Disclosure: I received a complimentary race entry for the Nutrabolt Oktoberfest Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.
As mentioned last week, I kicked off my racing season with the Nutrabolt Oktoberfest Half Marathon again this year, and was really looking forward to a well-run race with awesome swag. Well, Mother Nature had other plans – sadly, they ended up having to call off the race part. However, that made me realize just how much else a race does that makes it successful, so let me tell you about all of the parts that made me love this race even more.
Before race weekend, management was communicative well ahead of time. There aren’t many updates made to the website, so most of their communication was through email (for example, all parking information is sent via email). The race did a great job of notifying everyone via Facebook to check their email, so once I knew to do that, I had everything I needed in my inbox.
Additionally, the race also has social media giveaways just about every week, so there are really great opportunities to win everything from Lululemon to nutrition supplements. I love that they do this because it keeps everyone engaged!
They also partnered with the Stella Hotel in Bryan this year, to give runners a killer rate. I had to sign up a little later and missed out on this, but the hotel is normally over $200/night and it was under $130 a night if you signed up for the race’s block of rooms.
I mentioned last year that the expo was quite small, but they definitely stepped it up this year. It was still small relative to other expos, but they improved on variety and activities. There were booths representing nutrition supplements, head gear, a local running club and a local running store. The race also had a fun photo booth were you could get a nice printout to commemorate the event. Well done, guys!
Race Day Communication
This is where their excellent planning truly showed. When a cold front blows through right at start time, there’s not a whole lot you can do to control the situation, but you CAN communicate. Via social media and email they did let us know the race had been delayed multiple times (first to 8:00, then to 9:00). When we didn’t see any additional updates at 8:45, we figured they were probably only going to have minor delays, as it appeared to be clearing off slightly. We headed to the start line and they had just made the decision to call off the race. It was a bummer, but they made the best of it and ushered us all to the after party, which was still ready to go!
Post-race Party and SWAG
The post race party had all the bells and whistles, with delicious craft beer, plenty of food to go around, and of course, swag. Since I didn’t race, I decided to forgo some of the food this year (I had, after all, carb-loaded thinking I was going to be racing). I did, however, take full advantage of the swag.
They went ahead and handed out finisher medals – not totally sure how I feel about having a medal for a race I didn’t actually run, but it’s really pretty, so I decided not to be legalistic and took it. The medal was large, colorful and complete with a bottle opener. We also received really soft finisher’s tees (in some ways, I’d rather have more of these than tech tees, because they’re so darn comfy) and a sweet tote bag at the expo. They definitely think outside the box with race day swag.
Moral of the story: just because a race gets cancelled doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Race management handled a difficult, unpredictable situation well and I was impressed.
Have you ever had a race get cancelled? How did they handle it?
There’s always next year and I hope to be back. Cheers to that!