It was my first time running this race since 2009. I am hardly the same runner I was back in 2009… a lot has changed. But I did know that one thing had not changed… this is not a race you run for time. Plus I had a goal race two days later so it was never my intention to run this for time. I decided to use this race as a shake out run and just run at a slow conversational pace instead.
Despite knowing that this is a race you cannot run for time, I still expected some sort of organization. Instead it seemed like mass chaos. And really… why on earth does a race with over 25,000 runners NOT have a gear check tent?!?!?!
From what I could see there were a total of “4 corrals” and I am putting that in quotes because there was zero policing of said corrals and there didn’t seem to be any reason why a person was in the A corral over the D corral. The only Corral that was policed was the “elite” corral… and those people had a different color bib.
It took forever to get into the corrals and there was certainly no way of knowing which corral was for which pace. Would it really be that difficult to hang some pacing signs?
Granted, I fully understand that this race is 90% people who don’t usually run and instead do this “race” once a year to spend time with friends/co-workers but the race organizers could still attempt some sort of order for those of us that do run.
My two biggest complaints are definitely the lack of gear check and the lack of correctly paced corrals.
Be that as it may, I knew going into this race that unless you are an elite, there is no way to be able to run this for time. Which meant that I went into the race deciding I was just going to have fun and run slow.
Lucky for me, one of my co-workers wanted someone to run with and she runs at a slower pace than I normally do so I happily volunteered to run with her.
The race started on time but it took me a solid 22 minutes to cross the start line. Race organizers narrowed the corrals down significantly and that was the start line thus creating a huge bottleneck. Not exactly the best way to get over 25,000 runners across a start line.
Once crossing the start line, I turned to my co-worker and asked, “so how are you at crowd dodging?” She said she was decent so I proceeded to start weaving because there were so many walkers already… If I wanted to run this race for time, I would have been very annoyed.
The rest of the race was pretty enjoyable and I chatted with my co-worker some. I noticed all of the mile markers, though I was apparently the only one from my company who noticed all of them. I have no idea if they were accurate because running on lower Wacker means I lose satellite reception on my Garmin. Luckily, it had been cold the previous day so lower Wacker was not hot and stuffy like normal.
There was never really any room to open up and there were a lot of turns as well so it was difficult to truly get into a groove. Nearing the finish line it was difficult to break into a sprint because there were too many people but we tried and did finish strong.
When then found our co-workers and waited for everyone else to finish before calling it a night.
All in all, it was an enjoyable night and perfect weather but this race definitely has a LOT of room for improvement.
My official Time – 37:46 for a 10:48 Pace which I am more than happy with for a shake out run