A note to race organizers: A thank you and an apology.

Race Reviews

Last night I was lucky enough to attend the Run Washington ‘Best of’ Party in Washington, D.C. There I spent some time chatting with someone who works for Rock ‘n’ Roll races. During our conversation I realized how easy it is to be critical of a race and how much time, energy and thought goes into each mega-production. I wanted to highlight some wonderful things about some races I’ve run. I always do my best to talk about outstanding things in races, but there is so much more I should be raving about. It takes so much work just to get a race completed safely – here are some of the things you do that I am thankful for – and should have thanked you for earlier:

Rock ‘n’ Roll USA full marathon:

Thank you for a fantastic area immediately after I crossed the finish line. As I stumbled through to get to the public area there were so many well staffed tables with wonderful volunteers handing me everything I needed. My brain was broken in half and somehow I ended with chocolate milk, Gatorade, two waters, pretzels and a medal around my neck.

Thank you for clear directions throughout the entire race. I was never confused about a turning point. Not even once.

Thank you for doing whatever you did to have so many spectators along the way for the first half of the race. It was so exciting.

Thank you for picking the pace group leaders you picked. They were absolutely phenomenal.

KeyBank Vermont City Marathon:

Thank you for having so many tips and information sheets for spectators. Thank you for designing the race to be spectator friendly and scenic at the same time.

Thank you for having enthusiastic volunteers and more than enough food, water and GU at every stop you said you’d have it all at.

Thank you for the clear directions and for the shady, festive finish line area.

Thank you for the carefully orchestrated relay switch off points (they avoided clogging up the main marathon route when the switch was taking place)

Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon

Thanks for powering through the shutdown and making sure we all had a chance to run the race.

Thank you for the beautiful course and the well-stocked water stops.

Thank you for the well-thought-out finish area. It was so easy for spectators to find us and once we finished, easy to find a beer and a shady (or sunny) place to sit.

Nike Women’s Half Marathon

Thank you for doing so much to make the runners feel special. The metro advertising campaign really pumped me up. Seeing my name on the giant screen mid-race was so exciting.

Thank you for the well-stocked fuel and water stations and for the fantastic on-course entertainment.

Thank you for making the race accessible to first timers who might have been nervous to sign up for a less inclusive and motivational race.

Thank you for making this year better than last year and for constantly responding to feedback on your Facebook.

George Washington Parkway 10 Miler

Thank you for organizing so many busses from so many places so that people can run this beautiful race.

Thank you for the fantastic finishers area.

Thank you for the wonderful, wonderful volunteers all the way from packet pick up to the gear retrieval tent.

Thank you for making bag check so easy. Every year it’s seamless.

Thank you for making the start area exciting and for the positive energy.

George Washington Birthday Classic 10K

Thank you for the inside area – it was chilly!

Thank you for easy access to parking and clear instructions on how to get to the start.

Thank you for the timely start and for keeping the lines moving everywhere from corral entry to the bathrooms.

First Down 5K

Thank you for putting on a race in the cold. It provided some much-needed training energy in that long polar vortex.

Thank you for doing a little extra to make it even more fun.

Thank you for free pictures.

Thank you for wonderful friendly volunteers.

Thank you for always having reliable races and reliable timing.

Revenge of the Penguins 10 and 20 miler

Thank you for putting on a race with the goal of allowing everyone to finish.

Thank you for choosing to put this race at a time that’s ideal for full and half marathon training in the fall.

Thank you for well-stocked water stops and a well-stocked finish area.

Thank you for a dirt course that was easy on the knees.

Annapolis 10 Miler

Thank you for all of the emails – I know it’s hard to be so on top of communication but it made a world of difference when I headed into Annapolis for the first time last year.

Thank you for the scenic course.

Thank you for an exciting expo and finishing area.

Thank you for the finisher’s watch – I love it!

Thank you for the water immediately after the finish line – there is nothing more important.

Run for the Parks 10K

Thank you for the seamless race day packet pick up.

Thank you for the wonderful starting line and finish line energy.

Thanks for switching it up with a sweatshirt – I love mine!

Thank you for clear directions throughout the race.

There are so many more races I could go on to thank, but sadly, I can’t name them all. From now on, I will work to make sure I don’t take things like well-staffed water stations, clear directions and positive energy for granted. These organizers work so hard! I’ll certainly do my part to make sure I realize all the little things that take so much work.

To the organizers – thank you for making the sport I love so much possible. And thank you for always striving to make each race better.



One thought on “A note to race organizers: A thank you and an apology.

  1. Reblogged this on I'm a runner and so can you and commented:
    Here is a positive note, glass half-full post. Many races have some sort of an issue. Not enough volunteers, too crowded, not enough food etc. As this blogger notes, a great deal of effort goes into putting on a race. When something goes wrong or does not meet our expectations, the world hears about it.
    Even your worse race experience had many things go right. Read a few of these stories and remember that many people work very hard to make sure your race experience is as positive as possible.


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