Jun 5, 2013 2:07 PM
I was content with just sending a nastygram to the USRA website about this, until they took my comments out of context and spun them to paint a pretty picture on an e-mail they sent out to all of their subscribers. I have now contacted Active.com, BBB and am now posting here to warn people not to run anything sponsred the Reinke group! I just wanted to share my original e-mail so everyone knows exactly where I stand. The local papers are next.
Thanks for listening and be wary of this group!
Sent: Monday, June 03, 2013 10:23 AM
Subject: June 2, 2013 Worcester Half Complaint
To Whom It May Concern,
This half marathon was a horrible experience pretty much from the beginning. I was able to get eight of my friends to sign up for and run this race. Of course after we all sign up, we start to hear all of these rumors about how shady and underhanded this particular racing series is. At this point, we are in it so no turning back. Imagine our disappointment with the multiple packet pick up location changes, the cancellation of the Expo and even the error of reporting where the race actually BEGAN! It was listed as Doyle Field and Doyle Park depending on where you looked, both of which are locations in Leominster and are not near each other at all. Packet pick up at Dick’s Sporting Goods was an underwhelming and unprofessional experience. The man who checked us in was unknowledgeable about race specifics. The check in system was primitive and unorganized. AND there were NO tech shirts for signing up as originally stated on fliers. When we inquired about the tech shirt (and now it’s advertised as a regular t-shirt), we were told that UPS had delivered them but then they accidentally picked them back up?!? Really?!? The man at the check in desk said that they were going to compile a list to get the shirts mailed out to us. Yeah, that will be quite the expense. So, now we know we are not ever getting our t-shirts. So we have our numbers and we are given a “swag bag” that has a pen and flier for a circus. I paid $60 for THIS?
Fast forward to race day. No flags. No signs. No race staff. No one directing where to go. A couple hundred runners (who is running what; ½ marathon or 5K, no one can tell) all standing around and no one knows where to go. Eventually 7 AM nears and we wander up to where we THINK the start line is. It was marked by two short pieces of thin, bright orange tape! There was a wheelchair participant. They said to him we will give you a two minute head start before we send everyone else. A guy gets in a car and drives up to one of the police cruisers going by, talks to him for a couple of minutes and then beeps his horn. I guess that is the start? And who is going to account for those extra two minutes on the clock!??!
It was a very hot day and one of the water stops was so understaffed (just a young girl working by herself!!!) that a spectator had to help her manage the crowds! The course looped on itself so they got away with having so few water stops in parts of the course, but other areas were severely lacking.
I ended up getting injured around mile 6.5 and I had to walk back almost a mile and a half to the start line. A friend was kind enough to abandon and walk back with me. We made it to the finish line and walked to the side as to not get an “official” race time (the time was kept by someone on a computer. No large clock was even provided at the finish line!). As we sat and watched each of our friends and dozens of others cross the finish line, they looked as bewildered as we did. The ending was not clearly marked and it was very narrow. Runners and spectators using the same walking path. It was also dangerous the lack of space runners and spectators had to get to the finish area itself. Very poorly planned and unsafe.
A gentleman who was announcing all the finishers/placers as they came in had come over to our group and asked to take our photo. I said I wanted to ask you a question first. I had injured myself halfway through and had to walk back to the finish line; my friend was kind enough to come with me. Are we able to get medals? He said no, they are only for finishers. I didn’t even argue. Another friend chimed in and said well, there wasn’t even anyone to help her back to the finish. She got injured, can she just have her medal? The guy said I don’t want to be a meanie, but it’s for finishers. Then I said, what about our t-shirts. Are we getting those? And he said if you heard my announcement earlier this morning (when would we have heard this?), we are going to be mailing out shirts to everyone. At that point, we all refused to let him take a group photo of us.
Okay, I get the only finishers get medals thing. I totally understand the reasoning and I was fine with that. UNTIL I saw two UNREGISTERED runners with NO bib numbers get medals!!!!!!!! So they run for FREE and get EXACLTY the same thing I would get, minus a t-shirt? They got free water and after race snacks and I actually paid money and I don’t get anything from yesterday? What are they going to do with all the extra medals? I cannot believe that they would give them to someone who didn’t even pay. And those were just the two I saw! One of the girls that got a medal goes to our gym. She tried to register for the race at the packet pick up. They told her cash only and she said she only had a credit card. They told her she couldn’t register. She said she would go online and do it then. They told her she couldn’t and that online registration was closed. This was at 3 PM on June1! So I guess she showed up and ran the race on Sunday anyway and she was given a finishers medal even though when she crossed the finish line, they asked her what her bib # was and she said I didn’t register!
I am terribly disappointed in this whole experience. This was by far the WORST organized race I have ever participated in. I have done 5K’s that were better organized, had better staffing, had food, beer, entertainment (not just a guy playing Pandora Radio over his laptop), sponsorships and were just overall a class act experience. I have gotten way more for way less of a registration fee. I will NEVER run the Worcester Half Marathon again. I will never run another USRA race again, especially if they allow this group to continue. I will make sure I tell each of my friends not to run a USRA race. I don’t know if this is how you all operate, but this group has tarnished your name. I will also make sure that no local city even entertains the idea of hosting this sham event in the future.
The city of Leominster was a great host. If it wasn’t for the residents putting out waters for us, police and fire departments driving around and helping to keep traffic at bay (because there were NO cones or traffic markers), this would have been more of a disaster.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. You need to know what type of race your company is running.