Saturday, September 7, 2013

Umstead 100 Registration Recommended Change

Oh Boy
Shannon and I signed up for the Umstead 100. Yes, we got in.

I feel like I have just loaded my fragile body into a catapult that on April 5th will launch me straight into the ground. But before I bloviate on that subject, I have something to say about the race and registration process itself.

A Gift
Since 2008, Shannon and I have volunteered 3 or 4 times. We have helped crew Tom's Tavern on Saturday evening and then come back Sunday morning to help take it down.
But compared to other volunteers, we haven't done much. Those that are out there at 3:00 am in the morning and taking 12 hour shifts washing dishes, transcribing splits, and/or cleaning toilets deserve far more credit.

I only mention it because volunteering let us see the enormous amount of time and effort that goes into the Umstead 100. The race organizers spend many months preparing for the race, and are out there in the park for 4 days getting little to no sleep.

It is a very popular race for a reason. They could charge $1000 an entry and it would still fill up in 5 minutes (or a couple hours). They could then pay themselves for all the work they do. But they don't.
It's only $190, cheaper than many marathons.

Dorothy Hunter scrubs 200 potatoes a day before
pulling a 24 hour shift running Tom's Tavern
They give this GIFT to the Ultrarunning community. Unfortunately there are only 250 spots available. They could just give it all to elites or their friends, but they don't do that either.

The Registration Process
Instead of a random lottery they have an internet signup that is semi-random. Those who are persistent and click refresh enough, have a better chance of getting in. It's not perfect, and this year there was a small delay for the opening.

But in a way, this was good. Those who really wanted to get in didn't just give up. They stuck around and kept trying. Spots reopened, and if you were persistent you could have claimed a spot 2 hours after it opened.

Credit Barbara Kruger
Facebook Whiners
On the Umstead 100 Facebook site there were a number of people whining and complaining about the following things:
  • They had to keep hitting refresh and their finger was sore
  • The registration was interrupting their long run
  • It wasn't fair
  • Despite years of NOT volunteering, they didn't get in.
  • One person said the organizers "screwed them"

Recommended Change
Here is the one thing I would change about the registration process:

Anyone whining or complaining on Facebook about the race or registration process in any way, shape, or form, is permanently banned from ever running the race.

Why in the hell do you feel it is somehow your right to run this race?
The race organizers don't owe you anything. 
If you are unhappy, why don't you put on your own 100 mile race? I really hope you do.
And I hope someone complains about it.

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