I wanted to do a separate blog post with my overall thoughts on the race logistics because I think there were definitely things that anyone thinking about doing this race in the future should keep in mind. Mostly, I had a good time, but if you are thinking about doing this race, there are some things you should expect!
1. Lines. They were everywhere, at least for me. From packet pick-up to buying clothing post-race to taking a photograph at the finish, I have never waited in line at a race as much as I did this weekend. And I’ve run several big city races. Obviously, you don’t HAVE to wait in line to buy a finisher’s shirt, or you can try to pick up your packet at non-peak hours. But I’d caution anyone to be prepared to wait.
2. Pace teams. Nike didn’t advertise them, and I couldn’t find anywhere to sign up for them, but I did actually see one pace team on the course (the 2:20 pacer) and saw several finishing when I was waiting for my sister. So, I guess either be prepared to run your own race, or maybe get to the corral early to find the pacer.
3. Water stops. I HATE carrying my own water, but if you think you’re going to be in the middle to back of the pack, you might want to consider carrying your own. I am SO thankful for every person who volunteers at any race, I just think Nike didn’t have enough of them on the course. I’ve read other race reports where people had no problem with the water stops, and I think it really depends on where you are in the pack.
4. Information. There is no website for this race. Nearly everything is run from a Facebook page, which is actually kind of annoying. They didn’t post much in the weeks leading up to the race, so I didn’t pay much attention to them. But they didn’t seem overly responsive to questions on their page. Which is actually kind of weird. To run the whole race interface with runners through social media but then not be very responsive on it. There was a pretty extensive FAQ section though.
5. Corporate-ness. This race may be a large fundraiser for Team in Training, but their is an unmistakable air of huge corporate giant attached to it, at least to me. I mean, they don’t have an expo, they have a Nike branding experience basically. If you want to buy anything, you can… at their corporate store down the street. Do any of the proceeds from the weekend go to Team in Training or just to Nike’s bottom line? How about the race entry fees? I don’t know (I briefly perused their annual report and didn’t see anything.) The corporate feel is not necessarily BAD, especially if you expect that, but it is different. And for some, I know it could be pretty off-putting. As I detailed in my posts, I pretty much bought it hook line and sinker though.
If you’d asked me on Sunday, I would have told you no way was I going to run another Nike race. One was enough of a headache for me. It was mostly fun, but a bit ridiculous at times. My sister remarked that we should cut them a break because it is their first year putting the race on in DC. No. They’ve been doing it for YEARS in San Francisco (and from what I gather the congestion and waiting isn’t any better there). Also, they are a corporate GIANT. There is no reason a corporate giant can’t get a race like this spot on if they wanted to. There are plenty of best practices to model in the industry. I think they just don’t care. They dangle the Tiffany’s necklace and the guys in tuxes giving it to you and women come running, myself included. And that is fine, but the race itself is not a well-oiled machine. It doesn’t really have to be, since the demand is there regardless.
But today, even saying all that, I want to run the San Francisco race. Ron already says he’ll run it with me. He doesn’t mind being one of the “few good men” running a women’s race. It doesn’t hurt that San Francisco is near the top of my domestic travel bucket list. Not sure I can handle two Nike races in one year! Plus, it happens to be on the same date as the Detroit Marathon races, which would require NO travel on my part. So, to be determined!
I am absolutely glad I did this race and have been wearing that necklace pretty much non-stop. The race has been on my bucket list for awhile now, and I’m glad they brought it to DC. If you are thinking about doing this race in the future, I encourage you to do so, but I also want you to go in knowing what to expect!