Whhhyyyy do certain organizations claim their race is in a certain city when it is miles/hours away? Now I know that Boston is the major city in Massachusetts - Thank you Thank you! <<takes bow>> - but WHY must races lie to the participants about where the race is actually happening. Massachusetts residents know where Boston is and where say Brockton is (35 min South if no traffic) so just be honest with the people paying to take part in your race.
This rant was fueled by the Ugly Sweater Run, which I took part in on Saturday, November 29.
Now I had the joy of winning a free entry through Sue Parke's blog. Thanks again lady! So neither the wife nor I paid the participate in the Ugly Sweater Run... and I am wicked happy about that after the experience we had. My wife ended up getting free entry after one of the other winners couldn't attend.
In case you aren't near a calendar, the race was on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. The day prior - Black Friday - I realized I had nothing to wear for said Ugly Sweater Run ... and promptly freaked. I don't like to miss an opportunity for a great theme. So the wife and I walked across the street to Assembly Row to try out luck at KMart. Well we found a cute snowman vest for $9 that we thought we could ugly up. After waiting in what felt like lines for hours (it was the afternoon of Black Friday) we headed to Christmas Tree Shops to get some Christmas decorations for the vest. Well it was there that I spotted it. An amazing tree skirt ($10) that I could turn into an ugly sweater with some safety pins. DONE AND DONE! :)
With a successful shopping trip, it was time to head home and put the whole ensemble together.
Now the race had sent out zero emails about the run so it wasn't until that night that I learned 1) they did have early pick up but only on Black Friday at the Arsenal Mall (a mall on Black Friday, really?) and 2) we would have to pay $10 for parking (Whhaaa??). The race was being held at the Brockton Fairgrounds, which had a ton of open space for parking so not sure why the charge.
The race was at Noon and we needed to pick up our packets so we headed out around 10:15am so we could hit Dunks first. I don't normally drink coffee before a run, but I knew this one was un-timed so I wouldn't be racing racing this one. We arrived, paid our $10 and parked with the masses. It was a chilly chilly morning! Brr... We opted to quickly run through packet pick-up and hide in the car for as long as possible. ;)
I loved the hat and bag they gave out at the race. Oh and a temporary mustache tattoo. Ha. Creative and different, which I appreciate.
The wife was going to be walking the race with our friends Beth and Aimee so we finally left the warm car just after 11:30 to find the crew. There was a great crowd on sight with awesome ugly sweaters! I felt underdressed compared to some. There were adults, kids, strollers and dogs. It truly was a family affair which was awesome and a great benefit of un-timed races. It takes some o the "pressure" off the race especially for first-timers. :)
The Start Area/party space featured some cornhole/bags/whatever you want to call it. The Start Line was right next to the Finish Line.
We made our way through the inflatable Christmas tree forest to the start corral. I left Tori with Beth and Aimee and tried to sneak my way up as close to the front as I could. The group would be let off in waves.
Now I had no idea what the course would be. After the race I looked up what they posted online. Here it is:
Yes a little confusing, but we basically did laps around the Brockton Fair Grounds.
The MC counted us down from 10 and Wave 1 was off. I just wanted to see how long the race was since it was being tagged as "approximately 3.1 miles." As I went under the Start arch, I started my Garmin.
We were off through the muddy Fair Grounds. It was like running through an uneven field. I didn't know it would be an offroading type race. ;) I should've worn an older pair of running shoes, but you live and learn.
As we came off the grass during Mile 1, we transitioned to paved road. When we went to pavement, I thought we would be heading out into the city streets ... nope! We continued in the Fair Grounds. It was at this time I finally put two and two together that the entire race would be happening within the Fair Grounds. Interesting.
I couldn't pass up a selfie! The sign right before the inflatable reindeers said "Reindeer Crossing." Wicked cute.
Just passed the reindeers was the first water and hot cocoa stop.
I definitely took the time to stop and enjoy some hot cocoa.
Now you don't have to worry, I didn't burn my mouth - it wasn't really "hot" cocoa by the time we got to drink it. ;) But I enjoyed the thought.
Mile 1: 8:50
It was just after Mile 1 that I realized there was no way we could hit 3.1 miles within this Fair Ground.
We continued weaving through the Fair Grounds and along the parking lot.
I can't pass up a chance to get a good pic with the photographers... and The Ugly Sweater Run did provide free race photos, which was pretty sweet.
I wish I had pulled up my sock, but the tree skirt makes one sweet poncho!
Mile 2: 7:59
The benefit of weaving through such a small space was being able to see all the other participants and their kick ass costumes! Also hearing some of them contemplating whether the course would hit 3 miles or not. :P
Before I knew it, we were coming down the Finish Line chute.
I hit my Garmin just after the Finish at 2.50 miles. I could see the girls around me debating whether they would just go run through the parking lot until they hit 3.1 exactly.
I thought about it for a hot second and instead went to pick up my free post-race beer. :P
I was wicked happy to see the post-race beer was Sam Adams!
It was a tough choice, but I opted for Octoberfest! :)
I enjoyed my post-race beer, while cheering on others and waiting for my girls to finish.
I even spotted my friend Derly! That is one SWEET Ugly Sweater lady. :)
By the time the ladies finished, the beer line was wrapping around the Finish Area. The wife opted to skip the beer line and head out to find food. We snapped a quick group pic and headed out.
I was disappointed in how long the beer line had gotten. I hate when not all race participants have the same experience. You know what I mean?
We bundled back into the car, stopped at Dunks and headed home.
Overall I was disappointed in the Ugly Sweater Run. I really expected a better course - more scenic maybe - and a race actually in Boston. I entered the giveaway because it said Boston not Brockton.
I hope a good amount of money was raised for Save the Children.
The website claimed the following: "A closed course full of Hot Chocolate aide stations, snow blowers, and the biggest Santa inflatable around will await you."
There was 1 hot chocolate station, no snow blowers and one inflatable Santa near the Start... that was it.
I'm not sure if they misplaced some of their equipment or what, but I expected more Christmasy stuff or stuff in general during the race.
It did look like folks were having a lot of fun and hey I can make any race fun, but I just expected more from the organization with what they had written on the website.
Would I do it again? I would need to know how much of the money is going to charity before weighing in with a decision.
Have you ever done The Ugly Sweater Run?