Monday, April 1, 2013

To Run or Not to Run?

Have you ever signed up for a race you know might not be “good”?

I’m currently having a really hard time deciding whether or not to sign up for a 5k that sounds really fun but has gotten quite a lot of iffy reviews. Here’s my dilemma…I really like the idea of this 5k foam fest that is going to be held in Richmond, but I have some reservations about it after reading quite a few reviews online…

The first race I ever ran was a disaster. It was called “Dirty Hog” and it was a 9 mile “mud race” held in North Carolina. The website was well designed and well run, giving us high hopes for the race. I trained HARD with a large group of women (about 25 of us!) for three months, expecting that the race would be what was advertised - a difficult mud run with lots of obstacles. 

The group from the Dirty Hog run, excuse the mud on the camera lens :-P

Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The day of the race it was in the upper 80’s (unseasonably hot, and felt even hotter, as we had been training in 60’s-70s). The course was almost all hot sand with very few obstacles and even less mud. Additionally, there weren’t anywhere near enough water stations on the course, and I watched two of my very strong friends (one was a college athlete) suffer from heat exhaustion. To top it off, the course wasn’t well marked, and several of us got LOST for a few miles. This race was dangerous, poorly planned (many of my teammates didn’t even get the T-shirt they paid for!), and a bad experience in general. Luckily, I didn’t let it deter me from trying another “adventure” type race, and I completed a FANTASTIC and much more professionally run Tough Mudder later that year.

my lovely Tough Mudder team!

But back to my original point… Foam Fest 5k…

  • Website looks good (but I’ve been fooled before…anyone can make a professional looking website, but running an actual race is much more difficult)
  • They’ve had over a year to perfect their management, so things SHOULD run smoothly (this may be putting too much faith in people I don’t know…)
  • The obstacles look more fun than difficult, and it will be a great “starter” mud run for my mom and close friend, who are interested in getting into adventure type races
  • It’s close enough to do a day trip, and if it is well run it will be a blast!!


  • It’s expensive; $60 for the 5k, $5 for insurance and $5 for processing. Do I want to spend $70 for an experience that I feel has a 50/50 chance of being awful?
  • I know a 5k of this type won't be a challenge for me, as I've already run one Tough Mudder and will have completed my second by the time this race comes. However, difficulty isn't my goal with this race - I really just want to go out and have a great experience with my mom and my friend.
  • I've seen A LOT of negative reviews online
  • It’s my mom and friend’s first race of this type, and I don’t want to steer them wrong. Will this race turn them off from continuing to participate in races of this type? Is it a risk I’m willing to take?

I’m feeling really torn and nervous to sign up for something this expensive without having confidence that my money will be well spent - my last half marathon cost the same as this race! (I know it’s more expensive to put on because of the obstacles, but still!) Do the pros outweigh the cons? Will the risk be worth the potential reward? I’m just not sure!!

PLEASE help me decide!!

1 comment:

  1. Hmm that's a tough decision! Can you contact someone and ask them about things in the negative reviews that are making you worried?