Let's Run Folks,
I am a pro triathlete who runs about 70 min for the half marathon. I was part of the group of front runners who went past the turn, but I did get to see how bad the race really was when I back-tracked from mile 9 of the marathon and run in with the 2 hour half folks. I know most on this forum are pretty fast, but its the back of the packers that pay the majority of entry fees and I learned a lot from seeing more than I bargained for.
Please ready my letter to the race director. I have not received a response, so I will air my gripes to you in hopes that this race either does not happen again or it gets a MAJOR overhaul, perhaps new directors!
Las Vegas Marathon Director,
I would like to address several problems that I personally witnessed and believe each were small, but grouped together are unacceptable. I don’t understand how a race of your size can ask for the entry fee it does and not provide a quality race. I will likely never do one of your races again, based on these experiences.
The little things:
-Lack of signs to direct athletes to the expo in a very large resort/casino.
-Packet pick-up ran out of safety pins for the race numbers.
-Lack of signs on race day to direct athletes to anything: start, bag drop, corrals, etc.
-The “sweat’s bag” drop race morning was very poorly run and very difficult to find. There were about six overworked volunteers helping two lines each of over a hundred people trying to drop off their bags. There was no security or even anyone monitoring people picking up their sweat bags, post-race. The entire bag drop operation was poorly executed.
The really big problems:
-The inability to get to the start line. My girlfriend witnessed people climbing and pulling down fences so they could get to the starting corral before the start. It was nearly impossible to get onto Las Vegas Blvd for the start. I personally had to jump a fence to get to the corrals.
-Not directing the first 15-20 runners of the half marathon onto the correct course (I was one of them!) I eventually turned around before the nine mile mark of the marathon and returned to the half marathon course turn-off.
-There were no visible signs or barricades for the half marathon/marathon split. I witnessed about six runners correcting themselves when I returned to the split, which at that point would have been about 70 minutes into the race.
-You did not have enough volunteers at your aid stations in the second half of the half marathon. I witnessed runners having to do everything at an aid station due to lack of volunteers. They were opening cases of water, pulling out jugs of water, putting out cups, filling cups for fellow runners, etc.
-The gel station, well marked by your gel company, did not have any gels being handed-out when I arrived around 90 minutes.
-The highly advertised mile markers (and this is why it is a big deal, your advertising!) were not visible at miles nine through eleven. The clocks were not working for the first several miles (granted I was in the lead groups). However, I did not see one Elvis doing splits. I did not need the Elvis’, but you advertised they would be there.
You are not re-inventing the wheel when it comes to big races. If as a race director, you can not handle or get the volunteers to make a race of your size happen then you, should set a cut-off or not hold the race at all.
I crossed the finish line around 2:03, upset with my 19 mile half marathon, but more appalled by each of the many flaws in your directorship. I ran all the way out to almost the nine mile mark before I back-tracked to the unmarked split. Had I listened to my friends I would have never been on your start line, but I felt I should give your race a fair shot and do it myself. I look forward to your explanations and apologies.
Boulder, CO #18601