Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sporting Life 10K and another race fail - UPDATE

Update Oct 16, 2013: Sporting Life replaces race director.

(Originally published May 12) The Sporting Life 10K race in Toronto this past weekend had a few fails -- undermanned water stations -- but the worst was at the end, where mass congestion hit the finish line. I ran this race and have been updating this post since. So far, the race sponsor, the charity have given a response -- Canadian Running has interviewed the race director.

The response here has been tremendous, especially on my original post. You can read or posts comments at the bottom of the original post.

Photo from MySportsShooter

UPDATE, May 28:

It's two weeks, two days since Sporting Life 10K, and Get Out There published a statement from the race organizer. First things first, there is a "solution" to the finish line issue. So, good, they're conceding that there was an issue on their end as opposed to pointing at runners. Those solutions include staggering the start and opening up access to the park post finish (which was a massive contributor to the congestion.)

Here's the full statement from Get Out There (h/t to Andrea for pointing it out)

We recognize that there was an issue at our finish line this year that made it difficult for many of our participants to cross due to overcrowding. We are working on a solution so that next year, all our participants will easily and freely be able to cross our finish line without encountering a wall of runners. 
In anticipation of an increased field in 2014, more time will be allocated between the waves; these times will be increased to 15 to 20 minutes. We will work with the city to close Lakeshore Blvd. between Bathurst and Strachan Ave. to allow our participants easier access to Coronation Park without having to stop for traffic. We will continue to work with the city on our course and road closure plan so that we can better accommodate both our participants, supporters, and Toronto residents. 
The Sporting Life 10k and its sponsors are committed to providing our participants with a premium running experience that will elevate and inspire all.
I'll look on to see how they address other issues -- specifically the water stations and volunteer recruitment and course marshals. In the meantime, I have passed along names to Sporting Life who asked for runners to potentially join an advisory board, with transparency -- no response from them on that.

Other posts on the Sporting Life 10K 2013

UPDATE, Tuesday May 14:

Steve sent me this YouTube clip that is not easy to watch. It shows a woman needing medical assistance. It took a few minutes for medics to arrive. Say what you will about preparedness, and whether the response time was fast enough. That's not for me to say. Here's the video.

"Medic! Medic!" "Come on, Toronto!" "That is unacceptable, this is Toronto."

Go to 9:11 in the video for the start.

UPDATE, Tuesday afternoon: 
Alex Robertson from Camp Oochigeas wrote this in the comments. See earlier reaction from the race director to Canadian Running below.

Thank you for your support and participation in the 2013 Sporting Life 10k supporting Camp Oochigeas. This year’s race hosted an incredible 27,000 registered runners, and raised over 2 million dollars to support camp. Our partners at Sporting Life have been incredible to us, just as our donors, volunteers, fundraisers and runners. Your loyalty and commitment to camp is inspiring. And we appreciate your feedback. We know that Camp Ooch’s success relies on the support of you – our community – and your input counts. We recognize that, if we are to continue to grow this event there are things that will need improve so that it’s not only one of the biggest runs in the country, but one of the greatest too. Thanks again.
Executive Director, Camp Oochigeas

Canadian Running Magazine covers the finish line "chaos" and interviews race director Jay Glassman. Read it and let me know what you think but I see him laying blame on runners. 

“We had people in the chute trying to keep people moving, but we also had a lot inexperienced runners stopping,” Glassman told Canadian Running Monday afternoon. “They don’t know they’re supposed to run it out.”
Really, Jay? First, you're blaming runners and not your organization? Does anyone have pictures of the police roping off Fleet Street? Yes, see below. Runners were stopped after the line.

How's this rebuttal?

Ummm. What's this, then Jay? From MySportsShooter

And maybe an apology is in order?

And as one person wrote, this reaction is starkly different than how the CRS dealt with the bag-check fiasco.

