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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Review of Sustainable Youth Team Relay Run – Jun 16

As with any fledgling concept, there is always bound to be a few “snags” along the path towards a perfect event. This time we were no strangers to the problems, however, we’ll line up how we plan to tackle them in the future.

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Since day one we’ve been a provider of low-tech races. Our registration process seems to confuse people so let us break it down first before we get into the review:

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  1. You read about our event and are interested to attend, you are given a link to fill a registration form on survey monkey.
  2. We receive your information, through excel magic, we take the data and put it into tabular form.
  3. We send out a confirmation email asking people to confirm their attendance.
  4. People respond and confirm, we start assigning them to teams, again through excel and filters on age, gender and level of activity.
  5. We send out an email to the teams confirming their colors and getting the captains involved in motivating their teams.

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The problem is, people don’t check their emails often, much to my chagrin. I have 5 emails synced to my phone simultaneously, and some people cannot manage one.

What happens is they sign up, but don’t confirm in time, by the time they confirm, i’ve already assigned teams and they’re even, and we’re out of space.

Then those that confirmed and got assigned to team’s don’t show up…

Without further ado, let’s start with the cons:

  1. Did not start on time. People signed up, confirmed, got assigned to teams, and did not show up. Whats more, one individual who signed up informed me he needed a visa to come to Kuwait, at 1:30PM (race was at 10PM). People kept arriving late despite us requesting them to be there by 9:20PM.
  2. Time lost explaining concept. Despite having captains, several of the “casual joiners” who happened across our multicolored starting point wanted to participate, seeing as we had ample t-shirts available, and in line with our slogan of sports for all and all for sports, we let them in. Language barrier and sports barrier aside, they made for some excellent additions, specifically the veiled mother and her daughters and son, despite her daughter pulling out, the mother ran the race. Next time, we’ll make a roll-up banner explaining the race concept in two languages.
  3. Cotton T-shirts. I know, I know! Cotton t-shirts and runs do not mix! However, we don’t have the funding to get the t-shirts from abroad and store them until such time we have an event, so we need to get them locally, and dry-fit t-shirts are not readily available locally.
  4. Food shortage. Given that it was Ramadan we had hoped to provide people with a meal after the race, we were just short of 120 participants, and we’d ordered 150 meals. However, some people did not find meals at the end. suggested remedy – food for runners only. Runners were given wristbands for the race, at the end of the race, swap wrist band for meal. No band, no meal.
  5. Lack of coverage. Given that we are a very small outfit (only two organizers were responsible for getting the race up and running), we don’t have a camera person readily available. The timing also made it difficult to get people in addition to the short-notice-ness of the event – were asked to plan and execute in a very short period of time. Next time, i’ll invest in a camera myself and start taking pictures. However, despite this, we still managed to get some awesome shots courtesy of the super talented JCPQ8 (instagram) and the video by the awesome Baher Jaberi (link).
  6. Directions were not clear. We assumed when we said the Oredoo playground at Mishref Pedestrian walkway that people would know exactly where. Our bad. Next time, we posting the exact location on instagram.
  7. No medical attention. Trust me when I say, communicating with the concerned authorities is a hassle. Despite having MOH approval for our last race, no ambulance showed up. Same case this time. We apologize profusely to those that were injured during the run and hope you recover soon!
  8. Small stage. When we first envisioned this endeavor, we planned to MC from the stage, then later we added the idea of contests, however the size of the stage could not accommodate all willing participants. Remedy, bigger stage next time around.

Pro’s:

  1. First of its kind. The comments on instagram continue to bring a smile to my face, people actually enjoyed the event immensely, including the injured folk!
  2. In-tune with concept. When we first started, we wanted a race that was different that could be enjoyed by all. Looking at the pictures from the event, everyone enjoyed themselves, whether they were built as sprinters or not.
  3. Party so hard it was stopped by the police. ‘Nuff said.
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Lady in the black veil

The lady in the black veil is my new hero. She showed up at the event with her daughters and son and they all wanted to run. When the race started, one of her daughters opted to not run thinking its too hard. Not mom tho. She went for it. And everyone cheered. And that is the point behind SYQ8, there’s no cookie-cutter for runners, we come from all walks of life.

