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PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,947
7/20/14 9:40 P

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The new Grand Teton HM didn't get as far as opening their registration before postponing the race for a year. The proposed course was denied a permit and the RD put the denial letter online. It's entertaining but serious. Among other things, it warns that grizzly bear activity could force last-minute detours or cancellations.

Oddly, the RD believes that approval will come and plans to open registration shortly for the 2015 race. I'm betting we'll be seeing yet another explanation from the RD about what went wrong with this race.

www.grandtetonhalfmarathon.com

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MARGARITTM's Photo MARGARITTM Posts: 5,709
4/7/14 7:18 P

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Thanks - I like the point system on the other stream!

On this one I appreciate any race director that at least listens and tries to make corrections going forward.

PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,947
4/7/14 3:48 P

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MARGARITTM, You may find a post I wrote earlier that addresses your concerns. It is a set of questions to "score" a HM. Particularly useful for brand new races but can be applied to old ones too. At the very least, it gives you issues to think about before agreeing to a race you know little about.

www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
ur
nal_individual.asp?blog_id=4726187



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MARGARITTM's Photo MARGARITTM Posts: 5,709
4/7/14 2:40 P

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I guess most of us have had some racing experiences that were pretty bad and some that have been dangerous.
What I would like to add to the discussion is what hints can we offer each other in ADVANCE.

It wont always work but how to spot a stinker before we put our money down.


I'll start: When the age group awards seem screwy ie last age group 50 and up!
When it is listed as fun run! Loose translation - no age group awards.

Both of those lead me to believe that this is Fundraiser put on by "non runners" and you would do yourself a favor if you::
a.put your money away
b. write a check to the cause and call it good
c.participate and use it as a supported training run



PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,947
4/6/14 3:12 P

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I'm reading yet another "How we've improved" race description - this one for Divas HM in Virginia. Among other things, they list:

- "Removal of loose gravel trails and steep climb/descents" (One can only imagine what this meant happened last year.)

- "Course is all paved with the exception of ..." (Is it so hard to leave out the word "all"?)

- "New course design has no significant elevation changes ..." (Sigh.)

- Off-site parking with shuttle service will be the only way to access the race site... Shuttle is free to runners but spectators must pay. (Can't believe they list this as an improvement. I wonder what was even worse last year?!)

www.runlikeadiva.com/Events/Divas__H
al
f_Marathon___5K_-_DC_s_Wine_Country/R>Event_Info_DC_s_Wine_Country/Course_
In
formation.htm#HM+Course+Overview


Edited by: PASTAFARIAN at: 4/6/2014 (15:13)
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KARENBROWN6's Photo KARENBROWN6 Posts: 447
2/21/14 11:45 A

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The only RnR I've done is Edinburgh. The weather was horizontal rain. The wind blew me sideways but the organisation was great and the bands were almost every mile as promised. Including one at the top of a 1.5 mile hill playing "Highway to Hell"! I'll definately be doing one again.
Baggage claim was a problem but spied our bag and managed to sneak it out the back of the tent.
They have moved the date of the event to try and improve the weather but being Scotland they are probably on a hiding to nothing!

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

It is a hill - get over it!


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JILLIANPRNCSS's Photo JILLIANPRNCSS Posts: 921
2/15/14 8:28 A

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I actually enjoyed filling my own water at RNR DC last year. I usually wear my own belt so I waste a cup when they fill it and I just pour it into my bottle. Sometimes I even just hand the cup back to them.

I wish they would change the route back to the 2012 when we didn't have to run up the hill of death.

As for RNR own their mistakes. I did Savannah the first year and their silver porta pots were not working at beginning of the race. Those are the nice ones with water in it that you get a sticker at expo if spend so much money. They sent out email saying if this effected you send them email, I got another silver sticker for any RNR race.




PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,947
1/9/14 9:55 P

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CKTALL, Even if you've only done one HM, you're likely have plenty of experience with races in general. Before even getting to the HM distance, people should have done plenty of 5K, 10K, 8K, 10M races. So you're already in a good position to judge. (No matter the distance, a water stop is a water stop, a surprise parking fee is a surprise parking fee, and so on.)

Admittedly, I have met people who say that their first HM was an amazing experience and see no wrong in a race that I know had problems. But since you already mentioned your first half had both good and bad things, you're obviously not that type of person. Feel free to identify your HM and what you didn't like and should be done differently.

