Race Recap: Running with the Chromies 5K 2019

Running with the Chromies is a local charity race that benefits Welcoming Hearts, a nonprofit dedicated to helping those with special needs, including families of individuals with Downs Syndrome. This was the first year a 10K was offered alongside the 5K. I ran the 5K before in 2016 and 2018.

Training & Goals
Still injured. I need to work on my running gait and other things but my head's just not in it. My goal for the race was as before: work on my running gait; come in under 40 minutes; keep up my run:walk ratio of 2:1.

Race Day: March 9, 2019
I biked to Gemini Springs and picked up my packet. I had a lot of time to kill before the race so I walked around the park for a while. It was a nice morning. The temperature was about 70°F with 78% humidity when I started running at 9AM.

Mile 1: 12:39

Mile 2: 12:54

Mile 3+: 12:52, 1:24*

I have a lot of problems with this race. It's super close to my home and so easy to attend, but this may have been my last year running. There are a lot of things the race directors could do to improve the runner experience. I don't like badmouthing a charity race but I didn't enjoy myself and I know why so here it is.

Suggestions for Improvement

1. Please give finisher medals out after the race. The medals came in our initial packet and this is the only race I have ever experienced this. To me it just screams out that no one involved in the organization has ever run a race before or did any basic research. It's strange and runners miss out on a sense of accomplishment by not receiving the finisher's medal at the appropriate time.

1.5 Along those lines, how about some new medals maybe? My medal from 2019 is identical to the medal from 2018. Really?

2. I wish this race (and all races) would stop using plastic cups at the water stop. Please use paper cups, or better yet, encourage runners to bring their own bottles. The 5K water stop was filling the plastic cups from a spouted water cooler.

3. Please improve the course monitor situation! Upon returning to Gemini Springs after the out-and-back portion of the race, runners were supposed to turn onto the sidewalk adjacent to the park entrance road. We had run out along the exit road. There were no monitors or marshals out on the course for this crucial turn and several runners missed it, running a short course. As I came up on the turn, two bike marshalls came racing out and turned the runner who was in front of me around so she was on the right course.

4. Please start the races earlier. The 10K began at 8:30AM and the 5K at 9:00AM. Sunrise was at 6:42AM. Running two hours after sunrise on a potentially warm spring day is not a great idea. Plenty of races have different distances start the race at the same time or, if staggered, with a much shorter 10-15 minute break.

If they didn't stagger the races, volunteers wouldn't have to block the access roads two different times.

I suspect the late start time for the races might have to do with the festival, which begins at 10AM. If that is the case, it would be better to have the race finish by the festival. More runners might stay for that event if the finish line was nearby (as it was in 2016).

5. [EDIT] Sorry but I have to add another potentially petty nitpick. It's awesome when a race offers free photos, but posting them 11 days after race day isn't great. Other races that offer free photos usually have the pictures up within 24 hours in my experience. Like most of the other problems I have with this race, it's not a very big deal, but other races (similar in size and scope) do it so much better.

There were other small annoyances or missed opportunities and signs of mild disorganization, like no national anthem before the race, no bananas at the finish line, lack of direction / volunteers at the finish line (it was unclear where water was, and I heard others expecting to get their medal).

Recommendation
Sorry.

Chip time: 39:47
Placement details: 6/13 in AG, 41/94 overall
Race Amenities: Mediocre shirt, medal
Cost: $27.50

Report written March 15, 2019

Addendum 9/6/22: I gave this shirt away (Goodwill) in July 2022

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