Saturday night we went to Joplin to run an evening 5K. It was on a bike/running path through the woods, starting around dusk. They lighted the trail with luminaries and handed out glow bracelets. Overall it's a fun event and we are looking forward to doing the whole series of 3 races next year. There is even a 10k option if we get abmitious.
That said, our first outing at this venue did not go well. First off, there is no parking at the site. Everyone had to park along the neighborhood roads and walk back. So we spent all our time before the race walking to and from the car to pick up and drop off packets and such. And waiting in line for the port-a-potty. All this time there were announcements being made but they were hard to hear and plus part of the time we were too far away to hear as we were walking to and from the car.
So we really didn't hear them say the 10k runners were starting 5 minutes before the 5k runners. Nor did we hear anything mentioned about the turnaround point. Do you see where this is going yet? So, we inadvertently started with the 10k runners. About the time I hit the water station I felt we should be turning around, but no one else had turned around, there was NO sign and no one was directing 5k runners to turn around. So I kept going for a little bit and still nothing. I really felt something was wrong and stopped to ask one the volunteers directing traffic at a street crossing. We were supposed to turn around at the water station. Great. I had been working on a pretty good time before this happened but when I realized I was not going to get neither an accurate nor a competitive time I slowed up a little. No sense overdoing it for nothing. I figure I would have had a pretty decent time once I accounted for the four extra minutes I ran and the decreased effort I put in on the way back.
Yes, we realize part of this was our fault but seriously, you would think there would be a sign or something, not just a cone? And I know the volunteers in that area were not expecting 5k runners quite that soon but they had no way to be sure exactly when the 5k runners would start showing up and need to be told to turn around so there really is blame on both parts.
We waited around awhile to see hear the results, just in case, but ultimately decided we were really weren't going to place and went to get ice cream instead. Which after all the junk I had already eaten that day really gave me a stomach ache. Long ride home. Went to bed at 12:30 and got up at 6:30 to run agility again. At least the shirts were cool.
I checked the race results online and I still managed to finish 12/40 in my age group and would likely have placed had I stayed on course!