Last Saturday I attempted to run in a 5k race, but instead ran into the most disastrously mismanaged race that I have ever seen. Given how well I have been running lately, I thought that there was a chance for me to finally run a sub 20 min 5k, but unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to find out.

The race called itself the Roc Run for summer learning and was supposed to consist of a single loop around MCC. Things began to go wrong at the starting line. To begin with the starting line was not marked in any fashion. The number of runners was small enough that chip timing was not required at the start, but there was literally no mark as to where we were supposed to start. Even on the trail races where the start is loose, and the distances are approximate there is always some rough indication of where to begin.

So we blindly wander over to near the starting location where we are informed that a stroller group will be starting five minutes before us. They take off, and we roughly fill in where they had been and about two minutes we take off. The race starts off well, they have a car leading the way, and the stroller runners do a good job of moving to the side and letting us by.

Just before the two mile mark we turn into a parking lot a little bit earlier than I thought we are supposed to. I don’t worry to much and assume that I just forgot a detail on the map. About half a mile later we are directed onto a foot path and I know for sure that we are not following the map. At this point I am kind of annoyed that that they didn’t tell us about the changed course, but I am still assuming that it is going to come out to 3.1 miles. They are running us by the finish line (in the opposite direction) so I am looking forwards to getting a peek at the clock to get a rough idea of my time. It probably goes without saying that none of the miles were marked, but I have a rough idea of how far I have gone.

With the knowledge that there should be roughly half a mile to go, I keep looking to my right to see where the race leaders are so that I can get some idea of the new course. However I don’t see anyone. Eventually we instead turn left and start running around the campus buildings a second time. At this point I realize the only possibility of the course actually being five kilometers is if both my distance estimate is off, and they they end the race with us cutting through a building and crossing through the path of the slower runners. Even given how poorly organized the course has started off, I doubt that this is the direction of things.

Around the 3.5 mile mark, I begin lapping runners who are on their first and only loop. Presumably at this point the faster runners had realized how wrong things had gone, and began redirecting the much slower runners onto a path that at least approximated 5 kilometers. I carry on, and eventually cross the finish line after 29 minutes. Afterwards I recreated the course online and found that I ran a bit over 4.2 miles.

Yet afterwards the race volunteers were just carrying on as if nothing had gone wrong. The race organizers (having already collected the money) were no where to be found. Attempts to get my registration fee refunded have been met with no response. This race has been by far the most disorganized and disappointing event that I have ever been to.