[personal profile] runthisway
What makes a good race? It's different for everyone. My letter grades can be broken down as such:

A: Practically perfect in every way, to quote Mary Poppins. These are races that are well-run, friendly, and really enjoyable. There might be room for improvement here and there, but I walk away from these races with a smile on my face.

B+: Almost an A, but not quite. These races have room for improvement in one major area, such as failing to feed runners after the race or snippy volunteers, but are overall very good.

B: Not great, not horrible; these races are middle of the road and have more than one area that needs improvement.

C: Major issues with organization, safety, course structure, et al.

D: Almost a complete failure of a race.

F: Just a horrible experience with no redeeming value whatsoever.

When I review races, I consider:

1. Safety. This, above all. Were there water stations at appropriate intervals? Was the course clear of obstructions and traffic? Was it well lit? Did I feel safe? Were any people who were causing disruptions promptly removed? If I had needed help during the race, would I have been able to find a volunteer or medic fairly quickly?

2. Did I have fun? This, of course, is a very subjective criteria. Needless to say, I could (and do) run or walk 5K on my own any day of the week, without fanfare and without registration fees. If I'm doing a race I have expectations for something more than that--and it's all about fun, for me.

3. Organization. Was the race well organized? Was packet pickup smooth and fast? Were volunteers able to answer questions? Was there ample information on how to get to the start line on the website/in the registration email? Were race marshals present along the course?

4. Honesty. Did the promises made by the race organizers match the actual experience?

5. Runners. What were the other runners like? Was there a convivial vibe, or did it feel like the Cornucopia at the Hunger Games? Were unruly kids or unleashed dogs running amok on the course? Did I get run over by a stroller?

6. The course. Aside from safety, addressed in point #1, what was the course like? Were the miles and turns well-marked? Were there unusual or interesting sights to see along the route? Was the course well-designed? Was it accurately measured at 5K?

7. Packet Pickup. Was there packet pickup on the day of the race, or did they inconvenience runners by forcing them to go to an expo a day before? Was packet pickup fast and efficient?

8. Charity Who's getting the proceeds from this race? How much? Is the race doing any outreach?

9. Swag. Greed rears its ugly head. Are the medal and shirt well-designed? Did they run out of specific shirt sizes?

Things I do NOT consider in my reviews:

1. The weather. Yeah, running in a rainstorm or 100-degree weather really sucks. It's not the race director's fault, though.

2. My time. It's not the race director's fault how well I have trained. Some of my favorite races have been those where my time has been especially bad.

3. The registration fee, most of the time. If I feel a race fee is excessive I just won't sign up.

4. Mass transit delays and traffic. The race directors aren't wizards. Again, it's not their fault if the bus is full or the nearest parking lot is ten blocks away. The ONLY time I will take transportation into account is when a race is directly offering some sort of shuttle or other means of transportation.


Run This Way: A Blog

December 2016

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