Saturday, June 15, 2013

Race Review: Jim Klett 10k

It was a beautiful day in Merriman Valley, a great day to run 10k, and that is what the Turtles did.

Here we are, revved up!

Look, a bale of Turtles!  Fear them!

Today was the Jim Klett 10k, sponsored by Summit Athletic Running Club.  This race is part road, part trail, and it winds through really gorgeous country.  I have lots of opinions on this race, so let's just get to it, shall we?

The Good:  This was a very small race--less than 200 participants.  This means that I was able to take 3rd place in my age group!  I've got a nice plaque on my dresser now.  I think I'm going to mount it in my classroom and make the students bow to it when they enter.

 I've already mentioned the scenery and the weather.  Both were outstanding.  The course has a few hills on the trails, and I'm a hill person, so I was happy there.

This is NOT me.  This is a hillbilly; it's not the same thing.  
The Bad:  The race was small because, in my opinion, SARC made a lot of errors.
1.  They moved the start time from 9:00 (which is kind of late anyway) to 8:45, and they did it a mere few days before the race.

2.  They eliminated the 5k portion of the race, a REALLY bad move.  People LOVE 5k's.  I don't understand why they got rid of it because I would think it would be the money part of the race.

Some errors didn't directly limit registration, but they were obvious nonetheless:

3.  Runners had to park and walk through a wet field to get to the starting line.  My shoes and socks were wet before I started the race.

4.  Not only did we have to walk through that wet field to get there, packet pick up was only that morning, so we were now supposed to WALK BACK through that wet field to stow our packet.  Uh, no.  The Turtles put all of their bags together and left them (Great idea, Sheila!) in the hopes that nobody would swipe anything.

5.  The t-shirts were COTTON!! UGH!  If I'm running 10k, I want a TECH SHIRT!!!  If anyone HAD stolen my cotton tee, I honestly wouldn't have cared.

The Ugly:  Bear with me here because I'm a little angry.  I guess right now you could call me a Snapping Turtle.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm pissed off about a race.
There were more than twenty Turtles at that race, which means that we made up about fifteen percent of the participants, something SARC knew from registration data.  We are named the Turtles for a reason: we believe that slow and steady wins the race.  Some of the racers had never run an official 10k, and they were really looking forward to this race.  In a weird, clueless move, SARC rerouted the race to go over railroad tracks.  They moved the race time to 8:45 at the last minute because they actually checked a train schedule, but in doing so, they only thought about their faster runners.  As a result, about half of the Turtles got caught waiting on a train.  That is completely unfair.  These runners paid just as much as anyone, and SARC never thought about their needs.  I don't think it's too much to ask to allow participants the opportunity to run from beginning to end.

Furthermore, SARC served a breakfast starting forty-five minutes after the beginning of the race, so when the Turtles showed up en masse to eat, we got the leftovers.  I'm not saying everyone should have waited; I am saying that someone should have realized that a huge group of runners (some of whom had to wait for the train) would be coming much later, and that someone should have started a second wave of food prep.  It's not rocket science, people.  Hold back some eggs and stuff, and make those later.

I'd like to end this post on a good note, so I will.  I LOVED watching the Turtles come in today, and my favorite part was when we all ran in together with our Tail at the end.  Sheila taught us that being a Turtle is more than just running; we cheer on all runners, and we cheer them on until the finish line.  I'm so proud today to belong to our running club, The Ohio Runners Network, of which the Towpath Turtles are a subgroup.  Thank you for a great time today, runners!  I love you, Man!