Register and Save!

Because why pay full price for anything?!?

  1. Kentucky Derby Marathon and Half Marathon (Louisville, Kentucky 4/25/15): 10% off with BIBKDF10. Registration ends on April 15, 2015, so hurry!
  2. Hot Chocolate 15K Minneapolis (Minneapolis, MN 4/18/2015: Free hat with registration with MINNHAT3
  3. Woodrow Wilson Half Marathon and 6K (Washington, DC 10/4/2015): 10% off with 2015CB10 through 4/30/15
  4. The Endurance Challenge Series (Ontario/Wisconsin/Utah): 15% off with BIBRAVE15
  5. Nation’s Triathlon (Washington DC, 9/13/15): $20 with CHERRY15 through 4/19/15
  6. Race for Respect 5K (Silver Spring, MD 5/30/15): $10 off with CHERRY2015 through 5/26/15

Enjoy!

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Discount Monday: Happy Early Thanksgiving

Race weekends mean expos and expos usually have some discounts!

1. Pittsburgh Marathon and Half Marathon (5/2-5/3/15, Pittsburgh PA): 10% off with PHILLY10PGH15 through 11/28/14

2. Charleston Marathon (1/17/15, Charleston, SC): 10% off with PHIL14 (price increase on 12/2!!!)

3. Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K (4/4/15, Philadelphia, PA): Free hat with PHILLYHAT2

4. City Sports: 20% off a non sale item if a Insider Rewards Member or 10% off if not a member with MARATHON14

5. 12Ks of Christmas Holiday Run (12/13/14, Washington DC), $5 off when you go through here!

6. Route 66 Marathon and Half Marathon: Early Registration discounts to the first 400 runners.  $60 for the half marathon, $70 for the full marathon, $75 for the half/5K, $85 for the Full/5K

Hot Chocolate Columbus 15K….

…yup, you read that correctly.  I ran the HC 15K race series after I swore up and down I’d never run again due to the disaster of Hot Chocolate 15K DC in 2011.  Don’t remember said hot mess of race? Anyone who ran or attempted to run the DC race does, but head over here for that race review.  I had been searching high and low for a race this weekend leading up to the Philadelphia Full Marathon next weekend.  My mom and some of her friends have done this race the past 2 years and had nothing but decent things to say about it.  But when you’re bitter and annoyed, it’s hard to say yes.  I finally caved (with the prospect of free laundry afterwards) and signed up a few weeks ago.  The nice thing about 2 of us doing it is my mom picked up my bib and sweatshirt jacket on Friday so we could avoid the expo on Saturday

I drove to Columbus yesterday and met my mom and sister at church. We had a hotel room for the night to avoid a 45 minute drive this morning and checked in before heading to dinner in Clintonville.  Freshly made pizza for everyone before dropping my sister off at her place and heading back to watch some college football.  We turned in around 1030 and were up bright and early.  We headed over to the race and found a parking garage less than 1/4 mile from the finish (a perk after a longer run).  We jumped in the port a potty lines (or lack there of) before heading to the start, wearing trash bags to keep us warm.

We were in the first of 2 waves (with corrals being released evers 3 minutes or so).  We started on time (which was already better than the 1 hr delay of the DC race for an accident that no one could find a record of) and we were off about 10 minutes after the first gun.  The start was similar to this year’s Columbus Marathon course, which was nice since it was already familiar.  We ran along the river before heading on to High Street.  We were with the 5K runners for the first 2.5 miles, where they split off.  We continued down high street through mile 4 before heading into the OSU campus.  Obviously, students had too much fun watching the OSU game on TV yesterday and too much fun last night, because no one was out.  We ran by the football and basketball stadium, by the Vet school and crossed the river at some point.  Around the 10K mark, I was having mild flash backs to DC due to running next to the highway (in 2011, the first 4.5 miles were on an active highway).  Close to mile 7, we turned onto 5th Ave for a while before running on Neil Ave and Victorian Village.  We passed the road by my sister’s place and waved as she was in her warm apartment.  We ran around Goodale park and met up with the 5K runners again, shortly before mile 9.  The finish was in the arena district (Go Blue Jackets!) with downhill finish (I can’t complain!).  I finished in 1:30:25, not bad considering it was cold and we had flurries for part of the race.  I grabbed some water and went and enjoyed some chocolate at the finish while waiting for my mom.  We drove back to the hotel for the million dollar showers (and some left over pizza for me).

