

At least the race crowd, volunteers, and even police officers were supportive and that made the whole event. I didn’t find it a particularly scenic course, but to be honest, I was focused primarily on my speed and my time. But for a race with only 15,000 participants and with the lofty title of “National Marathon,” the poor race organization and logistics were unexpected and unacceptable. I think I'll skip town and run my 2012 spring races in either Virginia Beach or the Outer Banks.