I’ve waited a while to write this… both because life is a bit chaotic at present, and because I can’t stop thinking “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” And I’m honestly having a very hard time thinking of anything nice to say. But I’m running another half tomorrow, so I should probably get this over with. Shake it off, as Taylor would say, so I can start fresh.
I’m not sure how I would have felt had things ended differently. I might have been able to find some merit in the several miles of hilly switchbacks through Cleveland Park. I might have been able to look past the cruddy run up the giant hill that is Pete Hollis Blvd. I might even have been less focused on the almost non-existent crowd support. But the fact is, I crossed the finish line only to be told they’d run out of medals.
I don’t really get irate. Not more than once a year. But when I’ve just run 13.1 hilly, not very attractive or well-supported miles, and I’m tired, and I’m hungry, and I get sent traipsing up a flight of stairs, then across the baseball stadium searching for my medal only to be told by a very unapologetic race organizer to just email someone about it… I get really, really mad.
Thankfully (for everyone), my marvelous friend who ran it “with” me (and finished 30 minutes before I did and doesn’t actually care about medals) insisted on giving me hers. It didn’t really solve the righteously indignant rage that continued to bubble below the surface the rest of the day. But it did mean I could leave the stadium, go get some awesome pizza, and say good riddance to the whole frustrating affair.
When I did calmly email the race organizers (many hours, a shower, and much food later), I got a sincere apology and the assurance that they hadn’t actually run out of medals. Rather, I was told that a box of medals had been misplaced but was eventually found and then handed out. And they did mail me one pretty quickly (so I could return the loaner to my friend). But it doesn’t really fix things. It was a really crappy way to end the race, and I have a lingering sour taste about it that isn’t really going away.
So, although I imagine this particular problem won’t happen again in future (I WOULD HOPE)… I would not recommend the Spinx Run Fest Half Marathon. I would not run it again, nor would I encourage anyone else to run it.
The course kind of sucks. It’s hilly and most of it isn’t very scenic. There are 2-3 miles of switchbacks that start around mile 4, and those suck. The turn around mile 10 where you have to run up a barren stretch of freeway with just a couple of cones between you and oncoming traffic? That kind of sucks, too.
The swag is mediocre. The shirt is fine, but it runs pretty large. The medals are fine but generic. They only have the year on them, not the date or the mileage.
The crowd support is meh. Greenville isn’t super aware of this race, so there aren’t really people cheering you on.
I will try to give them some credit, though, because I’d prefer to end on a positive note and not just feel like an angry reviewer:
The finish is kind of cool. You finish on Flour Field — running the last .1 miles around the bases.
The volunteers are nice and plentiful.
It’s cheap. I paid $59 in August to run the race in October.