UPDATE, Monday afternoon: John Roe from Sporting Life (which is the title sponsor) wrote this in the comments. Thanks John for the note and do let us know if there's action. John confirmed over email that this was in fact from him. Bold emphasis mine:
My name is John Roe and I am the Director of Marketing and Advertising for Sporting Life. I have been looking after our 10k for nearly 9 years now. We too are not impressed with what happened yesterday and please all be aware that we are going to do what is neccessary to enure that our "little run" that could will live up to your expectations. We do listen to our customers and we do react when reaction is needed. We will take the steps nesseccary to make the run/race the quality event it should be.Our goal has always been to have an experience for aspiring and competeing runners while raising a lot of money for Camp. Both can co- exist

Thank you and keep the posts coming. we are watching and we are listening.

Also, Mark, gave us the heads up that race photos from MySportsShooter show exactly how bad it looked like.

Photo from MySportsShooter

UPDATE, Sunday evening: A video of the finish line shot today and uploaded Sunday night shows just what it looks like for runners to come to an abrupt stop. It's dangerous, not easy to watch some of these guys just try to warm down. See the video below. It shows the finishes probably not long before it really got congested -- not sure if the videographer shot something from a little later in the race.

Lots of runners aren't pleased, leave your comment here. Another blogger Mike wrote a nice post about the races we deserve. Also, Marie on the disaster she could sense was about to happen and Alison on what type of race the organizers were going for.

Original Post

I don't like writing these pieces but we have to call them as we see them. The organizers of the Goodlife Toronto Marathon last week and this week's Sporting Life 10K 2013 (chip results are here) are way in over their heads. You know it, they know it, and it's time to call them out.

Is Kenny being overreactive? Hmmm. Why don't we pull out this picture I took BEFORE we passed the finish line.

Yes, this is us waiting, coming to a stop before we hit the last timing mat.

I've never, ever had this happen to me before. I've run 85+ road races, 23 marathons and dozens of distance races, big and small, cities across North America. Today, I did not run today as a race but rather as a fun run. I met with two friends and we did a light run down Yonge Street. Started the day by running up 10K to the start line where we chilled out for a bit. By running more mid-pack, I was able to see some of the issues we had encountered

The few water stations were barely manned -- not even close to where you need to be to support a race of 27,000 runners. (It looks like 21,838 runners finished 2013, up from 17,549 in 2012.) I've run the Marine Corps Marathon where they support 30,000 runners and each water station needs plenty of man power. Even smaller scale races have better water support.

20,000 plus runners
It's time to call then out on that issue because it wasn't the first time. 10K water, who cares, right? Well, they were the same guys who ran last week's races that needed the water to be done right.

As many of you know, I was a pace bunny at last week's Toronto Marathon, run by the same organization. My pace group had major water issues -- on a much warmer day. We simply didn't get the water and Gatorade we needed. I didn't blame the volunteers then, and this time I don't. It's the organizers' responsibility.

If you read the reviews of last week's Marathon on My Next Race (scroll to the bottom to see 2013), you'll see why the race as of this morning was ranked 49%. The Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon, run by the Canada Running Series, scores in the 84%

Complaints for last week's race from participants included:
  • No bags at the race expo
  • Poorly managed water stations
  • Lack of marshals on the course
  • No instructions for the 5K start, they also ran out of medals
Sam and I were flabbergasted at the start corral of the marathon when a volunteer with a megaphone asked us "What is this pace bunny thing mean?"


Another blogger, Christina, wrote about last week's water woes including having volunteers filling cups directly from hoses. Here's some feedback from someone named Juliette about last week's race.
During the race, the water stations were poorly run…Some ran out of water, others were in line waiting for the volunteers to scoop water out of the buckets. Usually, the aid stations were lined up full of cups so you don’t have to wait in a long line in the heat! I will never run this nor recommend this to anyone. It’s very expensive and it was a joke of a marathon.

Today's race had the same problems
  • Too big a crowd that they could not manage, even with a wave start. They didn't keep the runners moving post race which caused everything to back up. Fleet Street traffic flow favoured car traffic over human. What was behind that?
  • Water stations were crap -- end of story -- and I knew it while I was making my way up Yonge Street earlier in the day
  • Lack of any communication to the racers throughout the corral. Only one speaker system near the front
  • Some runners reported they ran out of the shirt sizes on Saturday, handing out XL sizes.
This pains me to write -- I love the Toronto Marathon route. I support road racing in Toronto. I volunteered at the race a week ago because all of us are running ambassadors. Toronto Marathon is where I got my BQ and I've run it five years in a row - I have the heavy wares to prove it.

