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Unfortunately this first HM was quite a disaster. A group of about 60 runners was misdirected and ended up cutting the course by 4 miles. Not sure where and how that happened: I was in 11th position at Campbell Park and expected to finish 12th, but ended up being 71th with 1 hr 33 mins. Also, three runners, including me, got the wrong directions to the underpass when exiting Vasona Park towards Los Gatos and lost few minutes finding their way back to the trail on Blossom Hill Rd.
In general it was difficult to get a clear direction from staff. I would recommend to stagger staff along the course and put signs next time (if you still think you can manage the three races altogether).
On the positive side, very nice hat and T-shirt.
About the course: it is quite challenging, far from being flat and definitely not for a PR. Main difficult points: a couple of overpasses, 3 shallow gates (1 towards Campbell, 2 in Los Gatos), the wood surface in Los Gatos, the congestion with the 10K.
Moshan Productions served up the worst race that I have been a part of. The most confusing, poorly organized, badly run run that I think many of the racers have ever experienced.
Let?s start this litany of woe with a little geometry problem. When you have a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon all starting with 20 minutes of each other, you?ll want to separate your courses pretty quickly. I mean, imagine the snafu if you had the 10K racers suddenly merging back with the 5K racers and having to pass through the slower runners ? on a strip of asphalt that?s only 4 feet wide. Think of the confusion of trying to separate the racers again when their courses diverged. And finally imagine the consternation of the racers when we are faced with volunteers who don?t know which way to send us. It all happened, and on more than one spot on the course.
We?ve all come across a line of ants in our homes. You left a piece of food out the night before and in the morning you have an orderly line of insects moving to and fro. That?s the way a 5K/10K is supposed to look. Now take away that errant piece of food. See what the ants do? That?s the way this race actually looked.
There were racers all over the paths of Vasona park, chasing down rumors, following leads, quizzing the clueless volunteers and searching in vain for any signs on the course. We had volunteers giving contradictory information within yards of each other, volunteers with maps arguing with each other, and yes, grumpy runners unloading on all and sundry.
Later we heard that some 5K runners ended up on the 10K course, some 10Ks finishing early and even some Half-Marathoners who somehow wound up back at Start/Finish miles too soon. Awful, simply awful.
We saw a total of 4 signs out on the course. Two of them said ?1 Mile? even though they were 400 yards apart. One said ?5K/10K/Half this way? which isn?t really necessary when you think about it, and the last one had two arrows in different directions and said ?5K this way? and ?10K this way?. This last sign should have been copied about 40 times and placed all over the park. That alone would have helped out the poor volunteers immensely.
Our course had a turnaround at its halfway point. (At least we THINK it was our turnaround point!). The turnaround was not staffed by a volunteer, which made it really easy for runners to simply shrug, do a 180 and shave a few hundred yards off their time.
We eventually made it back to the Start/Finish line and the NikePlus Run System app on my phone showed us that yes we did travel approximately the proper distance and finished at more or less our usual time. But I have no idea how we did that.
We gave back our timing chips, picked up our nice medals and wandered around the vendor area with a thousand other shell-shocked finishers. And I was in a pissy mood, so I started noting all of the little things that Moshan Productions had done to dis-improve our time with them:
? No energy bars or gels available beforehand. This surprised and saddened a friend of ours who was doing the Half-Marathon distance. The bars and gels were available after the finish, when they would be useless to us. (And only Powerbars, which taste exactly like caulking compound.)
? There was a hard-working Master of Ceremonies, dispensing information and cheering on finishers. But the speakers for this were right at the Start / Finish line, which made the MC inaudible back in the starting corrals where us work-a-day-schmos could have really used the information ? such as, you know ?Go!?
? There was no music in the pit area afterwards, making a grim mob of finishers even more joyless.
? The Go Green! Race had only a few recycling containers and no place for composting all of the banana peels and orange slices.
? The obligatory goodie bag was of a poor design and held 15 coupons and one lonely energy bar. Karen tried a bite and said ?I wouldn?t feed this to an animal? and tossed it.
? They ran out of T-shirts in my size. I?m a large/extra large kind of guy, and I?m no speed demon but there were hundreds of racers still out on the course by the time Admiral Karen and I cruised in at 47:34. (All of the Half-marathoners, for example). And by the time I got to the booth, less than an hour after the start, they were already out of Men?s Larges and Extra Larges? Unbelievable. Un-fracking-believable.
We wandered back to the shuttle stop, trading horror stories with other racers, watching the poor souls still racing (shrugging at one another, pointing helpfully) and passing the exhausted volunteers who were standing around, not making eye-contact with anyone.
