This will be brief because this was the worst race experience I have ever had. I suppose after all of the good that I experienced the previous weekend in Little Rock, I was bound to have some bad luck with a race for once. (Disclaimer: sorry for the lack of pictures. I don’t really want to memorialize this event.)
Usually I do more “serious” races, but I have done The Color Run two times in Memphis, and I enjoyed it both times. It was well-organized, in a good location for the race, fun, etc. This race was not any of these things. A lot of this was probably outside of the race’s control, but I still think some changes could have been made.
The week before the race had the most rain Memphis had seen in probably forever. It was basically nonstop, there was flooding and a tornado warning… the rain was real, y’all. The rain continued into the race day. Packet pick up was at a local running store, which was small. My boyfriend, who was also doing the race, had his packet mailed to him, which is something I regretted not doing once I pulled up to the pick up and saw the long line that wrapped around the parking lot. I waited in that line for nearly 2 hours. Luckily, it didn’t rain until I was under a sheltered area. I have never had to wait more than 5 minutes to pick up a packet, so this was definitely an experience. My friend arrived about 30 minutes later than me and we amused ourselves through texts as we waited, but eventually the situation just got so frustrating that she left. Once I made it into the store (where I still waited probably over 30 minutes), they announced to everyone that they would be closing the pick up promptly at 2:30 PM and moving it to the race location. This means that people who had spent at least an hour in line could be turned away. My luck struck again, and I got my packet just before the cut off. It seemed like the major problems were that it was unorganized (bags weren’t put together previously, bib numbers were out of order and on multiple sheets, etc.) Also, I am sure the volunteers were very stressed and having a difficult day, but they also made this very clear. They didn’t smile or even apologize for the wait, which would have been appreciated. There were also people picking up packets for other people… sometimes A LOT of them (one women literally left with an entire cardboard box full).
By the time I left packet pickup, it was raining steadily and I honestly didn’t even want to do the race anymore. It was my boyfriend’s first 5K though, and I had just spent 2 hours of my day waiting for my packet, so I committed. We dressed up in fun 80s outfits (he had cool short shorts and high socks– sad I didn’t get a picture– and I wore my gold sparkle skirt, leg warmers, a black t-shirt, and a side ponytail) and made our way to the race. The race was at Shelby Farms, which experienced a lot of flooding. They moved parking to a school that was about 10 minutes away and had busses shuttling people to the race. It was raining hard. We didn’t have to wait for the bus, though. Once we got to the race it was dark, everything was muddy, and the rain kept pouring. We got in line and the race began. The course was very dark (which I understand was a necessary part of the Glo Run theme), but it was also wayyy too narrow for the amount of people participating and the flooding. There were parts of the paved trail that were 100% submerged in water. There were a lot of people walking, and we tried to run when we could, but we eventually gave up on that. It seemed too dangerous. We walked the course and enjoyed the repeat of the apparently 3 songs that existed in the 80s. Once we got to where we could see the finish line, we decided to run to it. This was a mistake. We ran through a VERY flooded part of the trail (my whole foot went under). My foot rolled, but I luckily caught my balance. My bf did not have the same luck and fell, seriously hurting his foot. We hobbled to the finish line and were ready to leave at that point. We waited for the bus and made our way home.
In the Glo Run’s defense, they sent an e-mail addressing the problems. I had paid for timing, and apparently their timer didn’t work in the rain. The rain presented other problems with the course, which is why they had so few people working packet pick up. They offered a discount for the next year’s race and will be giving a refund on the timed portion. They also offered free shipping of the packet if we register for next year’s race. While this is generous (a refund would be preferred, but I understand it is not their policy), I do not think I will be participating next year.