Sustainableyouthq8 video post now working

Apologies for the previous link not working it has now been remedied.

@SustainableYouthQ8 – Redefining the Running scene in Kuwait

Now I’m not just saying this because I organized it, but based on the comments on Instagram and our FB page, the sustainability of Sustainable Youth is indeed going forward!

We started with a 5K team run in February of 2016 unlike any 5K race seen before in Kuwait. Last Friday night we took our uniqueness a step further and introduced the Team Relay concept to Kuwait, at Mishref Running Track.

Granted, there were a few setbacks, which we will discuss in detail in a later post, however the culmination of it is this: People had fun. People had a lot of fun.

Check out the video below:

And don’t worry, as people have to expect, the review is coming soon 😉

Race track coming soon to Kuwait?

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According to Alqabas, the Municipality has approved the building of a vehicular race track over an area of 2.6 million square meters in Arifjan.

No details yet on when and why.

Review of the Dubai Desert Road Run 4-Jun-16

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Dubai is full of races. I was beyond excited to find out that immediately after attending the Fluffy Breaks Even show, there would be a second event from the bouquet that is my passion in life the very next morning – a run.

I went, I saw, I was beyond disappointed.

Before we dispense with the review, let’s look at some numbers:

  1. 10K finishers – 350. Fees 120AED, Total: 42,000AED
  2. 3K finishers – 152. Fees 80AED, Total: 12,160AED
  3. Grand Total: 54,160AED

Now lets start with the Cons:

  1. No storage facility for runners from abroad. You can easily gauge their numbers from registration, provide them a way to keep their bags safe, especially that some have come for a few hours to just run the race and leave. This is provided by other UAE based races such as RAK.
  2. No way to get back to civilization. Again, runners coming from abroad, especially first timers to Dubai, are not aware of how far the Sevens Village is, nor how difficult it is to find a ride back to Dubai. If not for #899 (Waqas the Humanitarian), my friend and I would have ended up walking back to Dubai! At the very least arrange with a few taxis to wait there.
  3. Messed up race markers. As  I was runing the 10K I found it strange that some of the distance markers were showing strange readings, 3.8KM, 4.9KM. And they weren’t even accurate!
  4. No food for runners. As someone who runs most of their races in Kuwait, and partook in organizing a race in Kuwait, I can honestly say I am most disappointed with the organizers and their greed in this regard. Let’s look at numbers.
    1. I organized a race for 120 participants – spent KD 30 roughly (360 AED) on oranges and bananas for the runners.
    2. DDR had almost 500 participants. Doing the mathematics, they would require KD 125 for the same food as above, which is 1,500 AED, which translates to a mere 2.7% of the total amount they took as fees.
    3. PS my race was free. Facebook.com/sustainableyouthq8 (look it up).
  5. No takeaways for the runners. Again, I run most of my races in Kuwait, the average for a 10K race is 120AED, however in Kuwait you get a t-shirt and a goodie bag. Not sure why DDR are so stingy with their money, but a race that doesn’t give a runner takeaways but charges fees is a race not worth running in the first place. We were given something though, and I wish we weren’t – hangers to put up items on walls. How this ties in to running is a mystery to me.
  6. Looped race. The Sevens Village grounds are enormous. Are you honestly saying you cannot find a 10K route that is not a double loop? Nobody minds running 5K one way then back, but to run 2.5KM 4 times is boring and annoying. In this regard, the 3K race was probably better, as it lacked the hamster-in-a-wheel effect.

However, there were some Pros:

  1. Tracking technology. The tying of trackers to shoelaces that can later be recycled beats the bibs with embedded trackers.
  2. Cups of water. Although a way for the organizers to save money, I see it as a way of reducing wastage. So I’ll give you a point there.

Prognosis: Negative.

Run the race once for the experience, never again.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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