I’m sure you saw Gene Sapakoff’s column on today’s front page (if not, here it is.) His interview with race director Julian Smith had lots of good info about this year’s race.
However, as Sapakoff noted, Smith seemed a little perturbed when questioned about last year’s near hour-long delay at the start line, caused by shuttle problems.
I was one of those 36,552 people at the start last year who waited and waited and waited. I was grateful to be waiting with friends, but we were nonetheless antsy.
Now, the Bridge Run clearly doesn’t seem to be suffering any lingering ill effects. There are about 6,350 $45 spots left at this writing. (Don’t forget the P&C has 45 free entries to give away.) They expect regular entries to be sold out by the first week of March or so.
Yes, other races have suffered delays. I remember getting pelted by rain at the delayed start of the Reindeer Run a few years ago. I still went back the following year. And a Run for the Nine fundraiser trail race left people standing in the hot summer sun, waiting for almost an hour as well. But those delays affected substantially smaller groups of racers.
For sheer numbers, this is closer to the 2007 Chicago Marathon, which was cancelled several hours after the start because of extreme heat. (Of course, for the 2013 Chicago Marathon to get off on the right foot, it has to fix its online registration process.) There’s a big difference between a 10k and a marathon, but the more runners you have, the more people there are to talk about how well or poorly things went.
It’s not that people won’t return to a race that suffered from technical difficulties, but they want some assurance that what happened was really an anomaly. And that’s why there were questions to Smith about what was being done to fix the problem. Hopefully, five shuttle pick up/drop off locations will help.
And maybe after this year’s race, the delay really will be, as Smith said, “a miniscule thing.” As a runner, I sure hope so.