To the organizers -- get your act together. If you're getting the money in, then spend appropriately. The Canada Running Series had a bag check fiasco that I documented on this blog in 2011. I really think they got their act together and fixed it and the race is better for it.

Ball is in your court, Toronto Marathon folks.

See below for comments. Comments and reviews from My Next Race. Some Tweet reaction below.

And if you ever wanted to sum up the city's support for racing, look no further than this video. Sigh. -----

On a more positive note, usually at some races, I'll bump into people who say they've come across the blog. On my way up, I met Kevin, who introduced himself. He ran Mississauga and thanked me for the race strategy. You're very welcome Kevin and good to meet you. Then later, while we were lining up at the Green corral, I met Salim (I think that was the spelling of your name) who told me he was researching my blog as he preps for his fall racing season. I'm so glad to meet fellow runners on the road -- I love writing this blog and I'm happy to see some people find it useful as they embark on their own training journeys.

The race itself? Pretty fun. Did it in around 58:26, nice conversation, and fun to chill out and enjoy the course, which is beautiful. Bands were great too.



Me and two work buddies, Allison and Dawn.


queenie best said...

I'm speechless. That is absolutely unacceptable.

Robin said...

wow... speechles...glad I didn't participate though...just looking at that finish line makes me all claustrophobic.

Andrea said...

The finish line issues you encountered are beyond ridiculous. I'm happy that I was able to cross alright (the long walk afterwards - not as happy about). Also agree that the start line wasn't very well organized this year.Lots of standing around with no instruction. I really love Sporting Life and Goodlife and I hope they get their act together as they good be fabulous races.

Runnerbill said...

Agreed wholeheartedly. I think it is time to look at less races in Toronto and focus on quality. it pains me to say but it has to be sais.

Mike said...

Well somebody needed to say it. I haven't run one of the events by these organisers since the no-water at the finish debacle in at the Goodlife marathon in 2011. Canadians, if you want change you have to stop supporting bad events. Anyway, you've inspired me to expand on this: http://tmblr.co/ZE4hiskqWcfD

yumke said...

Thanks guys for the comments and well said, Mike. I've shared your post.

As I learned from the 2011 bag fiasco, if we are vocal, the race organizers will be forced to act. They have yet to even address last week's water situation.

Kate H said...

The thing was a disaster from start to finish. They had 2 flexi flags (which are about 3 square feet of surface area) of certain colours for SOME of the corrals at the start, and most people had no idea whether to go forwards or backwards. The corrals ended up very mixed.

Water/Gatorade was basically not available and I saw no medical support on site whatsoever.

I would have PB'd, but got held up in the bottleneck at the finish for nearly a full two minutes. A number of photographers were making things worse by standing in the center of the crowds, shooting merrily.

Clearly there was not enough staff, or the staff weren't experienced enough to quickly get the word down the chute that they needed to move the medals back.

Post-race food was absolutely laughable, there was no hydration of any kind. Companies who were giving away promotions of food and beverages were clearly asked to set up quite far away from the finish.

The lack of signage meant that at least a hundred people stood in a lineup leading towards a sign that read BAG PICK UP. Only to find out, eventually, they were actually waiting for free coffee being served adjacent.

After walking a tremendous distance to the free buses to Union, I decided the wait was ridiculous and grabbed a cab.

Huge waste of a fabulous course.

Kate H said...

Actually, in addition - on either Richmond or Front - they split the road to allow the opposite direction of traffic to flow through. But, this was marked with pylons only (no barricades) and I saw a number of runners get pushed (or dart) into oncoming traffic as the swell of people grew. So unsafe.

keltie@f*ck yeah, france! said...

I haven't run the sporting life 10k in a few years and I remember the finish line being congested then too--which means they just don't care to solve this problem. It's such a nice route, shame they can't get their act together.

Stella said...

I came across this post while browsing the #SL10K hashtag on Twitter.

This was my first race so I don't really have a point of comparison with other events but there were certain aspects that I thought weren't very organized very well, even as a newbie runner. (I didn't experience any congestion at the finish but that's just nuts...)

