Wednesday, September 05, 2012

(Not so) Awesome 80s Run

So like there was this bitchen’ 80s run at the Rose Bowl ya know? And like everyone was wearing these totally tubular outfits and stuff, like neon everywhere, it was wicked awesome. But then the race director was like mr. bufu and was all “so like there are too many people here, so we gotta delay the race” and I was all “not even!” and he was all “even!” But whatever. So then we like started running and they totally ran out of water. Like I’m sure, no way. It was totally bogus.

Yes, this weekend was the “Awesome 80s 5k/10k Run” at the Rose Bowl. I was pretty excited about it all summer. (Not excited enough to really train for it, but still excited.) I was very impressed when I arrived at the race site - there were neon colors EVERYWHERE. People really went all out with their outfits; I’d say 95% of the runners were wearing at least some form of 80s garb. It was great audience participation. Tri Team Margaret was decked out in full Robert Palmer chick makeup which held up surprisingly well after the race!

I was very excited to wear my Oakley shorts. Their true colors cannot be captured through digital imagery; I bought them (and matching jacket) in 1988 in Lake George. They are simultaneously green and purple and pink and are awesome. And yet, I looked boring compared with most of the other outfits there.

(With IronmAnnie & Tri Team Robert)

I did however run with an authentic 80s Bolle fanny-pack that I stuffed with an iPhone and some external speakers so I became a mobile DJ. I had a playlist of mostly TV-and-movie themes from the 80s: Magnum, Footloose, Miami Vice, Weird Science... I became a bit of a Pied Piper because people wanted to run with me to be near the music. I heard two girls behind me say “we need to keep pace with him!” (they could not.) Then later, two other girls passed me and said “you need to keep pace with us!” (I could not.)

Unfortunately, this was probably the worst-organized event I’d ever been to. Let’s start with the fact that the website said the 10K started at 8:30 when it was actually 9:00. No big deal, it meant we got there a little early and got a great parking spot. Fine. There was supposed to be a live band with some pre-race music before the 8:00 5k start, but they had some sort of technical problems and couldn’t get the speakers working or something. They wound up using an iPod hooked up to what sounded like a boombox that was just awful.

As the couple-thousand 5Kers lined up for the start, apparently the police told the race director that there would be too many people on the course - they didn’t pay to have the road shut down, so everyone had to run on a shoulder. This meant they had to do a spontaneous wave start for the 5K, which is the kind of thing you’d think they would have worked out ahead of time. When it was time for the first wave to go out, the race director gave a “3-2-1-GO!” countdown over the boombox, but of course no one could hear him. It was like a game of Telephone, with people literally yelling up to the front of the corral “GO!”

They waited about 10 minutes between waves, and this created a problem. You see, the start line was also basically the finish line. Which means we still had a couple thousand people blocking the finish when the fast 5Kers came through. Again, something they should have thought about ahead of time. They managed to clear a lane for the finish zone, but it was awkward to say the least.

I started my race around 9:30, which is a pretty late start for a race in early September in Los Angeles. It was hot. There was only one water stop at mile 1.5, which meant we hit it again on the second loop 3 miles later. That’s too far. And I’m told at one point they ran out of water and had to restock everything. 

They also ran out of water at the finish line. Hundreds of people came running in from the heat and had nothing to drink. That’s the first commandment of race organizing: Thou shalt not run out of water. They ALMOST made up for the lack of water with the very cool finisher’s medal:

I heard the live band start playing music around 11:00 as we were heading back to the car. Maybe they did an earlier set, but I think I would have heard them as I was finishing the first loop. I was among the last groups to start running; by 11:00, most people had been done with their race for at least an hour if not two hours. The band shoulda been playing when that first 5Ker crossed the finish line but there was nothing. So we had an 80s run with hardly any music, and hardly any water. 

It was a horribly organized race that was saved (barely) by the enthusiasm of the crowd. I’m hoping they give it another shot next year and learn from their (many, MANY) mistakes.