Or why I now have even more love and admiration for NYRR and runDisney.
This was my first – and based on everything I experienced this weekend LAST – Rock n Roll event. For those that work with and/or love them, I’m sorry, but it’s not for me. Granted, my large race experiences with runDisney and with NYRR have spoiled me, but I have high expectations for established racing organizations, and they were not met. Not even close to met.
It appeared that no true scouting – or asking/listening to anyone with experience doing races in the NYC area – occurred. Beginning with allowing 6000+ runners in a 10K in Prospect Park – which is just over a 3 mile loop. As a comparison? NYRR caps their Prospect Park races at 4500-5000 – and those don’t require lapping. The Prospect Park Track Club does a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5M, which does involve some lapping, but they cap it at 2500. So I expected crazy crowdedness for most, if not all of the run. At least I was mentally prepared for that. And packet pick-up was conducted in possibly the smallest of the running stores in NYC, so it was insanely crowded. Add to that volunteers incapable of reading bib numbers and the fact that the shirts weren’t scheduled to ship in time (I’m sorry…they should be shipped far enough in advance that there’s room for an “error”) so that only men’s large was available (ok, they said we could exchange them at the finish, but after running the last thing I want to do is stand in another hour-long line to switch out a shirt.), and they ran out of packets and bags as well…and that was a disaster.
No one who does their posts on their Facebook page bothered to check with the MTA about construction and then claimed they were getting “conflicting information” when several of us locals called them out on telling people to take a subway line that’s not even running in Brooklyn this weekend. So again, any faith I had in the organization of this thing dimmed a little more.
But I decided to shake it off and just focus on running today. I was meeting up with a friend and we were planning to run together – we’d both had to be changed to a higher corral as we registered BEFORE they put an estimated finish on the registration form, so Competitor assumed we would be crawling and gave us a 2:30 finish time. For a 10K?!?!?!? Ridiculous. We both had estimated finishes of 1:15 – yet he’d been changed to Corral 6 while I’d been put in Corral 7. Not a big deal…easy enough to change on my own, and no one bothered checking anyway as we entered the corrals.
I’m pretty sure I’d read baggage would be put on trucks (really? as small as Prospect Park is it would not have killed anyone for baggage to be in ONE location…so that was stupid anyway) by bib number. Uh, nope. By last name. Ok, whatever. More on baggage later…
Prospect Park is my “home park” so I knew what to expect course-wise. I probably could have pushed myself a little more, but I backed off in a couple of places (the hill the second time) just because. The running is what I could control – thankfully we had the entire road surface so that it wasn’t AS crowded as I feared (though I feel bad for people who regularly use the park on weekends who weren’t aware of the invasion) – and what I could control was great. We finished in right about 1:15…maybe a little over. But the running I felt good about. Of course I could do this any time on my own or several times a year with NYRR (or another newish race director who runs an amazing 10K on Governor’s Island).
So to the finish… Props for the Zico…and especially the chocolate Zico. I took a pass on the green bananas and the white-flour bagels, so I can’t comment on them. I was handed a medal all wrapped up in a little plastic bag. Sorry, but every other race I’ve run with a medal, those babies were out and were placed around our necks. It may be a minor thing, but for what we paid for this 10K, I would expect that at the very least the medal would be handed to me in a way it could immediately be put on. Headed into the “festival” area for a) picking up my bag and b) getting the beer that was mentioned in the program – not necessarily in that order. Never found the beer – saw nothing indicating where it was. Found the baggage trucks on the other side of the field – see my former comment about was moving them really necessary…because we still had to walk a good ways to get them. Got over there only to find that the bags had just been piled willy-nilly around the trucks with some even down the sides between trucks where no one – not even the junior high or high school volunteers “watching” things could see them. I get that you put things in baggage at your own risk, but if they’re going to have an area, I expect that someone’s at least attempting to guard my stuff. Thankfully everything was there when I finally found it.
At that point I just left. I’ve never even heard of the “headliners” – and based on the names of the groups they’ve toured with, I highly doubt it’s anything I’d want to hear. And I was ready to get out of that chaotic mess.
Yes, I was willing to give Competitor a chance…but they’re not a new organization. They put on races all over the country, yet based on what I experienced all the way around, I’d never believe they’ve put on anything larger than maybe a 500 runner charity fun run. I know NYRR and runDisney aren’t perfect, but I’ve never experienced chaos like this before.
The one good thing that came from this is that I had a good run at a pace that’s typical, and I needed that after the last two Disney races. But again, that part of the day was in my control.
I gave Competitor a chance, even having heard questionable things about some of their races (granted from one person, but still). I wanted there to maybe be another option for a race organization just for a change of pace. Sadly, I was severely disappointed. Competitor/Rock n Roll…you are getting no more of my money.