Over the past couple of years, I’ve come up with a list of things that I like – and don’t like – about races. I’m going to keep it bulleted, just to simplify things. I’m hoping that at least one race director somewhere will read this and contemplate just one item on the list.
Things I like:
- I like same day packet pickup – primarily for running races. The reality is that going to pickup a packet can sometimes be a serious pain. I love it when races offer same day pickup. Especially for smaller races (tri’s included). The Sprint Tri I’m doing this Sunday has same day packet pickup – and it’s got about a 700 people.
- I LOVE good local food at the finish line. Some races partner with local food joints for creative options – burritos, crab cakes, BBQ, etc…
- Posting of results at the finish line (paper). It’s a very simple thing to do – and doing it quickly makes everyone’s lives easier. I like how some races will post duplicate copies on multiple sides of a truck – that way people all aren’t trying to crowd around a few sheets of paper. Even better I saw at the GW 10-Miler they had 42” Plasma screens up in a tent showing real-time results. Sweet!
- I love it when races use electronic timing that uploads to an internet site in real time.
- I like how more and more races are offering a choice in getting a technical shirt, or a plain cotton shirt (and thus charging more for it). My only request is please show an image of the shirt design prior to may laying down more bucks.
- I love races that offer reasonably priced photos. The best example is the photo company that does the Backyard Burn series. It’s just a small single person company – but their rates are reasonable. High res photos for only $3 via e-mail. I’ll actually pay that much. (Regrettably, since writing this draft, just last week he announced he has to take a break from doing just photography due to the economy).
- Prizes! There are a few races that give away TONS of sponsored prizes. The Steelman Tri I did in 2007 was this way. As was the Patriot’s Tri in 2008. And I’m not talking to the winners. Nope – I’m talking random drawing of prizes to random people. Or just throwing them to the crowd. That works rather well in my little opinion.
Things I really don’t terribly enjoy:
This is my list of things that annoy the crap out of me, or drive me crazy. If you want me to never come back to your race again – just do one of the below.
- My #1 biggest complain is race results taking days to post. In this day and age there is simply no excuse for not having race results posted the same day. None. No really – there is no excuse. Never. Did I make myself clear? Never…ever. Plan for it. I’m not kidding…really.
- I HATE when races make you wander around town on a scavenger hunt as part of a packet pickup process. A perfect example is the Nation’s Tri last year. Packet pickup was just dumb. First you had to pickup your packet in the worst traffic area in the middle of downtown (mind you, you couldn’t realistically use Metro – and you had to pay $20 to park). Why couldn’t you use Metro? Because you had to check-in your bike numerous miles away on the other side of town. Dumb.
- Getting shafted for photos. Look race directors – you chose your photo company, chose one that the athletes might actually buy photos from. Some day I’ll post the mother of all rants on sports photos and pricing. I just don’t understand why they charge as much as they do for the downloads (or any photos). Decrease price, increase volume. Ever heard of iTunes, or the Apple App Store? Sell it like candy, not like gold watches.
- Not enough porta potties. I’m not sure why this one is so difficult to grasp. It’s not as though the human race has dramatically changed in their desire to go to the bathroom in the morning before a race. Please – have lots of them! The Philly Marathon/Half Marathon does an awesome job at this. They have enough porta potties to let half the city go.
- Did I mention not having race results posted the same day? I can’t remember if I expressed how critical this is. It’s just a text file – copy it over and upload it. If your website requires some special web admin to upload a text file – then you need a new web site/company. It’s alright if the first day they aren’t super-special-searchable. Just upload the text file. It’s the one which ends in the .txt extension. Occasionally in .csv extension. Got it?
Ok, that’s it! That’s all I can think of for now. There are of course little things that I really like or hate that I’ve forgotten, but when I sat down to write this – these are the big ones that keep coming to mind over and over again.