Every time a new race comes to town there are going to be some really awesome things about it and some things that could really use improvement for next year. The Nike Women’s Half was no different.
While I had a pretty great day ( snagging that PR and all ), my mom had the complete opposite experience so I thought I’d share some of the pros and cons of this race.
Expo running for multiple days
This is great for locals who can miss the crowds on Saturday. I heard lines were insanely long on Saturday and people waited upwards of 50 minutes to go their packets. On Friday, my mom and I zipped through in about five minutes.
Tons and tons of porta-potties
This is something Nike nailed. Putting on a race for 15,000 women they knew they needed to have many bathrooms and they did! I didn’t wait in line once and I used the porta-pottie four times (I pee a lot when I’m nervous) including once 20 minute before the start.
Start line accessible from multiple Metro lines.
So much win here! You could get to the start line from just about every color line on the Metro, which means you don’t have to transfer lines and deal with extra Metro headaches on race morning.
Bag check was a breeze
I’ve never used bag check before in a race, but I wanted to check a sweatshirt for after the race so I didn’t get chilly while waiting for my mom to finish. There was no line when I dropped the bag off or when I picked it up. Plus the volunteers were super friendly!
Flat, fast and through some really pretty parts of town, the course itself was awesome.
Finishers shirts and necklaces
I loved the cute finisher’s shirt that you got at the end of the race and well the Tiffany necklace, of course I loved that too.
Not exactly the easiest location to get to since Georgetown isn’t easily Metro accessible. Luckily it was a beautiful day so my mom and I didn’t mind the walk, but if it had been raining that would have been a miserable experience.
The expo itself
I’m used to big expos with lots of different vendors selling all sorts of gear for all your racing needs. Nike’s wasn’t like that. I get they probably didn’t want the competition, but the expo seemed really meh. I wasn’t looking to get my hair or make-up done at the expo, and that’s about all they offered.
Nike ran almost everything through Facebook, and I had a really hard time finding the information that I needed. A lot of times links were broken or didn’t go to where they said they would. My mom doesn’t have Facebook, so she really struggled to get the information about the expo, the start locations and all that stuff. Websites are easy to put together. There’s really no excuse for not having a good one for a race this big.
Hard to get into corrals
There were a lot of people in this race and as the start of the race got closer, it was almost impossible to get into the corrals. People were waiting on the sidewalk, pushing and shoving their way to get in. It was kind of a madhouse. I wish there had been more entrances into the corrals so there wouldn’t have been so much backlog.
No wave start/major course overcrowding.
Nike made a huge deal about starting in your own corral. In fact, you were given a wristband so you could only get into the corral you were assigned to. But then they didn’t do a wave start. So everyone started at exactly the same time and the course was majorly crowded. I saw several people trip and fall because they got bumped the wrong way.
The course was crowded when I went through and I definitely had to watch my footing and where I was going more than I wanted to. No chance to really enjoy the scenery, and it stayed crowded the whole time I was running.
My mom said by the time she started, the course was so crowded that she came to a complete stop twice because the road narrowed so much that people couldn’t get through. She lost at least five minutes in the back ups and was understandably upset. Stopping less than a mile into a half marathon is more than a little frustrating. She also said she spent the whole time watching the ground and the people around here so she wouldn’t fall and never really got to enjoy the sites on the course.
Overall, I had a pretty great experience at the Nike Women’s Half this weekend, but it sounds like the further back you were in the corrals, the less awesome the experience was, and I think that stinks. The experience at a race shouldn’t be determined by how fast or slow you run. I was really disheartened to hear that my mom and several other runners around her thought the $160 entrance fee ended up being a giant waste of money.
Did you run Nike over the weekend? What did you think?