I agree that the corrals were horribly organized and delineated. I was in the last corral (orange) and by that time, all of the "colours" were so mixed up. The event volunteers were half-heartedly trying to "pick" orange runners as the purple (second to last) group took off.

After the race, several of the food station volunteers were literally chucking bananas and bagels at people, which was upsetting for me because about half of that food just ended up on the ground. What a waste.

Hope that all Toronto races can step it up because I hope to participate in more in the near future.

Marky Mark said...

Thank you for your leadership on this issue. I realize I have no idea whether I lined up at the front of the back of the green corral. It was impossible to tell and there were no volunteers. The corral was completely mixed anyway. And I noticed no emergency medical personnel on the course, which matters a lot to me. If they're going to run that big a race-and perhaps they shouldn't-clearly they need to enlist the support of a ton more people and invest more money. And that may be the issue here-this is a fundraiser race and lots of people ran for free. Their website talks about this race being good value and that may be but in the end they didn't deliver a well run--or a safe--race.

Marky Mark said...

CP24 now is saying they want 30,000 runners next year!

yumke said...

30,000? What the what?!

Laura said...

Yep, I would have had a personal best had we not stopped to walk the last little bit to the finish line. Very frustrating.

Lee said...

Complain directly: http://www.runtoronto.com/content/contact-us

Or, in a way that's likely better in this case, complain to Sporting Life, as they are likely more able to either get Jay Glassman to fix the organization, or fire him and get somebody else to do the race.

pyrad said...

Sounds like it has to be said. Let 'em have it Kenny!

The Unexpected Runner said...

I have to say that the water problem is not new. I ran the marathon last year and they ran out of cups!!!! It was awful. Great course though, I hope they fix it.

Anonymous said...

The Finish Line video shows the backup slowly forming. Within ten minutes, runners were standing more than ten deep BEFORE the finish line trying to cross. Worst finish line I've seen - reminded me of the marching band in the dead end alley at the end of the movie 'Animal House'.

Patrick said...

That is ridiculous. Seems like they have a lot of issues to correct there. Hopefully they learn from them.

Marky Mark said...

It's time to revisit the history of how we came to have three Yonge Street runs-that link is from the perspective of the race itself, and I know you commented on it extensively. In the end they said this:

"As runners, we understand that many of you will have to choose one date or the other. Sporting Life together with Camp Ooch, remains committed to providing a world class run."

That means they've tried to be a fundraising raise AND maintain world class race standards and, by their own assessment criteria, they've not met the second prong of their test.

In terms of the finish line issue I recall that when I first did the race when it was operated by CRS the finish line was fine but the chute was incredibly congested. I contacted CRS to say that that is really dangerous as people are going from maximum exertion to a dead stop, and I learned in cariac rehab that this is really a very bad thing to do. They responded to the email and they corrected the problem (with the exception of the one year at Scotia with the baggage retrieval issues and where the construction at City Hall led to some changes that they didn't figure out quickly enough).

I think that Sporting Life could be OK with sufficient volunteers and a much more rigorous corral system. In looking at he results it is clear I lined up way too far back, even though I thought I was in the right corral, and that others were much too far forward. Their reminder email said they would enforce the corral system. but they just didn't. So if they could do so properly and have more staggered wave starts, that might make it OK. It also would prolong the event and I don't know if the city will tolerate that when it is the third closure of Yonge in four weeks.

One reason I did it was that it was free as I was part of a fundraising team and by registering early I got the Sporting Life store cards-I used them and spent much more than what was on them. Seems to me it is a fundraising race with a marketing aspect for the store but that they've also set expectations that it is a real race unlike, say, the breast cancer events.

Marky Mark said...

By the way the other thing that hasn't come up but which was incredibly frustrating was that there were so many people that the cell phone towers couldn't handle it either at the start or the finish. I tried to text my buddies at the start saying "should we bail?" but they didn't get them and we similarly couldn't get through to find each other at the end. not the organizers' fault, but another foreseeable consequence of that many people and a health and safety concern if you can't call 911.

Alison said...