I don’t know how DC and Columbus were run by the same company, since it’s a 180* difference in how things played out.  Columbus was flawless and went out without a hitch and DC was a hot mess.  I would probably run Columbus again to be honest.  I admit, I know how to hold a grudge, but I think nearly everyone still holds a grudge against the DC race (and for that, I will not apologize for).  Bottom line, the Columbus HC 15K is a decent race!

Discount Monday

The nice thing about race expos is that there’s race promotions and discounts.  Enjoy!

  1. UltraFit USA: $5off any 2015 race with UFUSA2015
  2. Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon (Louisville, KY; 4/25/15): 10% off through 11/19/2014 with KDF2015COL
  3. Columbus Turkey Trot (Columbus, OH; 11/27/2014): $5 off with EXPO14
  4. The Heights 1/2 Marathon (Huber Heights, OH; 6/13/15): $5 off with COLUMBUS
  5. Hot Chocolate 15K/5K: 5% off with MRTT5
  6. Jeff Galloway Half Marathon (Atlanta, GA; 12/14/14): 10% off with HOTLANTA

A Response from RAM Racing…5 Days later

Last Sunday, I emailed RAM Racing after their disastrous, hot mess of a race in DC (The Hot Chocolate 15K/5K).  I even blogged about what I wrote to them. Friday, at 6 PM no less, I got a response from them.  This is what they had to say:

Dear Ms. Guenther:

Thank you for your email. We will certainly review each of these points you bring up and figure out how we can make the entire event better from it. Again we apologize for your bad experience, this event did not meet our standards for our races and we promise to learn from these mistakes.
If there are any other concerns you may have, please don’t hesitate to email us.

RAM Racing
D.C. Hot Chocolate 2011
Participant Relations

No name associated with it, just like their anonymous email from their President earlier in the week.  Never again RAM Racing. Never again.

The Race That Was A Hot Mess- A Response To RAM Racing

Dear RAM Racing,

I emailed you a whole host of concerns yesterday after the hot mess that was the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K in DC.  I’m not holding my breath for a response from you, but I have some issues with your apology or lack there of.  Good for you for having 10 years of experience putting on races and having 100 ‘flawless’ races in the past- friends of mine who’ve run the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K/5K beg to differ for the past few years, but that’s another story.

In your apology, you essentially blame everyone but yourself.  You take absolutely zero accountability for things that were well within your control.  The race was far to big for 20,000 runners and should have been capped well before that.  Having a race at a place with no metro access is beyond stupid for a place like DC (take a look at the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile run, the Suntrust Marathon/ Half Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, the Army 10 Miler just to name a few- all are located within walking distance to the subway).  How you handled race day parking was beyond ridiculous.  One lane of traffic in? Are you serious?  And the fact that parking was oversold, parking passes weren’t checked and you never followed your own rules for who should have been let into the parking lots.

You also blame traffic on accidents occurring on the highways leading into the National Harbor.  All the media outlets I checked (news stations, MDOT, etc) have no record of any accidents in the vicinity of the race, nothing on Facebook, Twitter or that showed up on the day of the race.  You provide no record yourself of where the accidents happened and more than a few people have disputed your so called accidents.

Runner safety was by no means looked at in this race.  I’m not sure who’s idea it was to have runners on 2 lanes of a 3 lane portion of highway with traffic in the 3rd lane going 55 miles an hour, but it compromised runner safety in a huge way.  Additionally, a bike and running path for 20,000 people with one side that was stone and another that was a 10 foot drop into the Harbor?  I’m not buying the narrow start leads to a narrow course.

I’m not asking for a refund. Why? Because I’ll never be running one of your races again.  You dropped the ball on this race for me and unfortunately for you, you only get one first impression with me and it was a nightmare.  Make a mistake once, shame on you; make the same mistake twice, shame on me.  I’ll take my money elsewhere to a race that can deliver what they promise.  Your race was a hot mess and an epic fail.

