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Friday, July 16, 2010

Race Report: Honda Indy Run, Walk, Wheel'athon (5k run)

The Good

I finished 2nd among adult men and 4th overall, and set a personal best at 20:34 (by my watch)! My previous best was over 22:00, so this was a huge accomplishment... and I've never really won anything.

The Bad

Just about everything else about this race was awful.

I hate to say it due to the charity affiliation, but I have never seen a more poorly organized event.

To give you an idea - they didn't even know there the start line was supposed to be.

The Botched Start

A lap of the Indy track is 2.8k, so for the 5k run they decided to do 2 laps but start us 600m up the track. Fine. So the runners all walked and walked, but nobody in charge knew where to stop. At one point, a young lady in a car told us we were there, but I looked at my Garmin and we were only at 250m! So I told her it had to be further up... we kept walking until 550m and she once again declared us there.

Close enough.

As we stood there waiting for someone to tell us to go, we saw the walkers and wheelchairs had started behind us. They then caught up to us... there was mass confusion, were we supposed to start?? Wait? A bunch of people decided to go, but this was chip timed, so I wanted to make sure I started when the official clock did!

Then out of the blue everyone starts going and people are saying "go go go!". I figured they must have got word to start, so I went. The race was on... I guess!

My Race

Kilometer 1 - 3:56
Kilometer 2 - 4:03
Kilometer 3 - 4:04
Kilometer 4 - 4:24
Kilometer 5 - 4:05

I started a bit too fast, a bit charged up with frustration. My goal in my head was around 4:10/km, and getting faster toward the end if I had it in me, but I just couldn't quite get myself to back off. Paid for it by kilometer 4!

All in all I was happy with my pacing. I crossed the line and they gave me what I thought was a finishers medal, then I heard them telling someone who finished after me they were 4th... I was like "wait, if he's 4th, what was I?" They said I was 2nd, but I knew two people had finished ahead of me. Turns out I was 4th and 2nd among adult men! Crazy.

The Botched Post-race

Now remember, it was hot and humid... high 20's, humidex in the 30's.

I asked someone at the finish if there was any water, he said it was back at the tables. Annoying, but fine.

I walk back to the tables, ask for a water. $2.50. This was the Hooter's tent at Indy, so it was all Indy pricing.

How can you not have free water at a race???

Seriously! They had free burgers and hot dogs, though... but not water? It's July, people!
  • No bag check
  • No water
  • Started late
  • Confusion over where/when to start
  • No guidance on where the track edge was - fences? red and white race track strips?
  • Told me to wear the ankel chip on my arm (which wouldn't have worked)
  • Had to dodge around Walkers/Wheelers blocking the course on both laps

So despite the low entry fee and the cool venue (Indy track), I won't be doing this one again. It was just too poorly organized to deal with a second time. Hopefully organizers read this and fix it, though, because there is so much potential here...


WOD said...

I was there last night and there were some "issues" but it is a new race and instead of complaining why not be positive about it? Everyone will learn and not every race begins with the organization of an Ironman event or a road race that has been running for years.

I can NOT believe you are complaining about having to run around wheelchairs on the course. THAT is why we are there - to support spinal cord research.

I hope as you went by them you had the humanity to wish them well and tell them they were doing a great job. They have to dodge and make their way around obstacles every day of their life.

Sometimes a race isn't about winning, although - I bet the GIRL who won the race is pretty happy!

You got a PB on an cool course - you did not have to dodge a lot of runners on the second loop - where a larger race you would have had to do that and that might have cut your time down more than the occasional wheelchair!

Congratulations on the PB and if I were you - I'd go back next year to see if you improve your time and celebrate a race that I am sure will improve from what they learned.

We all know not everything starts out perfect.

Also - are you being proactive in helping the organization or just slamming it?

Jon P said...

Thanks for your comment.

I'm reporting my *honest* experience so that others thinking about doing this race will know what they are getting into.

I'm sorry if that offends, but I'm not going to go easy on an organizer who doesn't even provide water!!!

Tell me honestly - have you ever been to a chip timed event where they didn't know when the race even started? Or where it was going to start? Or where they allowed half the field to jump the start??

I hope they learn from it, and maybe getting some negative feedback instead of platitudes would do them some good.

Double Bellybuster said...

Not offended here Jono. I think you are almost always without undue bias and are on the money. No difference here. Just my $0.02.