#SparkMarathon Review 2016 @q8sportevents

Yesterday marked the inaugural run for Spark Marathon, a new contender on the running calendar of Kuwait.

The event was put on courtesy of the following sponsors:

sponsors

As we’ve done in the past, we’ll breakdown the positives and the negatives of the race – starting with the negatives:

  1. Total Takeover by Total employees: at the starting line, there was a very distinct sea of redcaps bearing the Total logo, despite them not being an official sponsor of any sort. What they did however was plant their employees at the start-line for some shameless self promotion, on the very front of the line, despite 90% of them not being dressed for running! This negatively affected the actual runners in the back who had to maneuver around them, in addition to the fact that they started IN FRONT OF the race line, meaning their bibs and chips didn’t even register. More care should have been given by the organizers to ensure they start the race like everyone else.

12545416_1529553034009260_1512260723_n2. Nonexistent markers: the organizers spent a hefty dime getting the road ready for race-day, with banners for the sponsors everywhere along the coastline. Would it not have been a smart move to also include a small sheet of paper at every KM signalling to runners where they were? There were even truss’s along the way, with no apparent logic to their placement save more advertising space! I was stuck doing mathematics along the way as I switched my GPS watch to Pace; I was a little past KFC and wound up thinking – ok, from Marina to Green Island is 5KM, from Green Island to Towers is another 5 or so KM, I’m almost at the towers which means I’ve done about 9 or so KMs. Too much math for a run! Just put up signs for the love of the road.

3. No giveaways: the biggest giveaway that there would be no giveaways for the runners was the running path, emblazoned with signage all the way from flags along the side to giant cranes carry giant banners advertising a giant sponsor. Runners pay the fees to take part in the race for the giveaways, sponsors pay money to get their name mentioned. What happened at Spark Marathon was a purely commercial stunt whereby the money went to the organizers from both participant and sponsor, and nothing trickled down to the participants in the form of giveaways. Low blow.

4. Cotton t-shirts: it has become a longstanding tradition to expect a dry-fit shirt from the seasoned organizers, however all we got was cotton. I’m sure to change it into lounge-wear-come-pj-top and end up running in my dreams.

5. Gatorade on the run: gatorade replenishes electrolytes, runners need to replenish electrolytes on the run, but they DO NOT NEED A FULL BOTTLE TO DO SO! A major mistake on the part of the organizers was putting all the electrolytes ON THE RUN as opposed to on the finish line! Runners ended up taking a sip or two and tossing it aside, a HUGE waste. The RAK Half-Marathon had plastic cups of two sips or so of gatorade along the run, which is what the organizers should have done.

6. Short distance: the 21.1KM was short by 100Meters. Puts me in a crappy position as I just nailed a new PR but Garmin won’t recognize it because the race was not exactly 21.1.

7. Race village: the race village was completely lack luster this year. Runners were offered pre-made packs of one orange, one banana, one bottle of water, one coconut water and a granola bar. Now, the organizers made the assumption that everyone requires the absolute BARE MINIMUM to recuperate, whether they ran 5, 10, 21 or 42KM.

8. Prize money in Half: now this is what the organizers put as the winning pot for the lucky top 3:

prizes

Now people would believe that that means each first place finisher would get the full amount, as is evident in the photo below:

winners

However, we were told that the prize money was split between #1 Male & Female, meaning they each get half the pot only.  edit: we were told that the prizes was half cash, half cash in kind i.e. flights from Kuwait Airways, dental procedures at Bayan Dental, medical checks at Seef Hospital etc. which is all well if you reside in Kuwait, however if you are not a resident of Kuwait, as the majority of the top winners were, these gifts are useless and infuriated the winners.

Benefits:

  1. Good medals
  2. Great ambiance

For a race that was meant to “kick start a movement that will integrate sport & fitness into the very fabric of society” (link), the only thing that got integrated was our hard earned money into the pockets of the organizers. Here’s hoping that next race is more participant-centric.

As far as personal achievement is concerned, this race proved that the winning formula for long distance runs is short distance speed workouts. Specifically 200M sprint, 200M jog X 10 (i.e. 4KM). With that regiment every other day, and the 30-day-shred on the other day, I was able to shave off 6 minutes from my time in the Gulf Bank Marathon and achieve a new PR of 1hr41mins.

In addition to that I was the designated pace-setter for the 1hr40, although I ended up overshooting it by 1 minute, it serves as a reminder that whatever the mind believes, the body can achieve.

And if you’re looking forward to the next running event, look no further than here.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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