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CKTALL's Photo CKTALL Posts: 388
1/9/14 6:37 P

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Great that you all have enough races for comparison

I did one half as a beginning runner - there were good parts and bad parts

So I guess I will know or have a basis for comparison next race

A failure is only a failure if you don't get up and try again...author unknown


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TIMOTHY53's Photo TIMOTHY53 Posts: 878
1/2/14 10:43 P

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Apparently the hydrants were not potable because I recall the news article mentioning that several runners were made sick by it. I wondered at that myself because round here the fire hyrdrants are also on the same system.

Of course the two problems I mentioned weren't the only ones. Just two that I recalled. And of course the point is, RnR owned up and gave runners back $50. For some of their races that would almost cover the Early Bird registration.

Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible. -- St Francis of Assisi
PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,947
1/2/14 9:34 A

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RnR using water from fire hydrants? Are you sure that's a problem? Most places in the US have one common water supply so the hydrants provide potable water. I'm in charge of opening and flushing the hydrants each year for a race sponsored by the city of Rockville, MD and we have approval from all the relevant agencies to use the hydrants. Opening hydrants is not a spur of the moment thing. (For our water stops, we need special tools, adapters, hoses, etc.) They must have planned this in advance. Are you positive RnR apologized for this?

PS: I was at the infamous DC Hot Chocolate. You don't need to remind me of how bad it was and the lack of true explanations and apology. It was so bad, I think we should consider it an outlier. So comparing RnR to HotChocolate isn't worthwhile.


Edited by: PASTAFARIAN at: 1/2/2014 (15:53)
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TIMOTHY53's Photo TIMOTHY53 Posts: 878
1/2/14 7:25 A

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RnR Las Vegas 2011 was a total mess. I don't recall all the problems but they included such things as under supervision of the volunteer stations --- some were using water from fire hydrants! Some of the course was poorly lighted and poorly marked and, it being dark, some runners who were running opposite one another were bumping into one another.

RnR's response was to send out an apology to the effect of "We are sorry we screwed up your race experience. We did these things wrong and we will fix them next year. Here's $50 for registration to any RnR event in the next (12? 24?) months." Pretty much what they just did sans discount with RnR USA 2013.

By contrast RAM Racing (Running Away Multisport or as I like to call them Running Away with your Money) ran the DC Hot Chocolate 15k on the same day. Traffic was totally hose on the Woodrow Wilson bridge, closing the Outer Span completely on a Saturday morning. They blamed a phantom car wreck. The cyclist leading the 5k made a wrong turn. They blamed the PG County police -- always a smart thing to do. There was only one entrance to National Harbor. They blamed the venue. The 15k was run on a busy six lane divided highway -- down on the shoulder and back in a travel lane -- and there was no way to enforce lane discipline. That was the runners' fault. They never got any local organizer's input about running races in National Harbor. I suppose that was PR's fault. They sent out a letter explaining all their excuses and when people didn't buy it they responded, "We're sorry if you were offended ..." Essentially blaming us for the offense they caused by their insulting finger pointing. And no refund or courtesy discount. All that in addition to: It was not in DC, at all, it was not 15k by about 0.3 miles, and the chocolate beverage was tepid and thin. So it was the (not in) DC Hot (well kind of warm) (watered down) Chocolate (not quite) 15k. I keep race shirts. Theirs I use for yard work. Oh! The promo said we would get a Brooks warm up jacket for a premium. It was definitely not Brooks nor any brand you would recognize, nor was it warm. I wouldn't give it to a homeless person. And mine was emblazoned with "Illinois Bone and Joint Institute." It was a leftover from their Chicago debacle earlier in the year.

So on the same day, RnR bombs in Las Vegas and RAM tries to kill runners in Maryland. RnR admits mistakes and give out a discount and RAM lies about why the traffic was so bad and blames the runners, the police, and the host venue and gives runners the middle finger.

By my reckoning, RnR is the very model of corporate responsibility.

At least by comparison.
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Edited by: TIMOTHY53 at: 1/2/2014 (07:38)
Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible. -- St Francis of Assisi
PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,947
1/1/14 11:19 P

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Do you have examples of RnR owning up to major mistakes, Timothy? I have never done a RnR but I've participated and volunteered in many other races and can't remember ever seeing a Race Director post real explanations of what really was the cause of some screwage and what they're going to do to avoid it in the future.

