Super Sunday 5K – 2014

* From: Julie Gordon

* Event Details
R.A.C.E, “Run Against Cancer Events” developed a Super Sunday 5k was both a 5-mile and a 5k race the morning of the Super Bowl (It took place in Kendall Square – Cambridge, Massachusetts). I was very excited for this race for a multitude of reasons: money was being donated to help those who are struggling with cancer. My brother was kicking off his very first race and had been training for a while. I was in the midst of training for the Boston Marathon and wanted a few races, before April, under my belt.
Unfortunately, the organization and details of the race left much to be desired.
The race has a great deal of potential and I hope they begin planning – now – for next years Super Sunday event. According to regular racers of R.A.C.E, last years event was much more organized and fun. I can believe it – with more volunteers and a bit more effort on the side of those working on this years race, it could have been great.
There was packet pick-up two days before the event but I was unable to pick mine up for personal reasons. I decided to get to the race early and be one of the first to pick-up my packets at 8:30am. As I drove in, I found a parking lot filled with people in bright orange shirts, so I knew I was at least close to the correct parking location. When I asked the volunteers where I could park, they shrugged and continued to speak to each other in a large group. Thankfully, one of them decided to ask a man who seemed to be a director. His statement to me was “the lot is obviously not here”, which in turn seemed a bit strange. He then directed me to a road filled with people and a big sign that said “no parking”. He assured me it was a place to park despite the sign and provided me with the advice: “try not to run anyone over.” He did not ask people to move away from the entrance of said parking lot and, instead, walked away. I was stuck in the this lot and had to maneuver my vehicle around the groups of volunteers, even when being kind and asking them to “excuse” my car. It was stated on their website that there was free parking but there were no signs leading to where it may have been – people had to assume where it was being offered. (One parking lot was for the after-party, the second was for the parking.)
The volunteers handing out long-sleeved shirts, gloves, and hats/ear-warmers were extremely kind and helpful. I had forgotten if I pre-ordered a shirt and they offered to look for my name on their lists. (I did pre-order, yay!) My excitement began to come back as I found my brother and friends; we discussed plans for the Super Bowl later in the evening.

* Race Details
The beginning of the race started as any with individual runners plugging in their ear-buds, pressing buttons on their GPS gadgets, and getting ready to face the morning. As we ran, the traffic was stopped at various parts of the race. Some cars were still driving through as people were running. Drivers were yelling out their windows, cursing, and becoming frustrated over not knowing the roads were closed. Some drivers drove out onto the roads anyway if there were no cops present. It is not necessarily the fault of the race company but it may have been important to have signs or some kind of notification.

Upon returning from the race, everything was let loose. There was no organization as to where runners should have gone, no specific lines on how to get to the after-party, nor lines to be able to productively grab a bottle of water or bananas. The lines for bag check and entering the after-party were one in the same. It took almost 20 minutes just to figure out which line we were in. We eventually found a line and were given bracelets in about 30 minutes. By the time we had entered, they opened two more lines but there was still a mosh of people – people were able to get in front of others who had been waiting an many people left with frustration.

The after-party was so crowded that I waited over 40 minutes with my brother and his girlfriend to grab a beer, even though I was not having one myself. Food ran out at 11:00am (the race began at 10am). I was not able to reach the tents for NRG Bar or Core Power which are regular tents that I visit during my races because of the confused and disorganized chaos. Around me, many frustrated runners decided to leave and have their own “after-party” at home. I decided the same, after waiting the 40 minutes and being nowhere near the tent.

I love the shirts, the gloves, the hats, and I appreciate the workers and volunteers who did the best they could to make this a great event. I would be happy to attend next years event (it’s still for a good cause) and see if they had learned from this years difficulties.

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