I just have to get this off my chest. I want to write up my year recap, but this is really buggin me so it has to come first so I can move on with my life. Last Saturday 12/5/09 I did the mistletoe half marathon in Winston-Salem NC. After the race I got an email from active.com asking me to go rate the event, I waited a few days and decided to go out and write some comments. I followed the link to here http://www.active.com/running/winston-salem-nc/mistletoe-5k-and-half-marathon-2009 and read some of the comments. Most were positive, but I was surprised with the number of people wanting the race to be chip timed. The half marathon had about 800 finishers and the 5k had about 900. I was surprised at the turnout considering how bad the weather was, but also impressed that so many would show up even in those conditions. The chip time is not used for rankings or for official times but in larger races where it takes a long time to get to the start it is a nice benefit. I started mid pack of the half and it took me 2 seconds to get over the start line. We were able to use the whole road since we didn't have to be crammed into a start corral to make sure we went over a mat to start our chip time. I'm not sure of the actual dollar amount, but chip time also increases the cost to run a race. While that bothered me slightly it wasn't really what set me off. After I left my comments another runner 'lady Runner 1959' left hers and that is what got me down this path. She gave the race 2 stars out of 5 and complained about everything. The post race party, the music was too loud, the food was too spread out. She said the course was too difficult, the weather was terrible, she criticized the volunteers "They may not have wanted to be in the cold wet weather but they volunteered to work like we paid to run". She says we should have gotten an award for finishing, they were handing out ribbons, but I guess she finished too late or just didn't see them handing them out. Then she says "We should have gotten what we paid for."
You paid between 25 - 35 dollars for this race depending on if you were a YMCA member and how early you signed up. I looked up the Rock n Roll half in Virginia beach and it costs between 85 and 125. This race offered use of the YMCA locker rooms and showers before and after the race, the Rock n Roll offers port a johns. This race donates proceeds to local children's charities, I could not find anywhere that Rock n Roll donates any of it's entry fees. This race had on site child care if you called ahead, Rock n Roll has nothing like it. The course was well marked, there were arrows on the ground at every turn. They had the course maps available on the web so you could see the elevation gains before signing up to determine if it might be too hard for you. They had maps at sign in that you could have taken with you so you wouldn't get lost. They had better food and drinks after than most races in this price range which only offer bananas and water.
What do you think your $30 pays for? An escort in a golf cart that you can sit in when you get tired. It's a race, it's up to you to know the course and prepare yourself. All those things you are asking for, chip timing, finishers medals, more "workers" giving directions on course, they all cost money. If you want all that, pay your $110 and go race in Virginia beach with 10,000 other runners.
For $30 this race far exceeded any expectations I had for it.
The only thing you are entitled to is a big kick in the ASS!