As a spectator, I was appalled to see all the runners line up to finish. As a 'mid pack' runner from last Sunday, I felt the effects of a poorly organized race when the first two water tables were out of water. Very frustrating and while I'd like to believe that things can change if we say enough, this has to be motivated by the organization running the event in the first place and understanding their priorities - is it a running or charitable event? Lots of races successfully pull off both, but sure about this one. Wrote a little more on my thoughts here: http://tmblr.co/Z_1IHskuf3Tu.

yumke said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I've passed along this blog post and your comments to the organizers. I urge you do to the same. And continue to share whatever you'd like to this thread. Kenny

marie said...

Great job on this, Kenny.

Marky Mark said...

The view at the finish line as I came in:


Sporting Life said...

My name is John Roe and I am the Director of Marketing and Advertising for Sporting Life. I have been looking after our 10k for nearly 9 years now. We too are not impressed with what happened yesterday and please all be aware that we are going to do what is neccessary to enure that our "little run" that could will live up to your expectations. We do listen to our customers and we do react when reaction is needed. We will take the steps nesseccary to make the run/race the quality event it should be.Our goal has always been to have an experience for aspiring and competeing runners while raising a lot of money for Camp. Both can co- exist

Thank you and keep the posts coming. we are watching and we are listening.

biomechrunner said...

Dear John Roe, I sincerely hope you, Mr. Glassman, and the rest of the organizers and crew from the races of the last two weekends will continue to watch these posts, other social media outlets (twitter, facebook) and reviews on www.mynextrace.ca. I think there are a lot of disappointed and frustrated runners out there after the past two weekends' events. We are only voicing our concerns because we truly want all Toronto races to succeed and fulfill their potential of being world-class events.

Curtis said...

Like yourself I've run in a bunch of these, from 5ks and 10ks to marathons. When you said that this was the same group that organizes the Goodlife, I had to laugh - I've had issues with that race going way back and won't participate anymore. A real shame as this was many people's first experience with these races and will leave a real bad taste. Hopefully they realize that this is the exception rather than the rule and most races are fantastically well run.

Unknown said...

I think there were so many problems with this race that nobody is mentioning the TTC issue mixed with the temperature drop. If the TTC closure is normal with this race then please mention it up front. I did not opt for the shuttle bus because they make me nauseous but it turned out that the TTC had a planned May 12th stoppage so a TTC bus was inevitable anyway. To make matters worse, we needed to catch the TTC bus (replacing the Subway) by 6:40 am as they closed down at 7 am for the race. This meant thousands of people arrived at the Start line over 80 minutes early on a freezing +3 degree morning. Fix this: 1) Work with the TTC subway to ensure subway opening for a 30,000 person event. 2) State clearly on your website that the TTC typically will not cooperate with the race and strongly suggest buying shuttle tickets rather than the reverse and 3) Consider renting heating lamps to help prevent injury for your racers. We had 4 days of advanced notice of the impending cold. I only found out about the TTC issue 9 hours before the race start.

yumke said...

Michelle, TTC is an interesting case. They never start subways on Sundays until 9 a.m. No one knows why this old-school Toronto tradition has actually survived to this day. I ran up to the start up Yonge Street and passed a lot of runners waiting -- maybe some in vain.

Curtis, you're right -- this should be an intro to the joys of road racing, not a showcase of what a bad race looks like.

Thanks everyone for your comments -- keep it coming.

Alex Robertson said...

Thank you for your support and participation in the 2013 Sporting Life 10k supporting Camp Oochigeas. This year’s race hosted an incredible 27,000 registered runners, and raised over 2 million dollars to support camp. Our partners at Sporting Life have been incredible to us, just as our donors, volunteers, fundraisers and runners. Your loyalty and commitment to camp is inspiring. And we appreciate your feedback. We know that Camp Ooch’s success relies on the support of you – our community – and your input counts. We recognize that, if we are to continue to grow this event there are things that will need improve so that it’s not only one of the biggest runs in the country, but one of the greatest too.
Thanks again.
Executive Director, Camp Oochigeas

Marky Mark said...

I'm impressed with the responses from the charity and from the race sponsor. I'm not happy with what the race director is reported to have said. I'm just one of many runners, but I just checked and I've participated in well over 50 chip timed events as well as a few non-timed events that don't appear in my Ontario results at www.roadraceresults.com--and so I think I have a sense of what to expect.

