Let me preface this by saying, I love a good fun run, but I think because there are so many out there, the run has to be organized really well in order for it to be REALLY fun.
Nick, our friend Tom, one of Nick’s cousins and I were all signed up to run the Hartford Color Me Rad 5k on Saturday.
I’ll be honest the whole thing started out rough. B decided that he didn’t want to go to bed until really late, like 11 pm, on Friday night. Then he was up off and on from 3:30 until 6:30 and was up for good at 6:30. We were leaving the house at 7:30, so we were not exactly rested.
We had received pack information the week before, and packet pick up was Thursday and Friday before the race, unfortunately we couldn’t get there before late Friday evening, but the race said any team or individual that lived more than 60 miles away could pick up on Saturday morning.
Our wave started at 9 so we left the house at 7:30, Nick’s parent live about 15 minutes away, and hit a small amount of traffic as we got off the highway. We parked and got to packet pickup, here’s the first area that I think could use some improvement.
The first tent had 4 people looking up names/teams and they gave you your bib number then, then they had to put your number into the system, and wrote the shirt size you registered for on the back of your bib. It wasn’t organized by last name or anything. It was just two giant lines.
After you got your bib you went to the second tent to get your shirt & sunglasses, you were supposed to get a color packet, but we never got ours. The girls (4 of them) at the shirt booth were literally sitting around until we got there. I think it would have gone a lot faster if they prepped in advance. If they had put bibs, shirts and glasses in a bag and had you pick up by last name or by team leaders last name.
We ran our stuff to our car and waited for Nick’s cousin, by this time the line for the packet pick up was insane, and the line to get into the parking was backed up onto the highway, which is where Nick’s cousin was.
We got to the field 90 minutes before our start time and we still weren’t able to start with the 9 am wave. This is the second area of improvement. Most races have staggered starts but you are in corrals or they have signs where it says 8 min pace, 12 min pace, walkers, etc… This race had neither, everyone was in a giant clump and they let a group of people go every 15 or so minutes. We ended up going with either the second or third wave. Because of this people would walk 5 or 6 across and block the entire path. Even after being nice and saying excuse me some people refused to move. I ended up just pushing my way through.
At the first color station it was a narrow path so it ended up being bottlenecked and you had to wait to get through. There wasn’t an issue like this at any of the other color stations, but because those throwing the color were volunteers, a lot of them were younger kids, and they had the tendency to peg people in the face. There were 2 stations with liquid paint instead of powder paint, and they were worse they were aiming their jet pack at people’s faces and it had a hose. The girl holding one of these aimed at my face and got me right in the eye, and another one got our friend Tom in the mouth, at the second wet paint station I ended up covering my faces and running through saying spray me anywhere but my face. I think in the future they should make sure the kids aren’t purposefully getting people in the face, especially since this was a family race, and I saw more than one kid being pushed in a stroller.
The last general area that was really lacking was the water station. We were only the second or third wave and not terribly slow. But there was a line. We ran past it and they were pouring the waters to order it seemed. I don’t think they had any pre-set or they just didn’t have enough people manning the water station to keep up. I can only imagine what the water station looked like later in the day.
For the Hartford specific race, they said in the race packet that you could only park through one entrance, and there are multiple entrances to the football field. This caused a HUGE backup. Nick’s cousin was supposed to run with us at 9. She didn’t even get in to race until we were already mostly through the course. The second part is that race packet said it was partially on gravel and if you needed to you could run on the grass. It was all gravel, save form maybe a half mile, and not small pebbles, it was golf ball sized gravel. I tried running on the grass, but it was long and was almost harder to run through.
With that being said we had a fun time, I’ll be interested to see how the race improves over time. I think the race would be even more fun once all the kinks are worked out.
Here we are post race:
My clothes aren’t that colorful, but I think the color had a hard time sticking to the dry tech material. My arms were purple, green and yellow. The underside of my right arm looked like a nasty bruise and the back of my neck was completely hot pink. Most of the color came out in the first shower. Just my “bruise arm” took two showers.
Have you ever run a fun run that needed some improvement?