I had another race this weekend. It was a 10k in Des Moines that ended at the Exile Brewing Company. I hesitate to refer to it now as a race. Yes, I paid an entry fee, had a race bib and timing chip, even got a finisher's medal, but that's about where all the similarities ended. It was a point to point race so we got bused out to the theoretical starting line. There was one volunteer at the park and she told us the actual start was a few blocks west. So we all started walking in that direction. I was expecting the start to be marked in some fashion, but it wasn't. Not even a chalk line on the ground. A few people had their phones and pulled up the course map to verify that we we in the right general area.
So we stood around for awhile waiting. I went out for a quick warm up and came back. The official start time came and went. The one volunteer that was there told us that someone was coming to officially start us so we held tight for a few minutes. People were starting to get antsy and a small group decided to just take off running. A few minutes later they announced again that the starter was on his way out. I think it got to be over 20 minutes past when we supposed to start that another group took off. Then mob mentality took over and everyone just followed that group. There was four of us just kind of standing there after that. We looked at each other for a second, shrugged our shoulders, and took off after the pack.
I spent the first mile getting past the majority of the runners. Ran a 6:00 first mile. Then I started thinking to myself how the results were going to meaningless anyway, with everyone taking off at different times. Decided to treat it as a tempo run and not turn myself inside out trying to set an unverifiable PR. It started raining midway through, which was nice at the time. Due to flooding they had to alter the course prior and the last five miles were virtually the same as the final miles of Dam to Dam. In some way it was kind of nice to be on familiar terrain, because it wasn't terribly well marked. Once we hit MLK I was pretty sure the course was going to be short. That and we met up with the 5k course which was filled with walkers, some of them 4 abreast. So that was dicey. Hit the finish line, which was approximately 5.7 miles from the "start line" in 39:00 even.
I picked up my complimentary beer and hot dog and fries and had a good laugh over the whole debacle with friends. I don't think this race will be on the schedule next year. Great concept. Who doesn't want to run to a brewery? Poor execution though. It was an inaugural race so I expected some hiccups, not complete chaos. Maybe, if they prove they've worked out all the kinks next year, I'll consider it. If not I can always go for a six mile tempo run on my own and save myself some money.