I am exhausted, still today. I have really mixed emotions about my race. I did finish and I ran the whole thing, but the race itself ended up being a disaster. I am not sure if they underestimated the number of runners or the effect of the heat and humidity or if they just didn’t know what they were doing, but by the time the 10k race started the water stations were empty. It was 85° with a heat index over 100° and we were running on a bridge with no shade. After about 15 minutes, I was roasting and growing more and more frustrated as I passed each empty station. The only water I had was from a spectator on the other side of the bridge, who had realized what was going on and went to get water for the runners. He poured water into the mouths of runners as they ran past. That was around mile 3. People were collapsing on the bridge, I ran past a woman who being shaded by the shadows of two standing E.M.T.s as she received an I.V. As I was running up the hill on the return trip across the bridge, I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it. I decided to start my music playlist over and pretend that I was just starting the race. I made it up the hill and told myself that if I could do that, I could make it down the hill to the finish line. I had friends and family waiting for me, which helped. I sucked it up and smiled for the finish line picture my mom was taking. My dad met me at the end and gave me a hug. I immediately started crying, I was so angry that the organizers could have left us out there like that. I got my finisher’s medal and my water, took off my shoes and stood in the little kids’ fountain on the festival grounds. Each finisher received a free beer ticket, but it had to be redeemed before 11:00 AM, so I had a beer as we walked home.
My official time was an hour and 30 minutes, which is about 25 minutes longer than normal, but under the circumstances I was just glad to finish. At least 1300 other runners did not finish.
I was not sure what to expect yesterday, but my experience was completely out of the realm of possible outcomes I had prepared for. I am very proud that I was able to finish the race. I also feel like something has been taken from me, the ability to have enjoyed the event. With the exception of the first 15 minutes of my run, it was grueling. I expected the race to be hard and I knew that it was going to be hot, but I also expected the organizers to be prepared and not to put us in danger. I feel sad for the people who were hurt. And I am afraid that other first time racers may be turned off to racing by this event. I am looking for a new 10k to run, probably this fall when it’s a little cooler. And in the mean time, I’ll be buying a water belt.
(I wore my finisher’s medal all day. I figured that I had earned that.)
Here’s an article about the race: