Any race at the Waterfront is an obvious choice for us, especially when there’s a pirate theme. Our friend Misty parked at our place and we walked down there together. It was a fun race overall, but there were a few issues with how it was organized. Mainly the price and the shabby online registration process.
The Pirate 5K Run was part of the Lake Champlain Maritime festival. It was the first event of the festival, taking place at 9am and sending us southward down the bike path and back again. It was a nice, even course, with few elevation changes and a nice view of the lake as we ran along the bike path. The road-based portion of the course was well marked with orange cones and protected by police, while the water stations kept the runners hydrated. Logistically, only real complaint was the single-sided clock. It’s not a biggie, but I like to get Finish Line pics of people with their times. It’s always fun to see their faces and their times in the same photos.
I’ll post our official times when the event publishes them, but I’m not holding my breath. Their website has problems. More on that below. Until then, Misty’s time was about 28 minutes, and Cara’s was about 30 minutes.
Pirate Costumes on a Warm Day
It was a bit warm during the race. The folks who dressed up tended to get a little heated, resulting in a few loosened costumes at the end. For my part, I decided to skip my SCA gear and just wear the little pirate bandana that came in our race packets. (If I was going to sweat into a costume piece, at least it could keep the stuff out of my eyes.) There was one costume that rose above the others, however.
Yeah, he’s a Video Pirate. Brilliant twist on the theme. Even better, this is the only costume that didn’t overheat the wearer. He was at the race with a guy dressed as a Pittsburg Pirate and a woman dressed as Peter Pan. You can see them in my Flickr gallery.
Online Failures and High Prices
There’s a bit of irony in this race. Although the race-day organizers did an excellent job, online registration was a complete mess and the cost was too high. $35 is just too much for a 5K race on a course that most of us run every day anyway. If our friend Misty hadn’t sent us a link to a 50% coupon on DealChicken, we probably would have skipped this one.
Even worse, the website had no useful information and a terrible registration system. I scoured the page after I registered, looking for a confirmation number… and found nothing. I was beginning to worry that the page was broken and hadn’t accepted my coupon code, but there was some small print at the bottom of the page. Just two words: “REGISTRATION COMPLETE”. While I was glad to see those words, I would have been happier with a little professionalism from the people who built the website. I had to confirm my registration by sending an email to the festival’s PR contact. Within a day, I received an email from Lisa Andrew, the President of Red Sapphire Consulting. She checked on it for me and confirmed that we were okay.
As Race Day approached we received the official email about the event, with all sorts of details about the course, the schedule, and other good stuff. Our friend Misty did not receive this message. I had to forward it to her so she could contact the organizers and confirm her own registration.
That’s pretty sad. How many people had to call or email to make sure they were registered? How many times did someone have to stop her day so she could check on a registration and send a personal email? It’s crazy to create all sorts of extra busy-work for race organizers when you could just invest a little time and money into building a proper registration page with an automatic confirmation message.
Additionally, it would have been nice if all that useful information about the course had been posted on the website instead of being sent in an email to (only some of) the people who registered.
Everything outside of the price and the online registration process was handled well, and I think we all had a good time. As long as the festival puts a respectable effort into their own website next year, I would recommend it.