Race #7 for 2011 is done: the Fans on the Field 10k in Denver, CO. This race benefits the National Sports Center for the Disabled – a cause I do feel strongly about. I’ve wanted to run this race for the last 3 years, but…
I was disappointed in this race.
The morning was warm, calm, and clear – good conditions for the run. My sister-in-law was running with me and I was looking forward to the highlights of the course.
Parking was easy to access on the north side of the football stadium. The start area was on the south side of the stadium so our warm up was a jog from one end around to the other.
We arrived later than we planned and so we were in a hurry to find our packets and the start but the starting area was crowded and not well signed. Once we had our bib numbers and shirts, we waited at the start for an inexplicable 40 minute delay. The weather was nice and we weren’t on a schedule, but this is the first race I’ve been in that had such a delayed start.
Almost immediately we saw ‘disabled’ athletes. I saw a couple of lower leg amputees, people in wheel chairs, etc. I was inspired by the abilities displayed by these folks and reminded to appreciate my own small victories – even on the bad days. (And thank you Robin, again, for that very lesson.)
This race is a 10k loop around downtown Denver from the Sports Authority football stadium, to the Pepsi Center, then Coors Field and back to the football stadium. The draw is the chance to run through these professional sports arenas and also see the city streets devoid of cars. It’s a great idea but there were so many runners the pack never did thin out and the entry ways into the stadiums were bottle necked log jams that a person had to either walk or actually stand in line and wait to get into. The unique experience of running outside and then taking a short indoor tour of the arenas was interesting but the rest of the race was very basic. Exiting Coors Field we ran down a service road past a line of dumpsters and the stench was overwhelming.
The aid stations were not well staffed or organized and runners frequently had to stand and wait until a volunteer scooped a cup of water out of a cooler.
At the end we entered the north side of the football stadium and jogged down one side. After crossing the finish, many runners were standing around clogging the way out of the stadium into the staging area under the stands. Once in that area, there was no indication of where to go for the water, snacks and goodie bags being given out and the crowd made seeing what was there quite difficult. Once outside the stadium, the “tail gate party” and BBQ was easy to access. The food was good and, with a sandwich, chips, coleslaw and ice cream, plentiful.
Inside the goodie bag were some coupons, popcorn and a voucher for 2 tickets to a Colorado Avalanche game on one of three dates. The dates included one in the previous week, one that night and one three days later. This seemed a bit difficult to take advantage of but, given that these were ‘free’ tickets, it’s hard to be too dismayed.
It was a good day for a race and the cause was very worthwhile. But the realization of the event didn’t live up to the anticipation. I don’t think I’ll be doing this one again.