Monday, March 10, 2014

WB10K Health and Fitness Expo

Allow me to vent here for a moment.

The World's Best 10K is probably the biggest race in Puerto Rico in terms of exposure and most definitely in terms of how many people run it every year. It is also arguably the best known race on the island. Last year I raved about how organized the whole process was from packet pick-up to race transportation to the post-finish line procedures. The one chink in the armor was the fact that I didn't get a medal at the end along with hundreds of other people. It ended up being (according to race officials on their Facebook page) a misplacement of the boxes where the medals were being kept. It took an extra day and a trip to the race office but I got the medal. With a mishap like that, you would hope they would try to fix the issue for the following year. You would also hope that you have "gone through the glitch" for this race and not go through another situation again.

Well, I turned out to be right in the former and wrong on the latter.

Surely, I got my medal after crossing the finish line. They even put a new system in place where you had to turn in the bottom of your bib (usually used for bag checks) to get your medal. However, I had to endure another bad glitch. This time during packet pick-up. The Expo took place in the exact same place and I visited at the exact same time as last year. Except that there was a huge line outside. It was divided into people who didn't know their bib number and those who did. Instead of just letting people inside like last year, they created a bottleneck. The line was divided (allegedly) to speed things up but the people who didn't know their bib number were being let in a lot faster than those who came ready which caused a lot of grumpy faces and comments from those on the "ready" line.

It took a long time to get in and once inside you find out why this was taking such a long time: The they had different rooms divided by bib numbers. Each room with several tables full of bibs in ascending order just like last year. Except that this year they were way, way understaffed. Some people were in charge of 4 or 5 of those tables and therefore taking care of 4 or 5 lines. After a pretty long wait it was my turn to pick up my bib and...

There was no bib.

They had "misplaced" the box with all of the 1500 bibs on it. Including mine. It took an hour of just standing there just to get a straight answer and in the end they sent us to the back of the line  (again) to get another number assigned so we could (again) wait in line to get the new bib. By this time I had been there for two hours. The net result of the bib reassignment was: a) They promised people who registered early their name would be printed on their bib so no name for me. b) I got reassigned from corral 3 to the very last corral.

Now, I could care less about the name on my bib. It could say "Jenny McPretty" on it for all the good it would do me, but being sent to the back was a hard blow and I would pay for that in spades during the race. Read the recap to learn why. Sadly, this not the end of this ordeal.

After finally settling the bib issue, I had to get the rest of the race packet. This meant another long line to get the shirt, and another very, very long line to get the rest of the stuff. The order in which they did this was awful. They included a bag that was pretty nice to put all your stuff in but they gave it at the end. By the time you got it you had your hands full of stuff. I couldn't even open mine to put all the stuff in. This "divide and conquer" strategy where you go to different stations to get everything is done to alleviate traffic but here it just didn't work. In fact it just made it worse. By the time I finished getting everything, I had no time to stick around and check out the Expo so I left.

Apparently, the WB10K has problem handling boxes, whether they have medals or bibs on them. I don't like to rant about these things usually. Organizing a race is hard to do and for the most part the staff are doing it for free but I think the organizers clearly underestimated the amount of people who showed up on Friday like I did and the event was clearly understaffed. Hopefully those who went on Saturday had an easier time than me. So that's two for two regarding the WB10K. Again, nothing against this particular race. In fact, issues aside, I maintain my position that it is in fact, well organized for the most part. That's why I gave them such high marks when I wrote about it last year. However, how likely is it for one person to have major issues two years running? I suspect it was more than just me. Just ask anyone with a 1500 bib assigned. This is stuff they have to work on. Especially if they claim to be the World's Best 10K.

And by the way, the shirt does not fit and the neither does the cap.

1 comment:

  1. O my goodness frank I was exhausted just reading this, I can imagine how you felt actually being there! I really do hope they become more organized next year! At least it made for an interesting blog post!