I’ve been thinking a lot about races over the past weekend – what we expect, etc. I had friends do two races that clearly had issues – and so far only one has handled it in any semblance of a reasonable way.
The DC Hot Chocolate 15K was from all reports a disaster with overcrowded conditions and other major issues. The director of RAM Racing sent out a letter of apology and explaining the things they couldn’t control (two accidents on major roads leading to the course) and things they could (though admittedly when a company tells you “No problem, we can handle that” you’re likely to believe them as well) which they recognize. I’m still not sure I would make an effort to either travel to DC (closest to me as of now) or do it if it came to NYC (though the key seems to be avoid the inaugural year races)…but I admire someone who comes forward and says “Ok, we know we made mistakes…”
Now then let’s turn to the Rock n Roll Las Vegas thing. It’s no secret if you read this blog regularly that after NYC there is no love lost between me and Rock n Roll. But the issues we had were minor compared to what went down in Vegas. And believe me, these are things that do NOT need to stay in Vegas. First of all, they ran out of shirts and goody bags. Ring any bells? Oh yes…this happened in NYC too. Methinks Competitor needs to get a different distributor who can make things in the quantity needed and ensure that they are delivered in a timely manner. Then there were numerous reports that they ran out of water and sports drinks ON THE COURSE. I’m sorry, but that alone is unacceptable. Hydration is key and to deny people that is asking for multiple medical issues. As I understand it, it was relatively cool in Vegas during the event, and that probably saved them there. And then they ran out of medals! From people who were volunteering in the finish area, the people dealing with the medals were largely 15 year old kids, and seemingly there’s a good chance some medals went astray there…but I’ve also got to assume that if they ran out of shirts and bags, they probably didn’t order enough medals either. I get that there will be a certain percentage of people who don’t start and/or finish, but if you have 45,000 people registered, you should have 45,000 medals made up. Also the allowing of switching from the full to the half day-of is ridiculous, especially in the numbers I’m hearing it happened. There are organizations like Medals for Mettle that would gladly take unused medals off your hands, and probably give you a letter for tax purposes. Even more unacceptable, from someone who was volunteering in the finishing area, the Competitor staff stayed silent about the medal debacle leaving the VOLUNTEERS to attempt to explain and take the abuse. If you messed up, which clearly you did, YOU should be the ones explaining.
In all honesty, I had begun to consider doing the Rock n Roll half in Dublin in August. I hadn’t done anything about it yet because right now the airfare is ridiculously expensive. But after both experiencing the mess of an inaugural event for them in NYC and hearing this horror show from Vegas (where they’re clearly only about seeing how many people they can get to pony up money…supposedly they think they can get 60K on that course…the same one that couldn’t handle 45K), I’ve totally ruled it out. I love Dublin, and I’d like to keep it that way rather than have this shitshow that is Rock n Roll races screw up my love for the city.
And speaking of money…
I’d already decided that I just can’t justify the Great Alaskan Marathon Cruise this year. I don’t have anyone to room with, and I could only MAYBE afford an interior cabin. I am just too afraid I’d be completely claustrophobic in there. And even if you go with the “find a roommate for me” thing, if they don’t or if your roommate cancels even up to the day of the cruise (when it’s been long-since non-refundable) you have to pay the full price. Way too expensive for my blood.
And a lot of other races are pricing themselves out of my (and many of my friends) range. The NYC Half has increased to $117 for 2012. $117 for a course that – other than a couple hundred yards along 7th – is basically a couple of my training run places put together? Way too rich for my blood. They cite “rising bridge tolls” as one of the reasons, and there aren’t ANY bridges involved in the NYC Half. So if that’s legit, I am actually shuddering to think what the NYC Marathon will cost in 2012. I’m guessing that even $225 might be lowballing it. If it’s that high, I’m going to have to really debate if I want to do it that badly. If it’s much higher, I’m going to forget it all together. Even Disney looks to be pricing itself out of my range based on the newly published Disneyland Half prices. Granted Disneyland was pretty much a one-and-done for me to get the Coast to Coast medal, but still…when you add in travel, lodging, park admission, and food on top of the minimum $150 race fee…it’s a no-go.
So… I’m not sure what my racing is going to look like after January. I’m tentatively planning to do the Broad Street Run in Philly…but that’s only tentative. If the NYC Full is as ridiculously priced as I’m fearing, I may not even bother fitting in 9 NYRR races. No point killing myself to earn guaranteed entry into something I may not be able to afford to do.
What was it someone said about running being something anyone can do? Well, I guess running itself that works for…though shoes can be pricey. But racing is definitely becoming something not everyone can do.