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We are determined to give you a race that is fun, competitive, and fair for everyone. Therefore, each year we look at your feedback and the RRCA survey to make improvements or corrections. Below is a summary of what we heard and what we are going to do to improve our event.
The good stuff: Atmosphere, Podiums, Photo opps, no shirt option, and Heats.
People seem to love the fast paced, fun atmosphere so we’ll certainly continue this and find ways to keep it fun and exciting. The podiums for awards with our Go! Mile backdrop are a throwback to our track and field days and give winners of awards the special recognition they deserve. But they also provide great Photo opps before and during the event. Take a Go! Mile selfie with your running buds! We are often complimented on having the option to enter without getting a shirt. The biggest differentiator of our race is that it’s run in 7 heats. We always get great feedback on how mom can watch dad, dad can watch mom, then both can watch the kids together, and people finally get a chance to watch the Elites finish!! We also hear that women enjoy being in a race with just other women!! We thank you for your kind words!
On the not so good side, the main issues are grouped into a few areas: The Course, The Cost and Shirt, Running Two Heats, and Timing.
The Course: Some people prefer the original Burns Park course. It was great but we cannot get a guarantee that a soccer schedule won’t kick us out at short notice so it’s downtown to stay, and many runners love that. We hear you that there are several turns on the course (only 1 more than Burns tho’) but to complete a mile downtown it had to be a loop and the turns couldn’t be avoided. A mile race is very hard to run on an out an back, too. The Elites would have to take a tight hairpin turn at near 4 minute mile pace, that’s 15mph!! And yes, there are two uphill sections, we admit. However, there are also two downhill sections!!! One concern was about traffic control and we take that very seriously. We added an eleventh police officer in 2017, and we’ll do everything we can to prevent issues in 2018. Extra barricades, more communication with police, and more volunteers will be added on course. Some folks didn’t see the 1/4 mile split markers and we will make those much more obvious this year.
The Cost: This race is $20 without a t-shirt, $10 for Under 18, free to a kid whose parents run, and just $5 for additional kids. We sell t-shirts as a option for $10. We do this to reduce the cost for people who enter many races per year and simply have too many shirts. We looked extensively at the cost of other races and found we are right in line with them and those in the Grand Prix. We had comments that it is expensive for “such a short race” and we’d like to address that. When you put on a race the cost for your venue, police, ambulance, insurance, awards, timing company, and shirt is the same no matter what the distance of the race, maybe with the exception of full and half marathons. Police and ambulance have a 3 hour minimum for example. Aid stations in most races use donated supplies and volunteers and therefore do not add cost to a longer race. We also donate proceeds of the race to a scholarship fund. We focus heavily on giving value for money and strive to put on a world class race for as little as possible.
Running Two Heats: Some Age Group runners last year encouraged beginners to run in the First Mile. We applaud you for that. The issue was that the First Mile was first in the schedule and any Age Groupers running with their timing chip would trigger a result in the wrong heat and potentially cause a problem with accuracy of (all) results. We have worked with the timing company to ensure the chip will only register in the event you run, but we have also moved the First Mile to after the Elite race. We did this to help the issue of a timing chip being used in two heats, but mainly to move the start time of the First Mile from 7am to 8:40am to make it more attractive to those who (currently!) don’t consider themselves “runners”.
Timing: We had several comments about why we don’t have timing mats at the start line. This would make the races “Chip Timed” vs “Gun Timed”. The concern was that with 100 runners in the Over 40 heat, it might take 3-4 seconds to cross the start line in a race that is all about minutes and seconds. First, we cannot use a start mat in the Elite race because RRCA rules dictate that the top 3 overall positions must be determined by gun time only. Imagine the confusion if you watch the Elites in a close finish and later find out that the winner actually lost because the runner who crossed the finish second started a row or two back at the start! Second, because the way the results work if a runner in the Men 39 and Under heat ran a faster time than one of the top 3 men, his result would be Chip Timed and therefore not eligible. Third, we love the mass of people who watch, walk, and cheer near the start of the race – it’s exciting. Many of those people are wearing a chip on their shoe for an upcoming heat which means we could get a ton of false reads from chips of people standing or walking hear the start unless we add a lot of fences and barricades. Again, this has serious repercussions with the accuracy of results. Lastly, very few races in the GP use chip timing for some of these same reasons. Yes, the mile is about minutes and seconds but it’s also about racing person to person.
We will not utilize start mats this year, but we will make some changes to how we start the race, like eliminating a countdown to keep it fair. If you think you are too far in the back, please push your way up further or ask one of us for assistance.
Thanks to everyone who gave us feedback, the good and the bad. We need it to keep the race up to the standard we all expect: me, my committee, runners, and spectators alike.
Yours in Running, Gary Taylor