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Friday, March 5, 2010

Cowtown Critcism

The 2010 Fort Worth Cowtown races received some criticism in today's Dallas Morning News.  It highlighted how the leaders of several of the races were led off course briefly. It only impacted the results (winner) of the Kids 5K according to the article, but clearly caused some panic and distress to many competitors.  DMN Article 

I ran the Half Marathon and have purposely withheld a review because I'm really torn about my experience.

First, let me be clear...I enjoyed my day thoroughly...this is not intended to be hyper critical, but to point out something that is becoming a problem in many races.

I ran Cowtown 18 years ago as my first event ever. This 10K was run with the Start/Finish at the Fort Worth Stockyards. Obviously, the event hooked me on running.

The event was moved downtown to accommodate more runners.  The problems of the weekend simply demonstrate what happens when a race gets too big.  Big races have their place. I've run the New York Marathon twice and would run it again in a heart beat. It is unfair to compare the two events.

I personally think Cowtown suffers from too many races, more than too many racers.  The Marathon, Half, Ultra, 10K & 5K all have slightly or largely different courses. This puts a strain on traffic control.  No wonder they went off course.

It also puts a strain on support.  I was told the number of volunteers was amazingly high.  Unfortunately, they were just spread too thin. Water stops to the very end of the Half were understaffed...some badly so.  Friends who ran the Full or Ultra reported similar or worse issues.

I'm saddened to even write this. This is my hometown race. I've run Marathon, Half and 10K countless times. I'm certainly worried that a first timer or an out of town visitor came away feeling let down.

Cowtown is not alone.  After the Dallas White Rock added the Half and Relays, similar issues popped up and remained when I ran there in December.

Fort Worth gets things right. It just does...look at Dowtown Fort Worth...a model for cities worldwide. I'll be back next year. The course is just too great and the city is just too fantastic to not participate.

Sadly, I really need to ask myself why I have run that race so often yet not been a frequent volunteer there.  It obviously takes more in the current format, maybe I'll just be one of them next year.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace