The community of Kuwait is no stranger to running events; we are all familiar with the two main organizers – RunQ8 & the Kuwait Charity Run. Today’s race was sponsored by neither, and as such here are the top 10 shortcomings of the race:
1) Did not start on time.
We live in a desert country, the longer you wait to start a race the hotter it becomes, and the more dangerous for runners who are already sweating buckets and dehydrating.
2) No timer at the Finish line.
One of the most exhilarating feelings is to be running towards a finish line where you are guaranteed that your picture would be accompanied by your finish time. For your own reference. A minor detail but still quite important.
3) Inadequate placement of distance markers.
Its quite simple – you have a race compromised of 10 kilometers, it does not take a genius to guess that you should have a marker for every KM that passes, giving people an idea where they are in the race. The only markers available were at 1.5KM (the turnaround for the 3K runners) and the turnaround at the 5K mark.
4) Few and far between water stations.
There were only 3 water stations along the race. Personally, I do not drink whilst running, I was however in need of water to vent off the heat.
5) Understaffed Volunteers.
Lets say a group of 10 people are running together, in the heat, and are in need of refreshment. The water stations had only 2 volunteers. with 2 arms each, that is 4 bottles they can carry and give to runners. Meaning 6 runners would have to either wait in line or stop and get water themselves.
6) The Finish Line was not padded.
A minor detail, but still important.
7) T-shirts. Medal.
The top take-aways from any race are the T-shirt and the Medal. This race however, several people were disappointed that the t-shirts provided were not actual running t-shirts. The medal itself also looked quite disappointing, as was the ribbon to which it was connected.
8) No refreshments for runners
This was NOT a free run. A fee was paid to take part. Yet the only refreshments offered to runners were bottles of water – nothing to help regulate the loss of minerals from the body – no energy drinks, no fruits (bananas for example). Not even juice (which was later found to have been distributed TO the water stations) which brings us to …
9) Juice at the water stations
Guava, Orange & Cocktail. In a box, requiring a straw, being given to runners during a run.
10) Pay for everything.
The aforementioned organizers (RunQ8 and KuwaitCharityRun) provided the best after run refreshments EVER. Everything was FREE; goody-bags were given to help regulate the runners lost minerals containing juice and cookies, the plethora of sponsors were giving away free samples for the runners. This however was not the case today. What made it even worse was the fact that there was nothing given to the runners post-race to aid in recovery except water. Not even banana quarters (as mentioned earlier). There was one stall that had banana’s hanging as a display (which were quite raw), and they started selling them for one KD.. EACH!
It is a well understood fact that if you are organizing a run, you should go all the way and cater to the runners needs. It is not an event you use to draw cash from the runners who paid to participate as well as the sponsors who paid to have their stalls put up. The later were covering their costs by demanding payment from the former. (FYI The Kuwait Charity Run in 2012 had free pizza being made).
As far as races in Kuwait go, this was extremely disappointing as it seemed like nothing more than a reason to raise money for all sides and literally stick it to the participants.
Here is hoping that which ever race takes place next in Kuwait, the aforementioned points will be given proper consideration.
That being said, the volunteers were extremely helpful, and the overall ambiance created by runners was astounding. Kuwait needs more organized races, however the key word is ORGANIZED.