Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vegas - The Tale of Two Races

Have you checked out my Everstride sweepstakes here (Terms and Conditions here)?  You don't want to miss out on this one, I promise!

When we last left my Vegas Recap, I was a bit upset about the lack of a PR but working to see the positive and move on.  Besides momentarily dwelling on the fact that I did not PR, I told everyone about how cool this race was!  How I loved running on the Strip and how amazing that feeling was; how it did not feel too crowded; how I loved the camaraderie; how I got over the starting line in minutes; and how the volunteers at the aid station were great!
Oh hi Elvis
I chose not to share with you that after the race I felt like crap.  That my stomach was a mess and I woke up in the middle of the night crying with stomach cramps.  I also did not mention that we did not want to wait for the tram back to the hotel when it was not their instantly and seemed to be shut down so we just walked a cold mile back to the hotel - Aaron with his massively painful ankle and me hobbling like I had just done a full instead of a half marathon.  I did not share these things, because honestly, I did not really give it a second thought.  At the time, it kind of sucked but I often have stomach aches after I run and there is always crazy logistics about getting back to the car/house whatever post race (after Marine Corps it took us 3 hours to get 15 mins to our cousin's home and after LBI 18-miler it took us 4 hours to get 1.5 hours due to how sick I felt).

So the next day when people asked me about the race, I only had good things to say.  I was surprised when  I received this Tweet.

Following this I spent the day walking around with these two awesome bloggers who PR'd the shit out of Vegas.  And we began to talk about the race and how great it was.  I was again surprised when they mentioned people were all over the RNR Website blasting Vegas.   We were all in shock and kind of confused.
Yes I wore this outfit in public. I will wear anything the day after a race when I am in need of compression.  Good thing Jeff and Tamara were awesome about it

It was not until I read Jill's post that I really began to understand that there had been two races the night of Vegas - the race for those in the first few corrals and then the race for those in the later corrals.    While my race was exciting, well-supportive, not too crowded, fun, and ending with an awesome medal, others did not experience this.  Instead, they got absolutely the opposite - no aid stations, overcrowding, sickness, no medals, and hours of waiting to get home.

As I understand it, apparently,  many of the aid stations ran out of water and were closed down by the time runners got there.  And then when runners got to the finish line people were told there were no more half marathon medals and were given marathon medals, at best.  The race was crazy crowded.  The marathoners hurt bad because of this.  They converged with the half marathoners at their Mile 13 marker and were slowed to a halt and forced to weave like crazy around crowds of people.  At the end of the race, people were crazy sick - tons of GI issues, people lying on the floor/stretchers, and not enough medics.  This has been compared to a war zone.
Medic tent, been there, not fun.  But at least at this race from this picture, people knew how to take care of you = hose you down and give you cookies, take notes Rock n' Roll!

Overall, now that the dust has settled.  People are mad!  They cannot believe that this has happened in what should a well-oiled machine.  These issues should not have occurred and people should not have had such a terrible experience.    People have flooded RNR Facebook page and demanding some answers.  Tonight, as I was thinking about this post, we got an email asking for feedback and letting us know in return we will get $10 off a RNR race, Columbia Muddy Buddy, or TriRock valid until March 2012 (great....).  At first I thought this meant that it had to be raced by March 2012.  But a much wiser girl (thanks Meghann) informed me that you just have to register by then, which is not perfect, but it is something and it is appreciated that they are taking the complaints and issues into account and I love coupons especially on races!!

I have been going back and forth a lot about my opinion on the race.  Originally, I could not believe why people were so upset.  I did not get it.  I did not know.  From the front corrals, I just did not see or understand what people dealt with.  I debated with people about how much aid you should expect from a race and how much the race should help you with transportation etc. and how much you should just have to figure out on your own.

Ultimately, Rock n' Roll major fail on this one.  There were some core basics that a runner should expect from a race - Aid Stations, medics, a FREAKIN medal.  These are no brainers and it is totally not ok what happened.  If you are going to put on a race, you better have the supplies necessary and you MUST have the medical assistance available.  It is NOT ok to not be prepared especially at the cost to run these races.  At the same time, some of these things in races happen, it sucks, it is not ideal, but you know what you going to do...It was not ideal to have to walk back to the hotel but we did it.  It sucked hard core when I was so sick after Marine Corps and stuck on one of those shuttle buses, but that is kind of life.  Nothing is going to be perfect when you put 44,000 people on one street and hope to easily get people back to where they need to be...

In the end, I am so sorry for all of you who had a less than stellar race.  This totally sucked! Thankfully, most races are not like this.  Remember though that you are runners, you are strong and you will be back and running an even stronger race next time.

Ok, what are your thoughts?  What should we expect from races?  Is RNR Vegas a major fail?

UPDATE:  Readers have informed me that everyone always gets that $10 for completing the survey, so not so sure the coupon really does that much after all...

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