Saturday, November 19, 2016

Race Report - Milwaukee Running Festival Marathon - Part 1

Just before the turnaround
I've gotten away from race reports after having written so many, but this race was so unique I had to write up a report--a three part report, in fact. The first part will explain the disappointment of the race, the second part will be about how the race actually went, and the third part will be about what's next. The one word to describe this race: disappointing.

So what was disappointing? Around 18 miles into the race there was supposed to be a turnaround on the Hank Aaron Trail. Unfortunately, I ran right past the turnaround. There was a spray painted arrow on the ground that I thought might be a turnaround, but I thought to myself, "there's no way there'd be a turnaround without a course marshal, or at the very least a large sign and some cones."

Turns out, it was in fact a turnaround. Unfortunately for me, I ran almost two miles past the turnaround before actually turning around. I asked one cyclist if she'd seen any runners, and she said she'd seen some coming from the opposite direction, so I thought I might still be OK. Around a mile later, I asked another cyclist and he had not seen anyone.

At that point I knew I had missed the turnaround. When I headed back, there was a course marshal running over to the spray painted arrow to place a cone and direct runners. I found out later that the volunteers who were supposed to be at that spot had not shown up, and some jerk had thrown cones off the course and into the woods.

Eventually I caught up to another runner who had also been affected, though he did not run quite as far past the turnaround as I did. We walked and jogged together until we reached an aid station about 1.5 miles from the finish line. There, we explained our situation to some volunteers. The told us they would get us a ride to the finish, but after waiting for thirty minutes, we decided to just walk to the end.

After the long walk (a mile and a half seems like a long way after covering over 28 miles), I got to see Laura, Calvin, our friend Joy and her son at the finish line. It was super nice of all of them to be waiting for me.

Though it was great to see friends and family, I was still very disappointed with the race. I will say that the race director responded to my e-mail promptly, and he did a nice job explaining the situation. Unfortunately, my time will not be changed. They will, however, refund my race entry.

So there it is--the disappointment that was the Milwaukee Running Festival Marathon. Still, in the scheme of all that's happening in the world and all the real problems people face on a daily basis, this is pretty minor. It's important to keep perspective.

Happy Running.

Part 2
Part 3

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