The Karhu 5K was the sister race to the 13.1 Los Angeles half-marathon. It seemed that the race organizers treated the 5K as an afterthought, and it showed.
One of my major issues with this race was the lack of transparency and the inaccurate information. Changing the location to another zip code,
and moving it from a busy municipal area to the hinterlands, really is a big deal. Runners often choose the race based on what they know about the course and their ability to get to the start line, after all.
My registration from active.com showed that the race was happening in Venice, going from the boardwalk to Windward Cicle. It wasn't. They showed really flashy medals on their website, but the 5Ks didn't get them. They didn't even have a chip mat at the start line. The indifference was apparent from start to finish.When:
January 15, 2012Where:
Dockweiler Beach, Playa del ReyCourse access:
HA HA HA. Sorry, that was funny. The race was originally billed as being in Venice, which would have been easy to access. It was actually at Dockweiler Beach in El Segundo/Playa del Rey. There are exactly 0 buses that go to Dockweiler or anywhere within walking distance. I ended up taking a cab to the entrance and then walking a mile and a half to the start. There weren't any signs directing participants from either the path or the parking lot; I walked uneasily in the dark and looked for a crowd.
The race ended near Culver Boulevard in Playa del Rey. The Metro 115 ran there, but it was detoured significantly due to the race. Why:
____________Number of Participants:
Packet pick-up was at an Equinox gym in Marina del Rey. Everything ran smoothly. Course:
Parallel to the ocean, from Dockweiler State Beach to Playa del Rey. The course looped by a sewage treatment plant at one point...ugh! Other than that, it was flat, fast and had gorgeous views of the Pacific. Runners
seemed to be mostly adults, but there was a diversity of ages, shapes and colors. Everyone seemed fairly subdued, and I had to wonder if they were annoyed about the race conditions too. Chip timing:
Yes, with a Chrono-track chip that was attached to the bib. However they did not have chip mats at the start line, which meant that finish times were by the clock, and therefore inaccurate. In addition, they had neither split times nor a clock at the end for 5K finishers. Shirt:
Yuck. It was a standard white T-shirt with an aqua "move and groove" logo. I never saw anything with the logo or slogan anywhere else on the course or website, so it seemed to be something they'd thrown in at the last minute.Swag:
None, except for a coupon for a free beer. After a race like that, a drink wasn't a bad idea. Despite advertising a very cool medal all over their website, nothing was given to 5K finishers. Expo:
So-so. The one shining asset was the kiosk where they were giving out free massages. There were a few interesting exhibitors, but there wasn't a huge variety. There were a few food trucks, and there was also a special private tent for runners who had trained with a specific charity team. Would I Run this Race Again: Not in a million years.Note: my review of the Karhu 5K was also posted on Race Grader in an edited form.