Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Race Recap: Superhero Fun Run 2k 5k 10k

On August 3rd, my family participated in the second annual "Superhero Fun Run"

A bit of the pre-race party

I had been looking forward to this race like a kid looking forward to Christmas!  I love comic books and superheros... and Free Comic Book Day just doesn't come around soon enough.  My family needed another super fix.  

That's why I wanted to cry the night before the race when hubby started to lose his cookies in the bathroom.  "Well, there goes the race."  I selfishly thought.  

Wait... is that selfish?

I frantically got on facebook and started begging for a double stroller.  I could take both kids on my first 10k, right?  It was a "Fun Run" and no matter how slow I ended up being, it would still be a PR. Right?

I secured a double stroller (and backup arrangement,)  justifying it that if hubby was sick with something he ate or drank, or a virus, he'd like some rest the next day.  (I'd like to race!) ...And it would be good to keep the girls busy out of the house.  

Well, poor guy pulled an all nighter at work and then didn't sleep at all that day, so he was convinced that his episode of being ill was completely based on exhaustion.


He couldn't be convinced to stay home.  I guess he was looking forward to this as much as I was! 

So after a night of rest, off we all went to the super race!  And exhausted ourselves again, even more than before.  :)

I am such a bad judge at how many participants are at these types of things, but it was an intimate setting and not a huge crowd.  Maybe 300 people?  I do know that I registered a week before the event, and the first 200 people got a free cape.  I was one of those first 200 people.

The price was right too.  Get a group of 4 runners and pay $6.25 a piece.  Nice!

The Superhero Fun Run is a race created to benefit the charity Oregon Music Hall of Fame (which supports music education in Portland's public schools and offers scholarships for continuing music education in college).

Before the race began, there was a fantastic pre race party.  There was a DJ blasting upbeat tunes to get your heart pumping and lots of superheros to get photos with. 

I don't think I have had so much fun before a race!

My friend, in her sexy batgirl costume, attempted to teach me the Oppa Gangnam Style and I'm pretty sure I came off completely clumsy... even in a Wonder Woman outfit.  

Dr. Strange and Spider-Woman
Before the race began, it definitely was a big party scene. This might not have been in everyone's favor. A bit of constructive criticism received on the event's facebook page stated it very accurately: 

"...I know this was labeled a "Fun Run", so when we signed up to have our kids run their first small race (Dad runs marathons so we are familiar with races), we thought it would be a bit more organized. We are used to races with registration, bibs, and a start and finish line. The idea is fun, but to be honest we were pretty disappointed. Maybe this can be corrected for next year otherwise we will probably never do this again.

With bringing young children to these events, there is usually some semblance of order and not a big crowd of chaos. My autistic son had a very hard time, so in the end we left before it even started because we couldn't even figure out where to go to get away from the noise without leaving. Why were the streets not 
closed? This doesn't seem like a very safe idea."
 While the street was not closed, I also didn't notice any cars attempt to even enter our block. However, that alone doesn't make it safe, or a good idea.
Superhero Fun Run responded:

"We are only in our 2nd year, and like all things, it takes time, but we always appreciate feedback, so thank you. Please understand it takes money to do this and more, everyone volunteers their time freely.

We would love to have more sponsors, but raising sponsorship takes time, as they don't all just jump on board, as we grow more sponsors will come on along, and thus more money, so we can afford to close the street (that is not cheap). We’d love to have more volunteers?

We paid for the permits out of our own personal pockets; $1,156.00 dollars today, to us, it's not about how much, but to build upon what is raised goes 100% for music education, as we donate 100% to the charity, again we're growing, so if you hang in there, we promise things will only get better.

We can't have a finish line, gun start, etc. just yet, as the city won't allow it on the Esplanade. We're not big enough for the streets yet, not until we reach about 4 to 5 thousand, as that takes again a lot of money to close streets.

We heard concerns, as we actually went around and asked runners, we heard a lot of positive things as well, and next year the street will be closed, also we’ll offer bibs, shirts, and a pre-registration (two days prior to the event). We will also have volunteers with signs at each turn of the races. Again, we work with what we have now, but we’re growing, and we love all of your support, but we promise to keep getting better!!!!!!

The goal is to keep the same cost, offer more, and always donate 100% to the charity."

I completely respect their response and really have no idea what it must be like to plan an event like this. Especially without a lot of financial backing. I've taken for granted that the races I've registered for are hosted by larger venues who have held races a dozen times.

It would have been nice though to have a little sidewalk chalk directing our paths a bit. It doesn't take much for me to get lost and in no time at all I was the only superhero trotting along the sidewalks of Portland's Waterfront.

Homeless people flicked dimes at me.

But some nice shoppers at the Saturday market cheered me on "Go Wonder Woman!" and every single runner I said "Good Morning" to happily responded with a "Good Morning" back at me or a wide smile.

It wasn't a complete loss... I had signed up for the 10k and in the opposite direction of the 10k route, the 5k racers were to compete (with less loops). I saw a lot of 5k superheros pass by and wasn't too lonely with my lasso of truth swinging from my hip.

The race was a 2k, 5k and 10k... with the 2k being a kids' fun run. I left the kiddos with "Super Dad" to participate in the 2k together, but he got confused and didn't que up with the 2k participants.  

Probably for the best.

 If I had known it wasn't going to work out for them though, I'd have taken Bugaboo along with me. She loves to run and really was disappointed to miss it.

But not as disappointed as to miss out on doughnuts.

On the race's facebook page, they had posted that VooDoo Doughnut was a sponsor and that doughnuts would be available for runners at the finish.

There were none.

Race volunteers seemed confused by my questions about the doughnuts and their existence so I dropped it. ...but it is really hard to let it go when you're three years old and have been promised a doughnut. Maybe even bribed by it to get out of bed so early and get to the race that morning.

I know. Bad Mommy!

It really would have been nice for the doughnut to have been there. Not just to console an unhappy Bugaboo... but I had really wanted one. I was looking forward to it! After a walk around the corner to VooDoo Doughnuts, the line was a 45 minute wait.

Maybe next time. (Even though 45 minutes is considered a short wait time. I was ready to get off my feet and go home.)

So, with that, Batgirl and I made a slow journey back towards home... (Our running partners Supergirl and "Mother Nature" had already wandered to their next destinations).

Even though we passed the mural "Keep Portland Weird", we were ogled a bit in our attire and asked to pose for photos. One man offered to be our "spiderman".
My fantastic running partner greeting me at my finish.  First 10k done!

The party was definitely before hand.  The "big after party" fizzled out as soon as racers finished.  It seems that people went and retrieved their free comic book, and then either got in line for a caricature drawing or just went straight home.  No group dancing and no unified spirit as it had been before the race.  Oh well.

I had fun.

I'm still undecided if I would do this event again. 

The charity is good.
The swag, not so much.
It was tons of fun before hand.  Festive environment.
The finish was a bit of a let down.  Run your distance and wonder to the pub to get your comic book and go.

Next time I'm down town, I'll probably don some more traditional running attire and check out some other paths featured in Runner's World.  

The geek in me can't let it go.  If you don't know me, my hobbies outside of running include:  comic books, Dr. Who, Nintendo, pinball, dice games... and a couple other geeky things.  So I sent them a facebook message asking if I could help out next year.  They haven't responded... but I think I'd make a damn good volunteer.

Do you volunteer for races?
How have you handled races that were a bit disappointing? 

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