Tuesday, July 1, 2008

SeaFair Marathon a NightMair for 400

400 Miss Start of SeaFair Marathon- Seattle Times

You pick a marathon and train for months. You go to bed the night before full of excitement and nervous energy. You've prepared well and are ready to run.

Get up early, drive to the designated parking area near the finish, expecting to hop on a bus and get dropped off at the start, and off you go.

To your surprise, the line of people waiting for a bus goes on for blocks and blocks. You wait patiently in line, hopeful that an army of yellow buses will pull up at any moment and haul everybody away.

As race time draws closer, it's obvious that the start will be delayed- no way they are going to get all of these people there on time.

Finally, the hammer falls when a staff member announces to the stunned crowd of 400 runners that no more buses are coming, and you are on your own. They are sorry, but welcome to catch a ride to the half way mark of the marathon so at least you get a half marathon of running in. "You should have been here earlier."This is exactly what happened to me and 400 others yesterday at the SeaFair Marathon in Bellevue, Washington.

To be fair, most of the runners I observed were not that upset. But a few were steaming mad, and had every right. Besides not reserving enough buses, the most obvious blunder was allowing family, friends, and other non-runners to board the bus, each and every one denying a registered runner the opportunity to participate.

I was stunned.

I am sure the race organizers learned a valuable lesson- too bad it was at our expense.

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