The Night Run Race Review
I surprised myself at The Night Run, and with a few small tweaks, I believe this race will draw runners from all over!
Thanks to my run group of social media runners, Run Eat Tweet AZ, I received an entry into The Night Run 5k/8k here in Scottsdale, Arizona. It takes place really close to my home and along a normal route for me, Tempe Town Lake.
I even treated myself to a new pair of shoes. I know I know, you really shouldn't run in new shoes during a race. You're technically supposed to "wear them in" first. However, these were the same make and model I'd been training in, just a different color. (The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15s).
I joined my #RunEatTweetAZ friends at Tempe Town Lake after a short walk from the Free Parking in a nearby garage. The Expo was a pretty nice setup along the lawn, with tons of local vendors. I even got stretched out at a local Chiropractor booth. This really helped!
The porta-potty line was extremely long. So I just found a bush close to the start. Saw a couple of guys doing the same thing. Then the sun was setting and it was time to start!
Unfortunately, here's where things take a turn for the not-so-fortunate. Now, keep in mind this was the first time The Night Run was out on this course. And as with even the BEST of races, there's always a learning curve. So this review is to rather list the problems I encountered so they will know how to make the experience better for those in the future.
I'll break down my obstacles here and possible solutions:
- The course "doubles-back". Most courses you always have congestion at the start. However, my issue with this course was as the 5k finishes, the 8k continues on and doubles-back on the course. The problem with that? You're running through race bystanders, and hitting a bottleneck with all the walkers and slower runners! There are two bridges you have to run across in this course. And the congestion of the other runners was wall to wall. I had to actually YELL to others to "MAKE ROOM FOR RUNNERS"! I know that may sound like I was being a narcissistic runner, why couldn't I just enjoy the race and slow down? But from my perspective, I was trying to keep a 7:30 or under pace. And that's almost impossible to do when you are forced to literally WALK. Other faster runners were having the same problem. A possible solution to this would be having the 5k and 8k start separately, or just keeping the routes separate all together. It may mean spreading out a bit more, but it was a major issue that will turn many runners away in the future if not corrected.
- Runners cutting the course. Now, that's not the races fault really. But there were key areas were you and to run down a sidewalk for a bit, then turn around and run up a road or hill. And I was seeing runners left and right cutting the course and skipping the turn around! A solution to this would be volunteers at areas where runners could cut. That may not solve ALL the course-cutting, but I strongly believe if there had at least been a physical body nearby, it would have deterred many of the cutters.
- Ran out of medals. After crossing the finish line, I didn't spot anyone handing out medals (keep in mind it's dark at this point too). But I REALLY had to use the restroom so I took off for the porta potties, and afterwards made my way back to the start to search out the medals. When I found the table, the girls manning it told me they had ran out! Many families were coming up and asking for their medal and being told the same thing. I think this may have been a lack of enough volunteers situation again? There were TONS of bystanders and I have a feeling some were just coming up and taking a medal who didn't run. However, the Race Director was very apologetic for running out and made sure anyone who didn't receive one e-mail her so she could order new ones and get them shipped out.
Regardless of the obstacles, I STILL managed to run at the goal pace I wanted, even despite "not feeling it" when I started. Surprised even myself.
I thank the Night Run for the experience and look forward to improvements and a whole new round of fun next year!