Our shuttle driver had her own story to tell. Apparently she and all the other bus drivers showed up and were told exactly zilcho about where they were going and what they were doing. So they figured out their to-and-from routes on their own and set up business as best they could.
On the bus the mood ranged from surprise to downright anger. ?I thought I did great until I looked at my time. 20 minutes for a 10K? Where the hell did the course go?? We heard of people crossing the finish line after traveling 4K, 5K, 8K, 10K, 8 mile, 10 mile and that was just our half of one bus. Un-fracking-believable.
Changed routes and confused staff for all races. My personal best for the 5K ended up being almost a half-mile shorter than intended. Apparently similar issues last year. Not sure I would run it again.
This is a great location, huge turnout, but I'm puzzled as to why the race organizer can't find people to give correct directions along the course. I ran the 5k, and was excited to be running a great time, pr, until we all got to the bridge and since there were no signs (why no signs?!) relied on the volunteer to tell us where to go. He directed all 5k runners to cross the bridge, but then appeared confused and some people went past the bridge to the dam but most people went (incorrectly) over the bridge. Another woman and I went what turns out to be the correct way, but had to fight our way another mile through the slower runners and walkers that got ahead of us since they were STILL being directed incorrectly over the bridge! Very discouraging to work so hard for a pr, only to have most runners finish "ahead" of you, when they really only ran around 2 miles. I still pr'd, but was very disappointed in how this race was run. I talked to several other 5k runners after the race and they said they were misdirected and ran only 2 miles. I spoke to Finish Line Productions who provide timing and explained the problem and she said they have no way to tell how far people ran, just their times. Unfortunate all around...:(
I completed the 10K at Go Green, studying the map the night before the race to be sure I knew where to go (always a good idea), and found the course to be marked just fine with volunteers directing people without issue. Sounds like the 5K and half marathon courses had issues, but the 10K course was great. Loved the hills! My only complaint is that it was really hard to hear the announcements about each race start.
I ran the 5k. Absolutely the most disorganized event I have ever participated in. Course monitors had no idea what the course was. I was misdirected twice and ended up running at least an extra 300 meters. The half marathon had major problems too. Even the parking attendants were clueless. I won't ever run a Moshan Productions event again. What a complete waste of time and money.
10K race was well organized. Course was great. Well organized. The tech shirt and finisher medal are great. Nothing went wrong for me, was a perfect race. Unfortunately, the course was just short of 10K: what I thought was PR turned out not to be a PR. I feel sorry for the 5K and HM runners who experienced troubles. I ran another Moshan Productions race last year, which was also very well organized: the BayVista race in San Mateo.
I too ran a personal best 5K - until . . . . .
I could not believe my 31 minutes time at a 10 min mile for the 5K. I was so filled with euphoria that it took me a whole day to realize that there is no way I could have done those times - I'm 87 years old and will be happy if I can ever do 5 K in 40 minutes.
That's when I rechecked the route and spotted that out and back off-shoot just before the bridge that takes the runners back to the finnish. I used a map drawing app to trace where I probably ran and sure enough my distance and the recorded time was more in line with how I usually do.
I emailed the race organization that they should give the gold medal for the female 70+ to one of the other two runners (that is if they ran the whole course.) the last time I looked at the standings, my name and those fabulous times are still posted.
There was one explaination from the organizer - The Friday night deluge washed out the course markings. I imagine that they rounded up anyone on the streets of Los Gatos to act as route directors, but as we found out, they had no idea what they were doing. When I got to the Y where the 5K had to do that out and back, I asked one of the volunteers who was waving a flag, which way for 5K? She pointed and waved me on to the finish leg.
On a positive note: the weather was perfect for running. The park was beautifull, all washed clean from the storm. I found everyone in the party area to be friendly and enjoying the varous costumes, etc. Hopefully the organizers will take all these critques to heart and come up with contingency plans for future events.
Phyllis - 87
San Jose CA
Aug 18, 2010 Started walking/running In my Neighborhood, SJ CA 1 mi 26:08 min
My First Race
Nov 14,2010 Habitat for Humanity, Stanford, Ca 5K 56:08 min 3rd Women’s 70+
1/1/12 New Years Runfor Healthy World Palo Alto 5K 46:33
1/28/12 Coyote Hills, Fremont CA 5K 52:59
3/3/12 Helyer Park, San Jose 5K 46:47
3/10/12 Juana Run Palo alto 8K 1:12:22
3/11/12 Calif. Senior Games Palo Alto Race Walk 5K 44:56 Qualified in my age group for Nationals in 2013
3/17/12 Go Green St Patricks Day Run 5K 31:27 Actual distance run: 2.22 miles
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