From the Back of the Pack
I might always be in the back of the running pack, but I'm addicted to it! When I miss more than a day it affects my energy, attitude, and the rest of life in general! I have had a lot of "character" building runs in the deep snow, extreme nose hair freezing cold, ankle high rain, and gale force winds over the past twenty five years and find some of those days to be the most peaceful rewarding outings of all! I'm one of those runners who is slow and steady, but goes forever and ever without ever getting tired.
October 27, 2007: Mixed up Monster Dash
In my 25+ years of running and race directing or volunteering, I can honestly say this was the absolutely most disorganized, disappointing event I have EVER participated in. The DAY OF the race the course was even changed significantly!!!
There were many wonderful volunteers from the local hospital, however, the main contact and most of the volunteers were not athletic nor runners so they needed the guidance and communication from the race director at Team Ortho. One of the runners told me a lot of the volunteers backed out last minute because a few teams made it to state, there were so many volunteers I could not tell the difference!
The course reminded me of the Well's Fargo half...formerly the Minnetonka half I think??? It's been awhile...we ran through the neighborhoods, tons of turns, some hills, the houses were probably worth about $500,000 less or so though. The route duplicated itself for maybe 5 miles or so, and we ran the last few miles uphill into the wind! It was a 50' or so sunny day...felt a lot warmer though so the breeze was welcomed.
We ran into Team Ortho at the Grandma's marathon just like everyone else did and what they presented for the Monster Dash sounded like a blast to us! They appeared to be very competent race directors with a neato batch of Halloween runs for us to choose from...so we signed up and got our free socks,....unfortunately it was like a situation with a bad politician...all talk and no walk. We should have been clued in when we tried to register right away to be one of the first and get the jacket and it was not active for quite awhile!
The good parts of the event were:
* It was chipped
* They had Powerade, not Ultima
* Awesome Jackets
* We got a wicking shirt because of the mess up with the hats
* A ton of water stops
* Great idea and concept with the 5k timed, 1/2, 5k untimed and dog run.
* The decorations on some houses were nice.
* The timing company was out of Madison and very competent, I asked him why it was in Wausau rather than Madison and he hoped it would be in Madison next year...
* There was a nice man on a bike supporting one of the runners who also took other people's things as they got too hot. He was not affiliated with the race.
* 5k seemed to go well.
* Plenty of local friendly volunteers.
The bad parts of the event were:
* Mile markings were incorrect, they were short for the first four miles...or at least they seemed to be short to many of us and the biker who had the odometer.
* We were all there by 8:30am or earlier because registration started at 8:00am, and the chips and numbers were not ready until after 9:00, the race started at 9:30. We were very cold because it was like 35' in the open parking lot with the wind!
* The 5k numbers were ready before ours were, and they started at 10:00
* The volunteers were plentiful, but given no guidance and could not answer questions....examples ...at water stops, some did not know what to do, but some did....most of those at corners just sat in a chair reading and did not cheer us on or tell us to turn...water stop volunteers often did not know what mile they were at either.
* Mile markings were missing on middle miles
* No signs stating race in progress and with all the turns, there were MANY close car-runner calls.
* Some intersections cars did not have to stop, we did and they did not slow down.
* Rest stops had water and candy but , no vaseline, or some of the other things that would help out in a half that are not needed in a 5k.
* There were supposed to be hats, they forgot them or something, we never got a straight answer but were told they would mail them. I kinda counted on mine for after the race when I was sweaty!
* The costumes were supposed to be judged between 8:30 and 9:30...we worked hard on ours and thought it was one of the neatest ones we saw! Unfortunately, we were in line for the chips and numbers from 8:30 until 9:10 or later and then Staci had to warm up and I had to get ready too, so we were not seen much at all and not together!
* No one from the half marathon won any costume prizes which pretty much confirmed what we thought...we were not seen and ran in felt, WHICH DOES NOT BREATHE, for 13.1 miles for nothing!
* I was so hot from my costume and just thrown off by the disorganization that I messed around on the course, visiting with people at water stops and other runners, I took a leisurely walk through the woods at one of the parks too...had a record slow time for me by quite a bit.
* There were people behind me....and when I finished, they had things mostly taken down, were done with awards, and only had a few bars left to eat!
* Staci won 2nd place for women...and all she got was a $20 gift certificate to an online place, but that place is super neat... I'll put the site up here.http://revelsports.com/ check it out!
* There were no age group winners, just overall top three men and women.
* There were only chips and numbers...the numbers looked super cool, but there were only pin holes on the bottom of the number, not the top!
* No door prizes for those of us slowpokes!
* No information on where to find results. We are still searching!
* We heard there were only 140 registered, we thought maybe 100 ran which is really sad and had it been in a different town such as Madison they would have filled it.
Things we were hoping for since Team Ortho made such a HUGE deal out of this event having it in three cities simultaneously, having a booth at Grandma's, heck they gave us socks there...and more...these are a few things we thought we'd get or see...and were very disappointed that they were not there:
1. Race Packets/bags
2. Cheering from neighborhoods, the small town involved.
3. Cheering from all waterstops and turn people
4. An inside location to stay warm or a heated tent.
5. Door prizes
6. Medals or something for finishing
7. Age group awards
8. Music on the course since the radio stations were the water stops.
9. Better/more food at the finish line.
10. 1st aide!!
11. Better awards for winners especially since there were only six awards given for the half.
**This event had SO MUCH potential for creativity, fun, and more! It was such a HUGE disappointment to both of us and most of the other runners we talked to that at least Staci and I will not be participating in anything else that Team Ortho puts on.