I'll even take my local running club to task for this. For example, we had a 5K recently that was short several tenths of a mile. Naturally, everyone was looking at their watches afterward stunned - everyone set PRs! Of course, it didn't take long for people to realize the course was short. People wrote to the timekeepers asking to change the official distance (so sites like athlinks.com wouldn't list an impossible 5K PR). The club president sent out a non-apology that amounted to "We never certified the course so we feel no obligation to list the true distance in the race results." Grrr.

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TIMOTHY53's Photo TIMOTHY53 Posts: 878
1/1/14 10:54 P

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(formerly TimothyNohe)

That is one thing about Rock 'n' Roll I actually like a lot. When they screw it up, they own it and try to fix it. You know how I went apesht over the Hot Chocolate for blaming everything that went wrong on everyone else. Even a total clusterfck like that one could have redeemed itself if they had just owned their problems and promised to try to fix them, like RnR Las Vegas 2011 (the same day) did.

Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible. -- St Francis of Assisi
LADYRINO's Photo LADYRINO SparkPoints: (58,060)
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1/1/14 8:16 P

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The weather was cool and overcast with some breaking sun with occasional sprinkles. Within 24 hours there was scattered showers and within 48 hours of the race there was snow that caused havoc in DC and had flights cancelled. I was happy with the weather but then again I would much rather run in cold weather than hot.

"When I first started running, I was so embarrassed, I'd walk when cars passed me. I'd pretend I was looking at the flowers."
Joan Benoit Samuelson
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PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,947
1/1/14 6:41 P

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Since you mention the weather, I'll quote what the announcement says:

"Due to the threat of poor weather conditions in 2013, water stations were not staffed to runners or event managementís expectations."

I'm guessing this means it rained so a lot of volunteers didn't show up. Yes? I'm wondering how they expect to address this. After all, it's not like they have any recourse over volunteers who fail to show up!

I do know races which intentionally recruit more volunteers than they need just to avoid this situation. Of course, that pisses off volunteers who then end up feeling like they wasted their time waking up early just to find out they're mostly standing around doing nothing. Personally, I won't volunteer again if I end up being used that way.

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LADYRINO's Photo LADYRINO SparkPoints: (58,060)
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1/1/14 6:13 P

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I can't speak about bag check as my hubby was there and was my personal bag check. As far as the Metro - we did not have any problem. It opened early and we made a point to be there for the first trains so that we did not have issues. Perhaps those that waited until later had problems. We then used the Metro the rest of the day (really the entire 7 days we were there) and did not have problems even on the high volume day of race day. Water was an issue - but at least it was not a hot day and in all fairness it had more water stations than the RnR San Francisco 2013. - But glad to see they are improving.

"When I first started running, I was so embarrassed, I'd walk when cars passed me. I'd pretend I was looking at the flowers."
Joan Benoit Samuelson
Olympic Marathon Winner


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PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,947
1/1/14 4:41 P

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I'm always happy when a race issues a statement about how they're improving their race. Admittedly, they get to pick and choose what they want to admit was bad (and ignore things that will continue to be done as before).

Today, I'm reading the Rock'n'Roll DC HM statement which lists the following changes:

- Double the space to finish area. Sounds good.

- More staff at water stations. Here, I give RnR props because, rather than just saying "improving", they admitted it was their fault that the 2013 water stations had problems.

- Improvements to Metro. This is a bit surprising. They imply Metro didn't open early on race day morning. Hard to believe given that this race has been held for years and all the big DC races arrange for Metro to open early. Did they forget in 2013?

- Improved bag check. It says they're switching from buses which hold 500 bags to UPS trucks which hold 1000 bags. I don't understand why this improves things. And I'm particularly curious because I'm in charge of the bag check for a nearby big race - and it has similar challenges because the finish and start are at different locations. But the important goal is to get each truckload of bags to the finish area before the respective runners arrive. It's irrelevant how big the trucks are. (We rent trucks and never come close to filling them more than 20% full.) What are they trying to really say? Maybe that they're promoting UPS?

Did anyone do this race last year and experience problems with the bag check or the metro?


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