Well, the results are in for the 2007 Henry Weinhard Saint Patrick Day Dash. The 3.4mile (er, so not really a 5k) race I ran last Sunday was the first one this year for me… the first one where I’ve been “training”. It was very windy (SSE >13mph steady) and drizzling rainy just like you might expect for a March race in Seattle.
Results are posted at: http://www.onlineraceresults.com/race/view_race.php?race_id=4964.
Some interesting summary stats for the timed runners:
|Summary number of finishers:
| number of females:
| number of males:
| average time:
bib number: 1899 age: 30 gender: M location: Seattle, WA
overall place: 3953 out of 7474
division place: 437 out of 658
gender place: 2461 out of 3689
I was a little disappointed with myself because I did a fairly poor job of staying on pace. I had targeted to do between 9:30->10min/miles. I ended up running slow at the front (due to the pack) and then trying to make it up by overrunning during the 2nd mile. So, by the 3rd mile I was totally beat and barely making my pace. I got my 5k in under 30 mins, but I was disappointed that I ended up doing about a minute of walking during the race to get my heart-rate back down where it needed to be.
Here’s my race map, thanks to Jodi’s Garmin Forerunner 305:
And finally, my thoughts on the race:
Overall I was a bit disappointed with the race execution. Evidently, I was not alone — this morning they’ve posted some “please forgive us” commentary on the race website:
The email address to send to is: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be sending in my thoughts.
In any case, the problems I had were:
Crowding is just a “big race” problem. Hard to get around pack crowding at the start of a race where there are 15,000 total participants and probably >5000 in the first wave. But why did I end up stuck behind a bunch of slower people at the beginning, throwing off my pace? Well, part of it may have been that people who run fast at the beginning and then fall off tend to clump too far toward the front of the pack.
But the main problem was that there were no pace runners… at least not any I could find. A few minutes before the Green wave started, the announcer said something about “slower runners to the back and elite runners to the front”. But where in teh pack did I belong to run my 9:30 pace? I had no idea. Evidently I misjudged where to start, as I walk/jogged the first 5 minutes of the race until I could finally break out from the pack a teeny bit near the battery street tunnel.
Dash 2008 suggestion #1: Have highly visible pace runners holding pace time signs or something. Make it very clear in the timed waves to know your pace and cluster in the right place at the start.
Gear check… wow, where do I start. This was the worst part of the whole thing, and it caused me to miss out on a planned brunch with some friends. Sure, I could have not gear-checked my cell-phone, but who in their right mind would think it would take 1HOUR after I finished the race to get my gear back!?! Yes, that’s right. I gear checked my sweats + cellphone around 8:30am, anticipating a 9am start time. The Green wave actually started about 9:10am. I ran about 33 mins and was walking through the chutes by 9:45am. I walked around the booths, got some smoothies and breakfast cookies, etc.
And then nothing. I couldn’t find the gear check. Nobody could.
Finally (i’m guessing around 10:10 or so) the announcer came on the microphone to apologize for the late gear arrival and noted that it “would be at Mass. St.”. Wait a second… would be? It wasn’t there yet?!
Nope, it didn’t arrive until, again a guess, probably 10:30. Fully an hour after even when I presume the final wave started running. All of teh gear arrived at once (not staggered as two trucks: the first with the fastest/green runners who left first and would presumably arrive first, and then yellow/red who are presumably slower and left later). Nope. All gear arrived at once. Well more than an hour after the green runners left.
Then, they started handing out the gear. Since we were gear-checked by our bib number, there was perhaps no good way to handle it. But pulling out bag at a time per crate and yelling out the bag/bib# to the hundreds of people standing around waiting was probably not the best way. It took another 15 mins for me to get my gear, and this mostly because I (and the mob of hundreds) finally got fed up and stormed the crates. Hopefully nobody lost their stuff in the mayhem.
Dash 2007 suggestions set #2:
- Post a gear-check “close” time for each wave. Have an “overflow” gearcheck in case you miss your close time (ie – if you’re in the green wave, you can check your stuff into overflow after 8:45am, but then your stuff will arrive with red wave).
- ACTUALLY CLOSE THE GEAR CHECK AND SHIP IT OUT BEFORE RUNNERS HAVE LEFT THE STARTING LINE
- At the pickup end, have well-labeled site and tables set up to indicate where you have to go to get your specific pickup (if you’re doing it by bib#, that’s fine… but have at least a dozen tables set up in advance to separate the pickup lines clearly). BEFORE EVEN THE FIRST RUNNERS ARRIVE.
These are all obvious, of course. I’m sure they probably thought it was going to work just like that this year even.
In any case, I’m not sure if I’ll run this one again next year. Overall it was a pretty lousy experience.