I've ran some poorly organized races in my days, but this one wins the Clusterfuck of the Year award. It was so screwed up that the organizers basically put a bullet in the head of this race -- it is dead. No one is going to go back.
The race was a 5k to raise money for a non-profit organization. It was also the race for the beginner runner group I teach. What a mistake. I feel so bad.
I chose this race for these reasons:
1. It was local. Not much travel and it was really close for most of the group.
2. It was at the Parkway which is as flat as a course as you can get. Out-and-back. Easy.
3. It was small. Not a lot of pressure or large crowd to deal with.
4. It was timed.
Here was the major problem with this race. It was organized by non-runners. Right there my friends is why this race was a huge cluster. The people organizing the race weren't runners and had no freaking clue on how to have the CORE elements for a successful race.
There was no defined start line. Which is okay. They did have a nice finish line because of the timing. Runners were timed at the END of the race, which was okay too because the race was REALLY small.
The head volunteer was not clear on her instructions at the start line about where to turn around, where the water stop was, etc. It was clear she was A. not a runner and B. new to this whole race thing.
As we know it has been hot as shit with the heat & humidity. Today was no different and the East trail of the parkway was freaking brutal. Not a lot of shade so you feel like a piece of bacon on a frying pan. The race organizers did not account for the heat. There was one water stop that consisted of a woman and her 10 yr old daughter next to a small blue cooler holding out little dixie cups of water. If you blinked, you would have missed them. The water stop was to be at the halfway mark and that is when the runners were to turnaround.
Two problems -- it was at the ONE mile mark and they had no clue on telling people to turnaround. So, we kept running and running and running and running.
Wait. Make it three. They were the ONLY TWO VOLUNTEERS on the course.
At one point, I looked at my Garmin and it reads 1.7 miles and I haven't seen ANY of the front runners on their way back. My second thought was FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I reach the salt museum and go around the loop (following others) -- some of the front runners when further to the Wegman's playground another .25 miles.
At the start of the race, I told my group I was going to 'race' and I would come back to get them at the end. Well, that went out the window when I realized how screwed up the course was and it turned into a survival to the end kind of thing. On my way back (finally) I came across members of the group and told them to turnaround at the Marina sign (just ahead of them). Actually, I told everyone on my way by to turnaround at the sign because the course was wrong and they were running a lot longer than 3.1 miles.
When I crossed the finish, I ran 3.78 miles and the runners who went to the playground ran over 4 motherfu*king miles for a 5k. My group ended up running about 3.5 miles. I was SO PISSED.
All of this could have been avoided by having an orange cone. One little orange cone.