This one was a bit odd. The website had the name of the race, the date… and that’s it. The Active.com page had an address for the Starting Line, but that was a mile from the registration desk. I guess they thought only local people would show up.
I chose this race because it’s on a Monday. My wife’s bakery business is steadily growing, so my weekends are filling up with Farmer’s Markets. I was looking for odd times, holidays and afternoons. The Snowy Egret 5K had a promising time, but that was all I could get from their website. The name of the race and the time. There was a list of sponsors and some other advertisements, but no additional information about where I would go to actually run this thing. Fortunately the page on Active.com had more information: it had an address, and the actual starting time. I knew where I was going and I knew that I would run at 9am, so I signed up.
Just one problem: That address is a mile from the registration table. All the pre-race stuff was at another location that wasn’t listed anywhere, unless you count flyers that you can pick up in Scarborough if you live in the area. When I got to the address the people inside were politely surprised to see me, and seemed to think that I was a bit weird for thinking that registration would be there. They gave me a paper map to the field nearby, because no, I do not know where that is, and I drove there. The parking lot was full, so I wound up parking on the road. This was good, because the Finish Line was at the entrance to the lot. No one could leave that lot until the race was mostly over.
Pretty good run, though
The course wasn’t bad. We ran down the road a bit, then onto a trail for an out-and-back, and then back on the road for a bit until we got to the parking lot.
On a personal note, I ran a little faster today because I drove through some rain on the way to the site and left my lights on. During the long walk to the Starting Line and throughout the race, those lights were just beaming away for nothing. I really, really didn’t want to ask strangers for a jumpstart, so I pressed on. As luck would have it, the course took me right past my own car, and I surprised a few runners by stopping and opening the door. Once the lights were off, I ran for another minute and finished the race.
The people and the food were nice, but folks in this state need do realize that the Internet doesn’t stop at the borders of their neighborhoods. Anybody at all can sign up for the race, even if they live in another town and aren’t familiar with where your local school is.
If you put something on Active.com, you should tell folks that only the first 100 runners will receive t-shirts, or that their car will be blocked in the lot until everyone has finished the course. You should tell them that the 5K they signed up for includes a one-mile walk. It’s not such a big distance for me, but what about beginners who were planning to walk this thing? Were they prepared to walk four miles instead of three? And really, why couldn’t we just spend more time on the trail if we were going to do an out-and-back anyway?
I hate to seem so negative. The people I met were excellent, but this was a weird setup for a race. I’m not the only one who noticed, either. I shared some grumble time with a few people during the long walk to the Start. I can only guess that the organizers thought that everyone would be local, or perhaps that all of the possible runners had done this race last year. If that were the case, it could explain why so much vital information was omitted from two different websites.