It seems to me the problem started with an insufficient number/lack of enforcement of corrals as well as an insufficient number of staggered starts to spread out the field. Once that occurred there were simply too many people on the course and at the finish line from the middle of the pack on. The fact that traffic continued past the finish line contributed to the problem as well.

The lesson learned is that if there is to be a race this size or bigger then there needs to be a larger number of volunteers or paid officials who are trained to have it start properly (meaning ensuring people go in the right corrals) and to keep people moving past the finish mat without having tons of people being held before they can cross the street. More waves clearly would help as well.

This fix would mean more people would have to wait a longer amount of time at the start line, perhaps in not great weather, but we can't have everything. The length of time of the road closures at the start of the course also would end up being extended.

What I'm not clear on (because it isn't public) is how much it would cost to make this happen and how much to reasonably expect that the organization that runs the event should spend to make things up to standard, as that must be a function of how they're compensated.

So, yes, it is possible that some inexperienced runners stopped right at the mat but they could have been kept moving with proper pre-race and on the site instruction and I think in any event that the finish line problem was inevitable once the start was (IMO) bungled.

Given: 1. the worthwhile charity being supported and the extent of the dollars that go to them directly, 2. the nice shirt and early sign up gift card provided by the sponsor and 3. the great course, I'm prepared to support it again next year. But I think we should first hear something more appropriate from this year's organizers than blame being assigned to us. A lot in the running community are viewing this race as a part 2 to the problems the prior week at GoodLife and so they really need to get in front of the issue for their own sake if nothing else--Ooch and Sporting Life have nothing to do with the prior week's race though.

Chris said...

Hi Mark, Cell phone reception was jammed just like last year. There was Wi-Fi coverage from all those vans. I think they were a sponsor. I saw a number of signs for it, so that's how I found out about it. Looks like they knew it might be an issue to tried to prepare in advance. That's encouraging. More advanced notice and signage would have helped.

Marky Mark said...

Thanks Chris. Indeed you are correct but I wasn't aware of that service being provided. Too bad, as it was a great idea.

Mandy said...

What I'm most frustrated about from the Canadian Running interview with Glassman: “It wasn’t that they were being stopped or held somewhere because of us, it was because they were stopping themselves.” So preventing runners from crossing Fleet Street using rope so that car traffic could get by wasn't stopping or holding? Just so speechless.

It's true what other commenters have said about the start line. I was in the blue corral and it was impossible to even get through the openings in the barricades at the front and back of the corral - runners were bottlenecked just to get inside. I had to literally climb over the barricade to get in before the start (comparatively more space toward the middle of the corral than at the front or back). Not a volunteer in sight at the entrance to the corrals. I ran Harry's Spring Run Off in High Park and a CRS race of even that size had more supervision/marshalling at the corrals than this run of over 20,000 people did. My bib was checked before I entered! Definitely prefer CRS runs. Won't be participating in anything Glassman is involved with anymore.

Camp Ooch deserves better.

Anonymous said...

The baggage check was a joke. I spent 25 mins helping to unload a truck to finally get my bag. They had no system, the poor volunteers were overwhelmed by the volume of bags. I expect more for the price of entry.

Anonymous said...

Also not impressed with their feedback: this is an email exchange I had with the info@sl10k.ca email address. And yes, I was aware of the shuttle buses I didn't sign up when I registered because getting to them would be inconvenient and because I didn't have any issues getting to the start last year.

Hi there,

I signed up for this race as soon as I got the email, I was looking forward to it.
I made all the preparations, got up early and rode my bike to Queen/Yonge in order to make my way to the starting line on time. I got to Queen/Yonge at 7:00am, thinking that would give me plenty of time to get to Eglington. Was I wrong!
Why were there no shuttle buses to take people to the start? Every TTC bus was filled to the max, some didn't even stop at the stops. All the taxis were booked. At 7:45am, I realized I was not going to run this race.
Perhaps better planning in getting people to the start line is required.
Why not move the start time so people can access the TTC?
I don't think I'll sign up for next year.


