Is the Rock n' Roll Race Series Too Big for Its Own Good
December 05, 2011
This weekend I participated in my second Rock n' Roll race series in Las Vegas. After a less than stellar route in Virginia Beach, I was apprehensive about giving the series another try, but Las Vegas? At night? I couldn't pass it up. Promoted as "The World's Largest Night Race" and a completely sold out event, I knew I was in for a treat. But what I didn't realize was just how huge the event would actually be. With 44,000 participants, I spent most of the race maneuvering between runners on our race to the finish through a poorly planned route passing by unorganized water stations.
But it seems the entire weekend was filled with badly organized races. The owner of RAM Racing issued an apology for the epic fail of its Hot Chocolate 15K in Washington, D.C.
Are races simply growing too fast? Do their quests to become the next big race or break records outweigh having a quality, well-organized race and participant safety? Or are they simply not being smart? For example, while the race in Las Vegas had 44,000 runners there were only approximately, 2,200 volunteers? It doesn't take a math whiz to recognize that there weren't as nearly enough volunteers. If it was a matter of not having enough individuals to volunteer, it was the the perfect opportunity to decrease the city's startling unemployment rate and pay people to man water stations, direct traffic or provide information to confused runners.
I wouldn't call myself a race snob, but when you have thousands of individuals pushing their bodies to the limits, the last thing they need to worry about is whether or not there will be enough water, etc. available. I most likely will never run the Rock n' Roll Las Veg ever again and with another Rock n' Roll race scheduled for March in New Orleans, I hope the Competitor Group realizes its mistakes and make the necessary changes, but more importantly realize that bigger isn't always better.