Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's been a week since El Scorcho Dos, so I figured it's time for a few thoughts on year two of putting on a midnight ultrarun. From my vantage point as co-RD, this year's race went much smoother than the inaugural El Scorcho. Despite the fact that we doubled our field to 400 entrants, it was less organizationally-challenging because we had done it before. Our volunteers come almost exclusively from Team in Training, and they are hands-down the best folks in the world to staff a race. They are enthusiastic, dedicated, and, best of all, athletes themselves, so they know how to cater to the runners. We had more than 30 Team in Training volunteers that kept El Scorcho on track all night and into the morning. We will be making a nice donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society soon.

We did, however, have several DNFs and a few medical issues during the race. Unlike last year, it hadn't rained in weeks, and the mercury was high. Thankfully, no one suffered any serious injuries; mostly cramping and some nausea. We did have one lady who tripped and cut her lip. Dr. Herrera and his medical team responded like lightning and were able to tend to her immediately. As she was catching a ride to her car, I told her I was sorry she had fallen. She stopped me right away and said, "Don't apologize to me. I'm the one who is sorry. This is such a great race you guys put on. I just wish I could've kept running. I'll be back next year!"

I've been checking the internet for race recaps, and about 99% of what I have seen is positive. I've only come across three complaints.

First, a few folks were upset about having to park at Farrington Field as opposed to inside Trinity Park. Last year, we had problems with faster runners and 25K participants finishing earlier than the 50K entrants and driving through the park and across the course, sometimes right in front of runners who were still running. With twice as many entrants, we made the decision to keep the park completely closed to traffic, except for official race vehicles. We picked Farrington Field because it is big, has ample parking, and its back exit is a 1/4 mile from the main race pavilion--I know because Jballs and I clocked it with his GPS.

Second, a saw one person who was disappointed in the post-race food. We had pasta donated by Pizzeria Uno and bean and cheese burritos donated by Fuzzy's Taco Shop. The bean and cheese burritos went quickly, but the pasta was available until the end. We even donated a few leftover trays to the homeless shelter. Anyway... sorry if you didn't like the selection. It's hard to arrange for food for 400 people to be delivered in the middle of the night. We did our best, and I thought it was pretty good stuff.

Third, and this one really baffles me, at least one runner was upset with the medals. Yeah, that's right. The medals. I have three things to say about this. First, if you're running the race for the medal, you might want to re-evaluate your whole reason for running. Second, I think the main finisher's medal looked pretty cool. I've run lots of marathons/ultras, and I'd say our medal--while not up there with NYC or Marine Corps--is still pretty respectable. Third, our 50K finisher's pin--which you get in addition to a finisher's medal--is damn cool.
In the end, I feel good about El Scorcho Dos. And for those who have never organized a run or volunteered, you should do it. It will give you perspective on races and offer a new found respect for the folks who spend days, nights, weeks, and months tending to all of the little details that you probably never even considered.


Just12Finish said...

I'm glad the burritos were popular because I had a lot of pasta - it was good!

Anonymous said...

Thank You so much for a GREAT race, I knew it was way too hot to go for a PR, so I just ran!
I'm coming back next year.
I did fell down at my third loop, no big deal, I got up, no scratches at all and kept going!
I loved the shirt! Medals are not a big deal for me, is not like I'll be wearing it every day:))

Thanks again.

Blanca Gonzales.

Kevin said...

Dude, let me say this... I don't have one single complaint about the race. i had a blast and only wish i had trained a little better so i could feel as good at the end as i did until mile, ohh, 10 or so.
this race rocked. you and your organizers rocked and so did the volunteers. (i admit, i didnt eat the bean burritos or the pasta afterward. but it had nothing to do with the food selection. i was feeling a little nauseated from the race)
cant wait till next year.

Mark said...

Just my $0.02 :

1. Farrington Field was the obvious choice for parking. Lots of space, easy access, it really wasn't that far, and as a 50k runner I am very glad parking was off the course.

2. The post-race pasta was really good.

3. I really don't understand this one - there are plenty of ultras that don't give any kind of finisher's premium. I liked the medal, and the 50k finisher's pin was a great idea and a very unique twist.

I've worked several trail races and know how much work goes on behind the scenes that most runners never see or even realize. I also know that in every race you do there will be at least one "moaning minnie". Nothing you can do about it - it's just a fact of life.

Derek said...

Loved the race and it was my first Ultra. Finished just before 7am and there was still food to be had; the bowl of pasta I had was great and picked me up. Looking forward to next year!!

Anonymous said...

el schorcho is awesome! i thought it was very well organized. i will do it again next year. had a great 50k run!


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