Friday, May 2, 2014

Crossroads of Northwest Indiana Marathon Race Rating

Race: Crossroads of Northwest Indiana Marathon
Date: April 27, 2014
Location: Lowell, IN
Year Running: 4th
Registration: $60

Race Information
Size: 92 full, 375 half
Course Limit: 6.5 hours
Min. - Max. Elevation: 705 - 745 ft
Min. - Max. Temperature: 38 -61
Charity Supported: Organization for Autism Research

Airports: We drove, but I think the Indianapolis and either Chicago airport would be good options. I would imagine Chicago is cheaper.
Rental car: 100% necessary. The race is in the middle of nowhere, and there's no way from an airport to Lowell.
Host hotel: One - the Radisson in Merrillville. The rate was still $130 a night, and we got a room at the Extended Stay America for $79, with several other similarly priced hotels available.

Communications: Terrible. We didn't receive a single email, and we later discovered most of the information on the website was wrong.
Expo: Fleet Feet Schererville, which is right next to Merrillville. We weren't able to make it, but I got the impression it was just packet pick-up inside a running store, nothing special.
Other Activities: None.

Race Day
Parking: Not a problem. We arrived 45 minutes early and parked right by the start/finish line. There was also additional parking in the subdivision across the street. However, there were no signs or volunteers directing traffic, so the park was a little chaotic.
Shuttles: n/a
Bathrooms: Four, for several hundred people. We were a little stressed about making the start, even though we got in line right after getting our bibs.
On Time: 14 minutes late. For a race with 90 people, unacceptable.
Corrals: None, but not needed.

Type: Loop
Terrain: 100% concrete
Bathrooms: None (despite several being advertised). There was only one spot on the course large enough to use for cover, and it was on private property. Icky.
Crowding: None
Highlights: farmland, lakes
And a chance to call 888-YOFAITH

Course Support: Several aid stations, but the map was wrong and I honestly can't remember how many there were. They only had water and Gatorade, but so little that they needed to ration it, even on a cool day. The water (and therefore also the Gatorade base) tasted like it came from a well, which was really gross to my palate.
Spectators: None.
Local knowledge of race: None.

Food: Bananas, Zone bars in a variety of flavors.
Atmosphere: Lethargic. It was clear the Race Director and her committee just wanted to wrap up and go home. I got the impression we were being a nuisance by being slow. Credit to the ladies handing out medals, they were very enthusiastic and cheered us on at the very end.
Party: None.

Shirt: A nice technical shirt with a key pocket. I'm really bummed they ran out of my size. 
Even Faramir wants to wear it.
Medal: Really awesome, probably the best part of this race. The ribbon is race specific.
Photo: State three is in the books!

Final Thoughts
  • A poem:
    I do not like this race in a box.
    I do not like
    this race with a fox
    I do not like
    this race in a house
    I do mot like
    this race with a mouse
    I do not like
    this race here or there.
    I do not like
    this race anywhere.
    I do not like
    this race.  
  • I think most of the problems are listed above but to condense them and bring in what I discussed in my race recap - disorganized packet pick-up, extremely rude volunteers, not enough bathrooms pre-race, unorganized race start, grossly inaccurate course map, lack of aid stations, no bathrooms on the course, dangerous course in some parts with no shoulders and no course marshals.
  • This problem is too big to lump in above, but I want to make sure to mention it. There was almost no medical aid available. There were a few volunteer firefighters driving the course, but only one part and not in a methodical. There was also zero medical aid at the finish. This could be extremely dangerous if there was warm weather combined with the lack of aid. 
  • Penultimately, the Race Director and her committee were not runners and apparently didn't consult any. I'm sure there's a few issues I forgot to mention, but just know that her lack of expertise showed in a variety of ways. The most notable was her being annoyed runners would not stop at aid stations to drink!
  • And finally, DO NOT RUN THIS RACE!
  • 50 Staters: No.
  • Non 50 Staters: No. Super no.

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