Lake Minneola Half Marathon
Lake Minnelola Half Marathon aka worst organized race I have ever seen was a very interesting race. As a former event planner I have a hard time not finding the flaws and missing items at events. But yesterday’s race made them quite apparent.
I picked Jess up at 5:30 to make the 45 minute drive to Clermont. We arrived and had to park in a dirt lot. No biggie but no signs directing anything, luckily we just followed the hoards of people. Packet pick up was easy but I was surprised they didn’t have it organized with signs. Apparently I like signs. We got our packets and waited to meet a few friends to do some swapping. We then discovered we had no pins. Luckily we were right by the registration and jetted in. We hit the porta potty (which there were plenty of) and jetted back to the car to finish getting ready. At 6:56 we left the port a potties for a second time to make the start line which was approximately 1/4 away. We were running for it only to discover we were headed straight for the front of the line. We hopped in the back and expected to start soon, but instead we waited, and waited. Luckily it gave us time to find our other friends and take some photos.
Then we realized time ticked by before finally some guy on a bullhorn told us he couldn’t bring the PA out because of the drizzle. After a moment of silence and a half pledge towards a far off flag we were finally off. I took off strong and fast but no matter what I could slow down. For 5 miles I told myself to slow down and was going an average of 10:45min mile. I finally slowed down at mile 6 to a 11:10average. Yesterday I skipped my intervals and walked the water stations. At mile 11 I started faltering. Running around the lake for almost 7 miles and being able to see the finish and not feel you are getting any closer is difficult. I wish I had taken a picture of the lake and the size. I started walking a hill, I was hot, tired and knew I would be off a PR by a little. The wind off the lake was a blessing and a curse. It cooled me down but made it harder to run. An older gentlemen came up next to me and told me it was the last hill and started talking to me. God bless that man! I gunned it the last mile at 10:07 and crossed the line according to my garmin in 2:20. A 2 Minute PR!! BUT there was no finish clock and my garmin read 12.8 miles. Does it still count as a PR?
I received my medal and hopped in the line to pickup my medal for being a dual Finisher. I grabbed some cookies and fruit and waited with Nicole and Kristen for the other girls.
I am so proud of Jess for finishing her first half marathon despite a knee injury.
Moms Run This Town Central Florida Chapter
Now the race may sound like everything was fine but here is the reality. It was a poorly organized and unsafe course.
Confused, yeah I was too! When I headed out at the lake split the front runner was coming down the trail screaming for someone to tell him where to go. There was no Race Staff there, only a police officer directing traffic. Lucky for him a bystander knew where to send him. At the H2O station on the trail there was not one volunteer. There was a police officer blocking traffic for the road though. Once I hit the road around the lake I noticed that although the police stopped people from driving in the lane we were running in there was traffic on the other side of the road.
When Jess finished just under 3 hours they had run out of medals. They say they are going to mail it to her. I felt awful for her since it was her first race and though not as fast as some she still wasn’t the last across the line. They were short at least 40 medals if you ask me. Then we noticed all the food was gone and/or packed up already.
Oh and as I said the course measured short. Not just on my garmin everyone has said the same thing. The Orange Blossom Half measured long, seriously Sommer Sports!!
The shirts, they claim to be Tech Tshirts but since when is a Tech Tshirt 70% cotton? Although I hate paying more for races I guess I will have to suck it up and start shelling out more money. After 2 races put on by Sommer Sports I am not impressed and don’t plan to run another anytime soon. The worst is that when people complained on Facebook the company did not apologize for running out of medals but instead gave an excuse regarding how they take 6 weeks and they had ordered 800. I guess I should add there was no way to distinguish 5k, 12k and Half participants and all of us received the same medal.