When the Race Lets You Down…

15 Aug

This year’s New Orleans Hash House Harrier Red Dress Run left SO much to be desired. To say that this race was a disappointment is *quite* an understatement.

In previous years, the Red Dress Run was a “not to miss” event for both runners and revelers alike. Granted, no runner showed up really expecting to set a PR, but the run was usually early in the morning, with booze and food following the rest of the day. Basically, you could get the run out of the way in the morning, and then party the rest of the day…getting maximum usage out of your sparkly red costume.

This year, however, was different. It seems as the popularity of the event increases, the quality of the event tanks…drastically.

For starters, registration was $75…for a 5k. That’s pretty steep. Obviously, it is not unheard of for me to pay such a price, but for $75, I really expect to get the whole shabang! The $75 registration fee included beer, food, and live music. Oh, and a t-shirt (because we all know how much we need more of those!). What keeps people from putting on their best red dress, rolling a cooler down the street, and becoming a race bandit for this event? Well, nothing. And that is exactly what a lot of people did.

Typically, the “feel” of the event is set at the expo. This should have been my first indication. I went to the expo to pick up my numbers with a few people who had not yet registered. They walked up to the table, saying they needed to register, and people behind the table just GAVE them runners’ numbers and wristbands. For FREE. Call me crazy, but if this event raises money for charity, and you are charging some people $75 an entry, how the heck is that fair? And how the heck are you supposed to raise money for charity when you aren’t charging people?

There was also a MASSIVE lack of information available to participants. Between the official website, facebook, and Twitter, never at any point was the start time of the event announced. Most runners, assuming the race would be in the morning (after all, it is summertime…in NEW ORLEANS) arrived when the gates opened at 9:30AM, expecting a 10:00AM start. By the time the race actually started six hours later, very few runners had stuck it out to actually race.

Overall, for a race…it was a BUST. For a party, it was top-notch. So, depending on what you came for and what your intentions were, you either left drunk and happy or sweaty and seriously ticked off. This girl cut her losses somewhere in between. I tried really hard to tough it out until the 4:30PM start time. But, this 7 month pregnant running mama-to-be had ENOUGH of the heat after three hours. So we left. 😦

Apparently, there were many others that were left feeling upset over the lackluster event:




Determined to still get my run in, I ended up running around my neighborhood…in my regular running clothes instead of my red dress.

I hope that next year they go back to how it was several years ago…you know, when there actually was a Red Dress Run…and not a Red Dress “Run.”

Have you ever been to a race that you were really excited about but were then left with a bad experience? How did it make you feel? Were you willing to try the event again the next year? Did you tell event organizers how they could make improvements?

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14 Responses to “When the Race Lets You Down…”

  1. Ashley August 15, 2011 at 12:48 PM #

    That’s a crazy high price for a 5K! Sorry the race was a bust

    • DubyaWife August 15, 2011 at 1:25 PM #

      I’m actually glad I didn’t go to this one, cause I seriously thought about it. When I heard that it was more of a “pub crawl” and less of a race that’s when I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it.

      They should just market it for what it is… Plus it just seems silly to not have a “start time” for a race.

  2. Michelle August 15, 2011 at 1:55 PM #

    I’m sorry to hear that the hashers were so poorly organized. Glad you had a good time at the rest of the festivities and hopefully they’ll get their act together for next year. On the plus side, you look fantastic in your red gear!

  3. Nicki August 15, 2011 at 2:53 PM #

    Wow! Number one that reflects badly on the organizers. They should care more about what they are doing. Number two that reflects badly on the charity the monies are going to (just have to assume it is a charity event with that price tag). Charity should definitely want to know that it is run better.

    Have to tell you, I was slightly – even though I ran it, had a great time & PR’d – disappointed in the half I ran last week. I took an early start, which was advertised as new on the web site. I have taken the early start in many different races. This one did not let the early start finishers cross the actual finish line. Even though I had a chip on my bib, I was not allowed to go across the mat to finish. After stopping me, the race organizer took his own sweet time in reading his stopwatch for my time. I used my Garmin time in figuring my actual time. I am going to ask the race director if this can be changed for next year.

    • katieRUNSthis August 15, 2011 at 2:58 PM #

      I agree on all fronts. Unfortunately, the money collected gets divided among several smaller charities who I think are just thrilled to be getting any piece of the pie at all. So, I don’t think they get much say in it. It is not the situation where this event is aligned with one, large nationally well-known charity or anything like that.

      So you basically got penalized for taking an early start? That doesn’t seem fair at all! Were you using that time as a qualifier for another or larger event? If you were, that really makes a difference! I don’t really see the issue with you crossing the mat as usual. Did they give you a reason why they wouldn’t let you?

  4. Kate @ NaturaStride August 15, 2011 at 2:56 PM #

    Woah. $75 for a 5K? Yikes. But for charity….mmm, maybe. That sucks that it was so poorly organized. I would have been out of there in 2 hours if I still didn’t know when the start was. Good for you for speaking up. Did you contact the organizers yet?
    I definitely haven’t experienced anything as bad at this, just the typical “there aren’t enough porta potties.” I love small-town races usually because I always keep my expectations low – and am always pleasantly surprised!

  5. Morgan @ Becoming Rooks August 15, 2011 at 3:34 PM #

    I’m sorry you had such a bad experience! Spending THAT much money on a 5k and not even really knowing what charity it was going to would leave me really pissed off. I’ve not heard great things about the HHH group and this doesn’t help my perception of them. 😦

  6. Megan August 15, 2011 at 4:06 PM #

    The fact that someone GAVE away numbers right in front of you is just WRONG. In my head, I was like “Oh, YES! I am doing the Red Dress Run!” But when I saw the amount of money they were charging, I was like “NO THANKS!” When I complained about it on my facebook, someone said “It goes to a good cause!” Too bad no one knows what that cause is.

    Seriously sucky that you got let down that way.

  7. cisforcourtney August 15, 2011 at 4:34 PM #

    that is ABSURD for a 5k registration.
    however, uhm….

    YOU ARE UHH-DOR-A-BLE!!!!!!!! 😀

  8. . (@donbvonb) August 15, 2011 at 5:59 PM #

    Why are you running preggo? Child abuse much?

    • katieRUNSthis August 15, 2011 at 6:26 PM #

      You are joking, right?

    • megan August 15, 2011 at 7:19 PM #

      Running while pregnant is not child abuse if your doctor says it is okay. I know a lot of people think women can’t do anything at all while pregnant, but they are misinformed. It’s a whole lot more like child abuse if you sit around and eat pizzas and oreos and not do any physical activity.

  9. Jamie August 16, 2011 at 7:48 AM #

    Well…damn. What a disappointment. My second race ever was like that. A cinco de mayo 5k. Ugh. Will probably never do that again.

  10. Jordan Trump (@trumpdabeast) August 16, 2011 at 9:14 AM #

    Wow, I would NEVER even CONSIDER paying $75 for a 5k. That’s even more than I pay for most half marathons! And they let people register for FREE? I would have been VERY upset if I paid $75 and they were letting people in for free. In fact, I think I would have demanded my money back… I’d rather donate the money to said good cause personally than have my money associated with such a poorly organized event.

    Sorry to hear the race disappointed you, I know I most certainly would have been disappointed myself. Hopefully they will improve upon the race based on the comments made, but I know I wouldn’t be going back if I had gone!

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