Monday, February 25, 2013

Cowtown Half Marathon: Additional thoughts

As I said previously, the post race logistics left quite a bit to be desired. Hubs and I were newbies to this race, so we didn't really know what to expect at the finish. He had left his cell phone in the hotel room, so he was sans communication device. Well, once the runner's finished, they proceed down a VERY long finish chute to the south entrance of the exhibit hall were they were "herded" much like cattle, through the post race food lines. The runner's families were all bunched up in the hall outside the food room essentially creating a traffic jam in the hall. It certainly made egress/digress difficult especially if one were pushing a stroller or wheelchair. I'm quite certain it violated fire code in case of some unforeseen emergency! This was the first contact we were allowed to have with the runners post-race. The spectators outdoors were kept a great distance from the finishers chute. I get the whole idea in theory, and I suppose it flowed ok for most runners for the most part. My issue was I the fact that I wasn't familiar w/ the finish "procedure" I didn't know where to wait for my husband and friends and I couldn't get anyone, volunteers or runners to tell me where to go wait. I was so far away from him that I couldn't see that he didn't enter the building like the herd other runners, but found another way out of the finish chute and made a bee-line for the porta-let. Had I known that, I wouldn't have gotten flustered when I couldn't immediately find him! He was limping post race, so I thought he might have gone to medical. They did let me in to the medical room to check for him. While I was in there, I over heard a husband telling the medical personnel that his wife was collapsed outside and needed attention. This was a little disconcerting for me and reminded me of the 2011 RnR Las Vegas fiasco. Where were the medical volunteers outside? Or weren't the volunteers cautioned to watch for distressed runners and direct them/get the medical help ASAP?!

After all my other friends were funneled through the food room (more on that in a minute) and still no husband, I started to get very concerned. No one had seen him. 30 minutes had passed. I was getting more than a little anxious. After probably 30 or 40 minutes and still no husband, I went to the information desk for help. The volunteer there was ill equipped to handle my question so she directed me into the exhibition hall to the "solutions" kiosk. There, I approached a police officer whose response was, "well call him on his cell phone" (my thoughts were: bright idea lady! Why didn't I think of that sooner?! And, if he had a d*@# cell phone on him, do you really think I would be asking you for help?!) and "why don't you go outside and look for him" Now, I'm not a complete dolt. I realize that I could have gone outside and looked for him, but bear in mind there were approximately 27,000 runners and their families. It would have been like finding a needle in a haystack. And what if he came inside while I was outside. Against my better judgement, I went outside but of course I didn't see him. I was headed back inside to locate the police officer again, as I was determined to get some help when I happened to see my husband across the large exhibit hall. He had in fact come in while I was outside looking for him. ARGH!! But, I was so relieved to see him!!  We got his finisher shirt and headed straight for the shuttle back to the hotel before I had a full-blown anxiety attack.

This whole process took an hour, which I believe was completely UNACCEPTABLE!!  I've been told that "perhaps you expect too much of race organizers and volunteers" We pay a great deal of our hard earned money for race entry fees. I expect things to be well organized and safe. And I expect willingness to help find a solution to a problem instead of smart assed remarks!!  If this is "expecting too much" then I guess I do!  My friends had a good experience and for that I'm happy but I saw another side of things and for that reason, hubs and I won't be running the Cowtown again anytime in the near future.

Have you ever had a bad race experience??

No comments:

Post a Comment