I find it quite entertaining to read the Facebook pages of races after they have finished, just to see what kind of silly things people are complaining about. As you may know, today the Run To The Beat half-marathon was held in Greenwich, London. I ran, but more on me later. Of course, because there is probably big money in sponsorship for an event like this (and other reasons, I’m sure…) bigger events often have their own Facebook pages* that inevitably posts something like ‘You guys are amazing! Like if you ran x today!’ alongside a picture of very good looking and non-sweaty people at the finish line, with – suspiciously – no other runners in the background. Now, that’s all well and good, but the real fun is to be had in the comments section.
Common complaints from today ranged from water in cups (a worthy complaint, I feel, it’s a silly idea and no one can run and drink from a cup at the same time!), to buses being incorrectly numbered in the race guide, or buses named that were not running (no sympathy at all for runners who had this issue, here’s a tip: tfl.gov.uk!). The most common complaint seems to be ‘my Nike+/Garmin/fob watch says the distance was too long/short/pink/fuzzy’ leading me to believe that there are a lot of people who don’t get that races are measured by shortest possible route by very accurate means and that wrist/arm mounted portable GPS systems aren’t reliable to the exact millimeter.
People seem to think that they are owed something, especially when they have paid for an event. Of course, I think that these people don’t consider the cost of the putting the event on when they think they haven’t got their £50 worth. Security, road-closures, bus diversions, venue hiring and the insane number of things that go along with a large scale event of any kind. These things aren’t cheap. Having said that, if a small locally run half-marathon can manage water in bottles, so can you!
Any way, whinge about whinges over. Race report will follow soon!
*Smaller events do as well, of course, but I have personally found that they are more likely to be used to get information to runners, spectators and volunteers, as well as for runner-encouragement, rather than as blatant advertising space for one major sponsor.