Have you ever run a race that has been a complete cluster since you discovered the damn thing existed?
You know the one – that time there was one woman, named Bertha, handing out entire bottles of water at the one water stop on the 10K course (a few sips is fine, Bertha).
Or maybe the race where the race organizer, some dude named Frank who refused to get out of his chair, told you the race was 3.1 miles, and it was actually 2.1 miles (and you were told this should “not be a big deal” to you).
Well, after trying to prepare for my one mile race on Memorial Day, I’ve got a wealth of examples of what it means to prepare for an extremely disorganized race.
Level 1: No online registration. Mail in check. Hope and pray that your registration was received. Wait for confirmation in the mail or online.
Level 2: No one confirms your registration. You have no idea if you’re registered. You begin to panic because you want that damn t-shirt, and if you need to register the same day because the mail didn’t go where it needed to go, no t-shirt.
Level 3: Attend early packet pick-up, as advertised on the flyer. Surprise! No early packet pickup. The race organizers canceled it, and they did not inform you. Further panic that your registration did not go through because you were never notified that early packet pickup was canceled.
Level 4: Stalk the parking lot six hours later to see if anyone is carrying a packet. You see what could be a packet, so you call the advertised early packet pickup place and discover that yes, the packets are there. You bike your way to pick it up.
Level 5: Some woman named Janice tells you that they aren’t there. Fight with Janice because you didn’t bike up hills for nothing. Demand the packet.
Level 6: Open the packet that Janice lovingly tosses at you after you demand that you get it early. Discover there is no race bib. Listen to Janice preach about how you will not get the bib until tomorrow. See fire come out of Janice’s eyes as she demands your race receipt. Laugh, because…Level 2.
Level 7: Bike home with race packets, and discover there are no t-shirts. DID YOUR REGISTRATION GO THROUGH? DID IT? DID IT? WHERE IS THE T SHIRT?
Level 8: Call about parking. Get the detailed answer of “I don’t know.”
Level 9: Ask where the mile-long route takes you. Get the detailed answer of “somewhere down the street.”
Level 10: Try to sleep, but panic instead. You still don’t know if you’re registered, still don’t have a race bib, still don’t have a t-shirt, have no idea where to park or where the route will take you, and dread seeing Janice again the next day.