Sincerely,

Christine

An Open Letter to RAM Racing

I’ve never, in all my races, felt compelled to email the directors of the race because of so many things that went wrong.  Yesterday’s Hot Chocolate 15K changed that so RAM Racing got an email from me regarding their fiasco of a race.  Here’s what I wrote:

To RAM Racing and whom it may concern,

Yesterday, I was one of 20,000 runners signed up for the Hot Chocolate 15K and was one of many who was disappointed with the race.  I know that you have probably received many emails from frustrated and unhappy runners, but I felt the need to comment on yesterday’s race.  I’ve participated in 3 marathons, 13 half marathons, 4 10 mile races and multiple races ranging from 4 miles to 9 miles and yesterday was by far the worst race I have ever participated in.  My areas of concern are as follows:
  1. Runner’s Safety– the first 5 miles of the race were on open highway, using 2 of 3 lanes of an active highway lane with moving traffic in the 3rd lane.  I was pushed into cones because of the amount of runners and saw a few runners fall due to runner congestion.  If something were to happen where medical attention would have been needed, there would have been no way for it to get there.  The last 3 miles of the race was on a narrow path with one side being a significant drop into the harbor.  With a race of 20,000 runners, again if something happened, there’s no way medical attention could have easily gotten to the injured party.
  2. Location– I’ve done races in Washington DC before (the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run, the Suntrust Half Marathon and the Marine Corps 10K) and all have been easily accessible via metro and public transportation and in areas that can accommodate the amount of runners registered for the race.  The National Harbor, though a beautiful place to visit, is one of the worst places to have a race in DC because it’s hard to get to and clearly, couldn’t deal with the amount of people yesterday
  3. Traffic– although you claimed the back up leading to the race was due to an accident, I looked on multiple news outlets yesterday and couldn’t find any accidents in the area where runners and volunteers would have taken to get to the race.  I took the shuttle in from Crystal City and we sat on the Wilson Bridge for a good 20 minutes waiting to get into the start.  There were runners who allowed for ample time to get to the race and sat in traffic anywhere from 1-2.5 hours to move only a few miles.  It was such a bottle neck trying to get into the Harbor, it was nearly impossible to do so. Additionally, while on the shuttle, I saw runners who were passengers jump out of their cars to run to the starting area.  Incredibly unsafe circumstances for them to be in.
  4. Communication– both leading up to the race and at the race, I found the communication to be very poor.  The “Fun Fact Friday” emails were beyond confusing of what to in terms of transportation and parking.  Additionally, I requested a seeded corral and had to submit results on 5 different occasions and had to email at least 3-4 times to try and figure out the issue which was by no means on my end, as I submitted PDF results each time I requested a corral.  At the race, the delay in start times were difficult to hear if you could hear them at all and I never heard once of an  official start time for the 15K after it was decided to move back.  I got some information from Facebook on my phone that you posted but I shouldn’t have needed to go that far.
  5. Shuttles/ Parking– I was one of the few lucky ones in that I didn’t have the hour + wait time to get on the Crystal City Shuttles back to Crystal City, but more effort should have been made to secure more shuttles if that was going to be one of your main sources of transportation.  As to parking, many people complained of multiple issues with it.  Since I didn’t go that route, I’m not going to bring that up, I just hope you listen to what those who did are saying.
  6. Delayed Start- never in the many races I’ve done have we had a start pushed back to over an hour later with little explanation.  I’ve been at races where maybe 5-10 minutes of a delay, but not 64 minutes.  The only reason I was able to hear was something about shuttles needing to be moved off the course, which shouldn’t have taken that long to begin with.  I was in C corral and saw at least 5 runners decide to leave because they were sick of waiting or they had other places to be.  As runners, we prep around when we’re told the start is going to be and I was no different.  I was out of water by the time we started and my legs were tight because anything I had done to warm up had gone to waste.

I realize you’re getting a lot of information, but many of us are frustrated.  I spent $65 on registration, drove 4 hours on Friday night and booked a hotel room and was highly disappointed.  As much as I appreciate the volunteers (I’ve volunteered at many of the races I’ve participated in), I don’t understand how the volunteers get sweatshirts and the runners get a low quality jacket.  We would have been fine with a higher quality shirt, tech shirt, long sleeved shirt, anything. Additionally, we were told at 3 pm yesterday an update would be coming soon.  It’s 11 AM on Sunday and we’ve still heard nothing.  I really hope you take this to heart and something is done to prevent issues of this magnitude in the future.  Additionally, something needs to be done for the runners who headed home and couldn’t run due to traffic issues.

Thank you for your time.
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