I have ran in the 5 Peaks race series for 5 years now. I used to think it was the greatest race series and was super impressed by how well it was run. Turn outs were in the hundreds and it was a very well done event.
Over the years it has deteriorated as it has been handed around between people trying to make a go at it. Some years have been better than others. This year started strong with some new managers but the 5 Peaks Cypress 2014 race was step backwards to the poorly management we saw last year.
I have a long list of complaints regarding this race but before I vent, here are the good things:
This year there is no race day registration. Sounds negative but actually it avoids screw ups which occurred last year where they sold out and told people who had not registered to not bother showing up for day of tickets but then sold day of registration. Huge customer service blunder. Making people commit before hand guarantees numbers and helps to organize this. I see it as a positive and don’t mind it.
The swag is better this year with new sponsors. Also, I have to give huge cred to MEC who have stepped up and are offering cold chocolate milk to runners. Sounds like a simple thing but it is huge! The food and drink quality offered by the race organizers has gone down so much I don’t even look at it. Cudos to MEC for having a tent and making so many of us happy!
The communications are better this year. Not only website updates but also tweets explaining route changes and training runs. Nice work.
Now, onto the complaints regarding the 5 Peaks – Enduro – Cypress – 2014 race….
Overall, it sucked balls. While the track last year was superb, this year was terrible for the following reasons:
1. Very poor course markings. I got off course twice and heard many stories about others who got off course. I saw fellow runners confused on the course which cost us all time. This is the first race in which I have seen it this bad. This in itself kills the fun of the race as getting on the wrong path means doubling back and losing time.
2. Low number of course officials. Very spaced out. I went many KMs before seeing a course official. With the high potential for injury this was bad. I helped one person who was injured and luckily a medical volunteer was close by but later in the race it was very far between people. High risk.
3. The uphill was fully exposed to the sun. Having the uphill fully exposed to the sun means everyone is going to be burnt and drained. Why? There are plenty of covered slopes. Why choose this ugly one?
4. The downhill was super loose rock on super steep decline. The worst sort of terrain to run on. Not fun at all as you can’t go fast and it kills your ankles.
5. Double back. Again a very silly mistake. Any course that has a double back is lame. It is even worse if the double back takes place on a muddy, super technical, single track trail. Super lame. I found myself in packs of 20 or so people trying to keep out of the way of people coming at us. Very frustrating.
6. Post race food. There wasn’t much. Sure there was some gummy bears, a few bagels and a box of cookies it was very poor selection. Oh wait I did see some ugly looking oranges too. Come on people. Spend $100 on some decent grub.
Those were my main points. Overall the course was just bad. I am guessing the person who designed it was either new to this or drunk and did it as a lark. I won’t run this track again though so it will likely result in a decrease in profits to the owners of the franchise.
It is a shame as the volunteers at these events are amazing and put their hearts into making these races world class. I wish the management put in as much effort.