The Garden Half Marathon was absolutely the worst "half marathon" I have ever participated in. Did you notice how I quoted half marathon? That's because the course actually only measures about 11.8 miles. But there were plenty of more signs on race day that this was not a well-organized event.
I arrived at 6:15 AM for bib and shirt pick-up. There was one guy with ONE binder with everyone's name checking people in. The line was about 40 people deep, and pick-up was supposed to be completed by 6:45 AM.
7 AM - "start time" for race. However, no mat was set up yet to read everyone chip going out. A guy finally brings over the mats and starts setting up a computer, but walks away talking on his cell phone, visibly confused.
7:05 AM - Finally, a race director announces that the race will start in about 10 min.
7:13 AM - Mats are still not set up. Race director says start time will be 7:15 AM for everyone.
7:15 AM - A bell is rung. Time to run? Or was it time to go to 1st grade? I am confused on the meaning of the school bell. Either way we ran.
8:something AM ? I hadn?t been paying close attention to my garmin while running, but I noticed that I was a little over a mile shorter than a mile marker I had passed. I think it was around mile 10 when I realized this was going to end a lot sooner than expected.
8:42 AM ? I cross the finish line. Post-race food consisted of subway, chips, and Oreos, which was surprisingly satisfying despite having a legitimate lunch for breakfast. Only allotted 1 beer/person, but Fat Tire was available. The band was just beginning to setup and still was not ready when I left around 9AM.
I would like to mention that the volunteers were fantastic (thanks!). The only reason I?m not lynching for a full refund is because of the charity that the race goes to. However, in the future this organization needs to find another way of raising money. Calling this a half-marathon is a disgrace, especially for the amount they charged. If this is how this organization manages a race, I have serious concerns on how they will manage the proceeds for their cause.
First of all, as the reviewer before me mentioned, this was not actually a half marathon. My Garmin read 11.93 and each of the mile markers came far earlier than they should have. The "10 mile" mark was at about 8.7 miles. Each of the markers seemed a little too close together. The race started late, although the announcement was very difficult to hear. There were not enough bathrooms for the number of runners.
The lunch they provided, though nice, was not tailored to the participants. If you are going to offer subs, it makes sense to get a count prior to the race for how many of each type of sub to get. By the time I came in at about 9, all of the veggie subs were gone. I was told I wasn't missing out though since the veggie sub was only lettuce and cheese.
The band was very late to start up and surely must have started well after everyone was finished. The end of the race was also pretty anti-climatic.
I did really like the medal, but I feel like I'm cheating by having it, since it wasn't a real Half-Marathon.
The "winners of the half marathon" for women listed in the results are also 4 miler participants... unless someone set a world record! Overall, it felt like someone knew quite well what would make a good race, but had problems executing it.
Well, I am glad the money went to charity and am thankful for the volunteers along the course.
I ran this "half" marathon, and granted there were a few rough patches, but I'm not one to complain. I also don't believe this race was a true "half" marathon, but it doesn't mean that I wasn't out for a great cause. I realize that this was the first race for this organization so understandably there are going to be some glitches and some area for improvement, but it's a learning experience,far above a 1st grader I might add. As for the food, it was far more than I had expected, Subway subs, water, chips, oreos, and beer... Obviously people expect to be catered to during a race. I have done races that have been far more disorganized than this. I've also done numerous amount of races that only supply water. (I'm not sure how I survived! *sarcasm*) Granted it was a rocky start, but overall I think my money was well spent. It went to a great cause, and for that I feel people should be grateful. Instead of investing time to blog about how horrible the experience was, maybe help contribute your time to help make it run a little smoother next time? There are more problems in this world to complain about besides what time a race starts, how you only got 1 beer, and the fact they should have had more vegetarian subs. It takes a very self-conceeded person to even think about asking for their money back, and to judge the way you think your money is being spent? Well obviously if you have concerns maybe you should contact the race organizer before making assumptions. Overall my experience, it was OK. Few rough patches, but definitely has a great potential in coming years. As for the cost, well it goes towards a good cause, and in the end, thats all that really should matter right?