I’m sorry for the experience that you had.

Unfortunately you did not read the website. Shuttle busses were offered to the start line and was
an option to purchase a ticket when you registered online.

They left from the finish line at Ontario place. Please ensure that your prepare by reading all of the instructions that are on the website, and were emailed to you with your bib number and when you register.

We run this race early to try and minimalize the effect on the traffic and the residence of Toronto. Especially those who attend church. Perhaps
a good idea would be to approach the TTC about opening earlier on days with events like this. We have requested this for years, but perhaps some
pressure from our runners might help.

Thanks for your support in this race.


Wow, thanks for this condescending reply.

Judging by all the negative reports I read about other people's experiences with this race, I'll make sure to avoid it altogether next year.



My reply was not condescending. It was factual. You did not read the website to find out that there were shuttles. End of story. I’m sorry you did not like my
response but it was straight up honest.

I’m sorry that you will not be joining us next year.

Happy trails,

Jessica said...

This is almost exactly what he wrote last year. Same comments, zero change. I wonder if he feels he deserves 4 bananas again. This is a race I will never participate in again.

This is from last year's post-race blog:

May 15, 2012 at 11:42 am

(This message is from the race organizer)

Thank you everyone for your comments here and I appreciate all that you have to say about the Sporting Life 10K. The common theme seems to be around the “organization” and quite frankly we never in our wildest dreams would
have thought we would have such an increase both fundraising and registration, but we hear you loud and clear and will make it our top priority going forward into next year.

A lot of these issues can be easily fixed and because we have some pretty major partners coming on board, we fully expect you all to see a mass improvement with how this run will be affected logistically and price/value.

Keep the comments coming as we really do pay attention to them and once again thank you for your participation in our run and the 2 million you have raised for Camp Oochigeas, at the end of the day you have all affected a lot of
children’s lives.

We also have a big announcement to make for next year, stay tuned…

I am going rate our performance in 4 bananas…

Yes, I would recommend this race to a friend.

Yes, I would consider attending this race/event next year.

Anonymous said...

I was at the "post-finish" (just) side of the finish line from the time of the first runners coming in, up to the time of the walkers coming in.

The race "marshals", unfortunately were not even moving finishers along when they had the opportunity (both numbers and space-wise) to do so. Finishers were standing around chatting with each other (and the "marshals"), while waiting for friends and family members to cross the finish!

Obviously, it eventually reached a point where the sheer mass of runners made the crush of people an "immovable force", but better runner control and movement from the time the first finishers crossed the line, probably would have lessened the impact of the runners who were arriving all at the same time, and then also stopping and waiting for friends and family behind them.

Since I was just beyond the "post" side of the finish line, I was also able to observe running "groups" stop right at the post finish area just feet from the finish, to take group photos with the overhead finish banner and race clock in their shot. Then many would take individual shots of each other while the rest of their group waited for their turn at an "individual" photo op.
I agree that this may be the mark of inexperienced runners, but I did not ever see a race official move any group along, and THAT is just poor training and poor organization.

Inexperienced, "record-everything- with-a-photo-type" runners may not know/have an excuse, but the run staff should know their "job".

I also saw, directly in front of me (and race marshals), two spectators enter into the secure/barricaded race course, just feet from the "post" side of the finish line, to accompany "their" finishing runner as they walked through the post finish area. One went under the fence, and one went over the fence (on separate occasions) and neither person was stopped by the race staff. Again, maybe the mark of an "inexperienced" runner's supporter, but the race staff training was also not up to par here either.

I personally have been attending races as supporter to my husband for about 30 years, and for my daughter for probably about 5 years, at many different races, in many different locations, and I have never witnessed chaos at the finish area like this.

Admittedly, the number of runners, and the inexperience of the runners (both due to the wonderful cause, and runner-friendly race route itself), impacted the claustrophobic area at the finish, but these numbers were known in advance (and exulted in).

Not acknowledging organizational errors *@Jay Glassman* (and actually "blaming the RUNNERS), is immature, shortsighted, and ineffective in making this excellent race (for an amazing cause), right on our beautiful waterfront, the kind of experience it should be for runners and spectators alike!!

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