Let’s Go Forward Road Run Review @Forwardinspire

Yesterday, LetsGoForward hosted the first running event of the 2015 Calendar in Kuwait, one of many that seek to transform Kuwait into a runners paradise with several runs touted, from a city run to one on Failaka, an ultra marathon (80KM) and the annual 240KM border run (link to other LGF events here).

When I arrived at the race site, prior to the start by 30 minutes, I ran into the organizer (Yousef) and the MC (Bader), after shaking hands I was asked by Yousef not to forget “the blog post”, as my last one cited 10 shortcomings of the last race I attended in March of 2014.

I write race reviews not to critique the organizers for the sake of ranting; quite the contrary. As a running enthusiast, I love seeing more races on the run calendar of Kuwait. I would love to see these races at top level. I love adding medals and t-shirts to my growing collection, and I love the unity that these races inspire. The more the merrier.

I appreciate Yousef’s concern to ensure that the races are up to expectations. Initially I thought his comment was sarcastic, but a message later in the evening showed it to be sincere.


Suffice to say, we were pleased to note that our observations (link) regarding the last race were taken into consideration, mainly:

1) Did not start on time.

RESOLVED. The race DID start on time this time. Although, a completely new demon reared its ugly head, that of the false start, where one overanxious runner jumped the gun triggering the timer to commence. This can be avoided next time by having a person with a flag or so standing INFRONT of the runners, as opposed to the MC standing on the left with a countdown (plus – cut the music at go time so people can focus). Sometimes people hit the ground running at 1 in a countdown, as opposed to waiting for the “GO!”.

They were able to fix everything quickly, reset the timer, and restart the race, efficiently and without delay.

2) No timer at the finish line.

RESOLVED. Timer was there, working and all, perfect for finish line photos (except the time shows the time for 10.2KM, an extra 200M).

3) Inadequate placement of distance markers.

PENDING. The markers for these races are kept at irregular intervals; 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 5. Different is not necessarily bad, however it does cause confusion, especially when the 4.5KM marker does not appear and you find yourself turning around at 5. In addition, you end up wasting mental energy on mathematics ((5-3.5)+5, +1.5, +1.5, +1.5) to figure out where you are when running back, energy I would much rather send to my legs. The stations should have had two stickers, one on each side, to show the distance for the returning runners. So it would be 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 5, 6.5, 7.5, 8.5.

4) Few and far between water stations.

RESOLVED. Hydration was up to par.

5) Understaffed volunteers.

PENDING. Although the turnout was fewer than anticipated (due to holiday season and teachers/students scrambling to board their planes), water stations had few volunteers at them. I only cite this as I witnessed one runner at the 5KM turnaround look around for the volunteer, who was standing on the other side, to assist them with water, only to get none, run forward, look back, slow down slightly whilst considering running back 10 steps for water or running head 1.5KM to get it at the next station. He opted for the latter.

6) Finish line was not padded.

RESOLVED. Sandy. Padding is only useful for finish line theatrics, which I am thoroughly missing.

7) T-Shirts. medals.

HALF RESOLVED. The medals improved dramatically over last year; despite being plastic, a new thing in the realm of medals, the neck strap was quite befitting and the design was simple and elegant. The t-shirts however are still cotton, and not dry-fit. Dry-fit t-shirts are more becoming of runners, whereas cotton is not.

8) No Refreshments for runners.

RESOLVED. The organisers ensured that water was present at the finish line for the runners in bulk. In addition, Nestle, the main sponsors this time around, gave runners a much needed dose of caffeine, in addition to a second goody bag.

9) Juice at the water stations.

RESOLVED. Not this time. Just water.

10) Pay for everything.


7.5/10 RESOLVED. Not bad.

SPECIAL MENTION goes to Mr. Megaphone, I did not catch his name, however I am quite sure he ended up doing at least 20KM of running up and down with a megaphone, motivating runners and shouting encouragement at them, all the while whilst maintaining a smiling demeanor.

Now, there are some points to raise specifically regarding the organizing this year for yesterday’s race:

1) The 5K Run.

If you are promoting separate distances during the race, it is counterproductive to:

a) Not offer timing/ ranking for the 5K finishers.

b) Not offer prizes/ podium rankings for the top 3 5K runners in each category.

Seeing as how the 5K was pushed as a secondary event, it should have been given more consideration as opposed to focusing everything on just the 10K run.

2) Traffic.

Time and time again, this issue is raised. The run is done on a main road, police are meant to patrol the last lane to ensure the safety of the runners. Granted, we were not expecting the entire road to be cordoned off for the runners like the 642 Marathon, however special care should have been given at the entrances and exits of the parking areas, where I saw several runners almost get run over by unsuspecting motorists.

a) Police cars should have been present at each entrance/exit, there were probably less than 15 such spots down the course of the race. Majority of police vehicles were at the start line, few were at the parking lots/ traffic lights.

b) banners should have been placed prompting motorists to stick to the left lanes.

3) Starting line.

In addition to an MC doing a countdown, a visual volunteer should stand with a flag or warning instrument of some sort to signal the start of the race, to prevent false-starts and restarts.

4) Timing.

Due to the race taking place during a time where most schools are off for their mid-year vacations, attendance was lower than expected. Of course the point would be countered by saying doing it earlier also risks non-attendance for the sake of studies, however it is better to schedule the race at a time where many are available and might likely show up, as opposed to many being on vacation and unlikely to show up.

5) Winners.

As I did not stick around till 11 for the awards ceremony, I am not sure if prizes (if any) were presented to the top 6 runners. I know that the previous race had only plaques being presented to the winners. Sure running is its own reward, but something could be given in addition. It does not have to be prize money, it could be a day at a spa or lunch at a restaurant etc.

If this was covered, apologies for not having witnessed it, if not, it is a point for consideration.

My interest is in bettering the race going forward, in alignment with the namesake and mission of the organizer – Let’s Go Forward.

(See what I did there >)

I look forward (I just did it again) to seeing you at the next races, the city run has really piqued my interest, as has the Failaka one!

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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