Jan 2, 2007

wow, people really didn't like the marathon

I don't remember what actually caused me to plunk down the $95 to run the Las Vegas Marathon last month, but I do remember consulting the comments section on Marathonguide.com. They let anyone who ran a marathon write a review of their experience, and it requires the writers to specify how many marathons they've run prior - so you know how experienced they are. It really was useful. In Las Vegas' case, I remember that the major complaint was the lack of portable toilets on the course - but people were instead ranting and raving about how cool it was to run the strip, the really nice tech shirt they were given, and a very cool swivel-medal. I don't remember what was said about crowd support or the fun of the course after the strip - the lack of affected me when I ran the race. I also noticed a couple of mile markers were off, but it didn't affect me so much because I wasn't pacing or anything - mile 10-11 and 20-21 (both seemed more like 1.5 miles) demoralized me a bit - but it wasn't a huge deal. The headwind was a factor, but bad weather can happen anywhere. So I will say that for a first marathon, I really didn't know what to expect and besides those inadequacies - and my wife's poor experience as a volunteer (which I didn't know about until after the race) I didn't think it was a horrible experience.

I knew that people were complaining though. But I didn't know the extent, until today when I returned to marathonguide.com and read a dozen pages of angry complaints about this race. It surprised me.

Here are some excerpts:
"This was my 84th marathon, and without a doubt the organizers of the 2006 New Las Vegas Marathon (i.e., Devine Racing) did the worst job putting on a marathon that I have ever experienced."

"This marathon sucks! I disliked just about everything about this marathon."

"This could be an outstanding marathon, but apparantly the organizers are more interested in profits than runners."

"Needs a lot of work to live up to the hype and the big-city $100 entry fee."

"I will NEVER AGAIN run this. What a disaster."

here were the recurring complaints:

  1. Mile markers were off. People were downright pissed off about it. "That failure rates close to the worst ever." "Mile markers were not properly placed, and that is inexcusable. Plain and simple. Shame on you, Devine."

  2. A close second: No food at the finish. Other participants expressed shock and awe. HUGE THANKS to my wife, a volunteer who listened to the complaints of runners not having food, and got a sandwich for me to have when I finished.

  3. Placing a local running club, including walkers, in front of the pack at the start, ahead of 3:30 and 4:00 corrals. Didn't affect me at all, I was almost the last person to start.

  4. Starting off two elite women at 6:00 for a headstart, then letting the rest of the 16000 people wait until 6:18 before they could begin. I was wondering what the delay was.

  5. Boring course - after mile 8 anyway.

  6. Cheap T-Shirts/Medals. That was what everyone was praising the organizers for in 2005. This year? "The race shirt is downright embarrassing." Personally, I would have liked the nice T-Shirt and medal in my first marathon to live up to my expectations based on 2005, but I have to say what they had was fine.

  7. No crowd support. Someone said the organizers were talking about 250,000 spectators lining the course. That would have been nice.

  8. Crowded expo. We arrived right after they opened the doors, so we did all we had to do before browsing the vendors - but got out of there because it started getting really crowded.

  9. Having aid stations on just one side of the road.

  10. Logistical difficulty at the start line - people hopping fences to get into the area, etc.

  11. The Headwind.

  12. I HAD NO ZIP-TIES FOR MY TIMING CHIP!! And neither did a lot of other people. I should have taken that as a sign.

  13. No Pre-race instructions.

  14. No Pasta-party.

  15. Baggage check was apparently a disaster.

read for yourself here:

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