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A beautiful location and great cause, but event overwhelmingly marred by inaccurate course, timing issues, and communication. I ran the 5K on Saturday as a fun run/walk with my family, and then again the 1/2 marathon on Sunday.
First of all, the 5K was great. The course was beautiful...incredibly scenic. Easy to park, lots of port-a-potties, no issues. A little disappointed by the post race setup, as most tents were unoccupied, but we figured this was because the Saturday events were more "fun runs" and the real races were Sunday.
The beginning of the "issues" started here, however, when the awards ceremony was delayed an hour, then an hour and a half, after which we finally left but later found out it did not happen due to "timing issues". Those of us running Sunday were assured that the issues would be fixed by Sunday.
Sunday AM, running the half marathon, again no issues at the start. Parking was easy, lots of port-a-potties, easy to get to the starting line. One issue was that there really weren't "Corrals" just people with signs, but being in corral 2 I had to push my way past all the people in corrals 8-3 to get to my corral. There should be separate entrances for the front corrals.
The race started on time. The course was clearly marked, but we were surprised when there was no mile marker at mile 1. As we had trained extensively for this race and had a race goal with a pacing plan, it would have been nice to have the marker at mile 1 to give us feedback. Relieved to see a marker at mile 2, and that we were in fact on pace at about 7:15 min/miles.
Shortly after mile 3, there was an "out and back" on 45th street that was likely put in place to make the course certified distances. Interestingly, the half-marathon and first lap of the marathon had the same turnaround point, and the second lap of the marathon had a different turnaround about another 300 feet up the road. I was surprised when running that the turnaround was much farther up the road than I remembered from the map. This concern was confirmed when my pace for miles 3 and 4 (remember, they only had mile markers every 2 miles) was 7:40 per mile, even though we hadn't changed our pace at all. We discussed speeding up, but really felt like we had not changed pace at all so decided not to. This decision was rewarded at the next 2 mile split (mile 6) when we were right back to a 7:15 min/mile pace which we maintained the rest of the race.
The remainder of the actual race was uneventful. Police were friendly, water/gatorade/Gel stops were manned and well stocked, and no traffic issues for us.
The post-race setup was more robust than Saturday, although I was a little surprised that your "food ticket" only got you one small piece of pizza, you had to buy any other food. At a cost comparable to other races in the area, with much more extensive post race food and drink options, for a small cost they could probably have increased the food options a little.
The big issue was again with the awards ceremony. While Saturday we were waiting for the awards ceremony simply to cheer on the winners, on Sunday (based on the previous year's times) I thought I had a chance to place in my age group. We waited one, then two, hours after the stated awards ceremony time, at which point the race director and head of the timing company got up and told us there'd be no awards ceremony, they were still dealing with timing issues.
Since the race, we've had little to no communication from the race, and 72 hours out still don't have any times. I also reviewed the course maps, and our turnaround point for the half marathon was indeed at the marathon 2nd loop turnaround, adding approximately .12 onto the race. Talking with marathon participants, they had two separate turnaround points so I think this error only affected the half marathoners. My guess is they probably inadvertantly moved the turnaround point BEFORE the half marathoners arrived instead of after.
Wounded Warriors is a great cause, but how much of the money from this race directly supports WW? The 5K is a beautiful course, and the half/marathon have a ton of potential but right now I can in no way recommend this race for any serious runner. The "Family Fun 5K" was fantastic and perfect in every way if you don't care about the timing issues. The half-marathon and marathon needs work, and at this time I can't recommend it if you're racing for time or trying to qualify for Boston. Hopefully, race organizers will have more attention to detail in the future or this race is doomed to fail.
Absolutely agree with you on every level..
We drove 12 hours from Rochester, NY to do the half. We have family in the military living in Norfolk, who also ran, so it was a plus,
1 bottle of water, and a banana at the finish.- bib ticket allowed you one piece of pizza and a beer (Gatorade would have been better)Pretty incredible for runners finishing not only the half, but more importantly, the full marathon.
More mile markers!
I've run a lot of races using Jaguar and never had a problem-
I blame not only the timers, but the cavalier attiude the RD had concerning this. fiasco. Has anyone gotten an email, etc? Facebook shows a guy driving to Florida indicating he's on top of the timing problem..
It would be nice to see something on the web site indicating an apology for their failures.
I thought the medals for finishers were fabulous.
The trophies looked great.
The drawing had great stuff
Shirt was quite nice
Parking was easy.
Runners in VA are really afun group and way more tolerant than those of us up north.