Dear NYRR, you can do better.
I am a huge fan of the NYRR races and I have been a member for several years. I typically highlight how amazing they are from how flawlessly they run bag check to how promptly they start races. You also know from previous race recaps that it really doesn’t take a lot to satisfy me as a runner. This Saturday, however, I left disappointed.
I ran this race last year as a member of Team for Kids and I was looking forward to running it again. I learned a few lessons from last year which included making sure you buy parking it advance, arriving earlier than you usually would for a race, and be ready for the heat.
I headed into the city on Friday to pick up my race bib and a parking pass. The line wasn’t too long; I probably had about a 8 minute wait time. The first stop was to pick up your tank top (I love races that do tank tops instead of t-shirts). However, I was shocked to find that they were already out of small tanks. It didn’t affect me personally because I needed a medium, but this was pretty early on a Friday afternoon. I was surprised that they would be out of a fairly common runner size so early on. The second stop was for our bib numbers and it was smooth and fast. Third stop, parking aka the ultimate nemesis of the Queens 10k. I purchased my pass for a whopping $23 because I knew that meant I would be in Lot G and that it would allow for an easier race morning. Little did I know what would unfold the next day!
Friday night I had a concert with my best friends to see Jason Aldean. I knew that I wasn’t running the 10k for time because right now PRs are not my focus. Looking back, I should have definitely drank a little more water and charged all of my accessories like I always do before a race.
Saturday morning came and I got moving around 6:30am. My friend Amanda who was also running agreed to be at my house around 6:45am. We jetted off towards Citi Field shortly after. We made great time until we got to Citi Field around 7:40am. It was an absolute stand still, no one knew what to do next, and no one knew where to go. I didn’t panic yet because I knew where Lot G was and that we would definitely make it in time. Slowly but surely we get to the side of the stadium and I’m feeling good because Lot G is in my site. Joke is on me, because they were not letting anyone in Lot G. Nor could the attendants blocking Lot G tell me anything except to move along. So now I am upset. Why did I travel to the city to prepay for a parking pass and now I had to wait in line with everyone who didn’t prepay to go to an unknown lot. We continue to creep along as 8:30 ticks by and the race fires off. At this point I also realize my Garmin is dead, I left my Ipod at home, and I have no more water in the car. Finally we park and begin to jog to the start line. The NYRR staff was very helpful on directing us where to head and I wasn’t that upset about the warm-up because my coach wanted me to run 7 miles anyway.
The course was pretty much like I remember from last year. The weather was steamy, the course was a little tight, and I literally couldn’t wait for each mile to pass. I stopped at every water station to hydrate and tell myself it was only a 10k. I am so grateful for the water gods that sent the people with the hoses to cool us down. I also tried to keep my eyes peeled to the ground for those pesky potholes that come along. The best part of the race occurs once you make it past the highway and the scenic tour begins. You run past the Queens Museum, Citi Field, the Uni-sphere, and some remnants of the World Fair. Once you crossed the finish line it was a dead standstill with a very narrow finish chute and empty tables of water. Not exactly what a hot, tired, and sweaty runner wants to see after running a 10k.
It was really concerning to see so many runners down. I saw around 5 runners down, some of them getting sick and others just unable to move. Luckily they were all being attended to and I was happy they were getting the help they needed. I did however spend a lot of the race contemplating what contributed to this unusually high number and to thank my body for all it does.
The best part of the race: my shiny medal, the 9+1 credit, and the Italian ice man that was 20 yards past the finish line. Marathon training kicks off in just under two weeks and I can’t wait to settle into a routine again.
**Since the race ended, NYRR has issued an apology for the parking incident and they are going to reimburse us for the parking fee. An apology can fix most relationships and I appreciate them acknowledging their mistake.
Have you ran the Queens 10k? What was your experience?