We are wondering what their purpose was? The jackets and shirts? Those were totally awesome..probably the neatest race stuff I've ever had...but was it worth the rest of the crap...not really.
Our advice to you...there are plenty of events out there to do, skip those by Team Ortho and find another one!
October 24, 2007: Secret Race Pics
Pictures from the secret race.
October 24, 2007: FUND RAISER FUN RUN FOR GENE CURNOW
THE PACKER/VIKING GAME WILL BE ON TV DURING THIS TIME IN THE CHALET FOR THOSE OF YOU PACKER FANS WHO WOULD OTHERWISE NOT SHOW UP.
I am wondering if you would be willing to promote this last minute event? Gene Curnow has incurred a TON of medical bills from a tick bite he received while maintaining a trail used for running. He has no health insurance...
He and his wife have been the race directors of the Voyager 1/2 and full marathons for many, many years. He has put on the NCTM trail series races in Duluth for numerous years, and has volunteered at the Wednesday night at the races for kids for years.
He is an extremely active runner and volunteer.
Smush da Ticks trail fun run!!
Sunday November 11 2pm
snowflake Nordic Center
5k run, pole hike or walk
Grandma’s clock will be there so you can see your time
Donate the amount of your choice!
ALL proceeds go to Gene Curnow to help off set his gigantic medical bills caused by one a dem dang ticks!
Bring a snack to share if you like!
For more information email email@example.com, or just comment here!
October 21, 2007: Help me I'm lost...it's Hartley again!
Yes...I'm so proud, I was able to get lost yet again on this race for the third year! The first time it happened I had started with the rest of the people and was so incredibly far behind that I got lost and someone had taken some ribbons down, probably a local hiker who didn't like pink or something...I had to stand there at the junction of "what the heck way do I turn now", and wait like 15 minutes or more for the sweeper to find me and guide me home!
The next time I ran it, I somehow got lost and ended up doing the same loop over and over and over ...I think I did at least 9 miles that day because I couldn't figure out how to get off of the course...I later found out something about the blue ribbons! I also lost my car key one of those years, but some sweet little child picked it up and gave it to Gene.
This year I was determined to stay on the course...I was following all the pink ribbons, even the ones that really looked like I shouldn't follow...I was running quickly through the massive puddles, slippery mud, doing well navigating the numerous stumps, rocks and whatever else those hard things were under my feet...I only twisted my ankle twice which I thought was pretty good considering the circumstances...it seemed much easier to see the ground this year, normally the leaves cover up the bumps making it even more of a technical run...rumor has it Jarrow "swept" the course off???
Well, as I was enjoying the peaceful run at a faster pace than I normally run at, I suddenly notice that everything looked familiar, as in ...I think I ran through that almost knee deep water before, like 1/2 an hour before...and I think I already ran up that hill, and that hill, and over that ...then it dawned on me that my tradition of being lost during the Hartley race was continuing despite my galiant efforts to remain on the appropriate course...
In my lost state, I decided to turn back and retrace my steps to the start line...when I was getting closer to the beginning again, I ran into Jarrow, Erik,and Denise who informed me that they had to "switch" the ribbons and because I had started early, I missed the change...oh well...I was really bummed because I was looking so forward to finally conquering this course that has "tricked" me year after year...Oh well, next year...I will stay on course and finish next year!
I frequently run many of those same trails at Hartley, but I create my own path...they all look the same to me, so when someone else marks it, I'm at the mercy of the ribbons!
I'm wondering why no one told me I had a mud chunk under my left eye! It was really stuck too...even a shower didn't get it off!
October 21, 2007: CHICAGO MARATHON
I just feel the need to voice my opinion regarding the Chicago Marathon incident this year...and since I have been granted this wonderful blog page to do that on, I think I will!
In my opinion, someone majorly f*&*^d up! After participating in, and being a race director for many events and involved in tons more huge events on some type of committee for twenty years or so, I think I can say...someone really dropped the ball in Chicago!
Any competent race director should constantly be watching the weather, even those who put on small races do that. The temperatures that day were not a suprise, they knew they were going to be warmer than normal for that time of year for a day or so. In a race that prominent, in a city that large, with so many resources, I find ABSOLUTELY no reason whatsoever that they should have run out of water or had trouble with medical services!
I do not know the race director of that marathon as I do other marathons, but unless the person has never run a marathon, there is no excuse for the lack of preparation.
As soon as the director found out what the temperatures were going to be, he should have tripled the water, ice, and sponges if there were any to accommodate the runners and make it a safe situation. Medical should have been increased too and there should have been increased time limits for finishing.
In my opinion, someone was NOT thinking clearly or preparing for this! If you are a race director, it is YOUR responsibility to serve the runners in the safest, best way possible, we trust you to do that. Watch the weather, adjust...or cancel ahead of time if you need to.
In nordic skiing, race directors are extremely conscientious about such things.
Scott Keenan, of Grandma's Marathon puts on, in my opinion, one of the absolutely best organized events in the country. He would NEVER have the problem Chicago had...he plans, he anticipates, he makes sure each and every runner has the best experience they can have! Grandma's marathon is much, much smaller and in a town with tons less resources...and they are always able to accommodate people on those unexpected steamy days...Chicago had absolutely NO EXCUSE for dropping the ball.
I am hoping this will be looked into extensively and a QUALIFIED person will be taking over the race. I'm also hoping this will open the eyes of other possibly unqualified race directors and make sure that all races are safe and all situations planned for accordingly so something like this will not happen again!