Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lazy McSlackerson, checking in

August 31st already. Wow. I guess it has been hard to sit at the computer when things like the Olympics and summer have been going on.

Anyway, so about a month or so ago, I got an email from the Running Room advertising the Nike Human Race and mentioning that they needed volunteers. I figured that since I am on the running end of races and am grateful for the people that volunteer their time to help out, I should pay it back a bit. So I sent an email to the contact person. I hadn't heard back (I asked a question in my email) so figured they had enough volunteers and put it in the back of my mind as something that might come up, might not.

Earlier this week, I got an email from some promotions company saying "thanks for volunteering, we're the ones running this event, please let me know if you are still able to volunteer". Nothing had come up for early on a Sunday morning, so I decided I would still be up for it. A few days after that, I got an email saying "Thanks, and we ask everyone to arrive at the location at 6am on Sunday morning" I groaned a little but then a few minutes later I got another email, this time from the Running room (not the promotion company) saying "don't come at 6, come at 7". Fine. Much more manageable.
A little later in the day came the following:

almost forgot to mention the most important part! We will be providing everyone with a Staff Shirt for race day when you arrive. As this is a Nike event we ask that everyone represent them at all times with Nike apparel such as sunglasses, shirt, shorts, shoes, watch and socks. If you do not have any Nike apparel, please ensure that all clothing is non-branded.

Seriously? Non-branded shoes? What kind of crack do you think you are smoking. But, I had some old nike cross-trainers (from about 1999 or so) that I pulled out, got my butt to the Running Room for about 6:55, got my "staff shirt" and waited for instructions.
And I waited...and waited. And waited some more. There were lots of us. Sitting, waiting, not doing anything. For almost an hour. Without so much as a "sorry we had you get here so early, we'll get you set up soon". And when one of the guys from the Running Room asked the guy "in charge" from the promotions company if he was going to say anything to the volunteers, get them to do anything, give them any information...the guy responded with "they're just volunteers, they can wait." Then finally, he threw us out on the course without so much as letting us know what the route was just in case a runner asked. I managed to deduce some of it for myself. But for the most part, it was ridiculous.

It was a very poorly organized race: couldn't find a route map online despite the fact that all the sign up and advertising was online, people were showing up with papers that proved they signed up but they weren't showing up on the list, no one seemed to know what was going on.

The good news though, is that it was a beautiful morning, and I got to be outside enjoying it. And the runners themselves were nothing but thankful. Ok, except for the one lady that got mad at me for handing her a cup that was too full of water...but a) I didn't fill it so don't blame me and b) at least it was water and not something sticky.

Moral of the story: maybe you shouldn't hire a promotions company to run a race out of a store that has a lot of experience running races and could probably have done a better job. Oh, and if you want to have volunteers, treat them like people instead of annoyances.

(oh, and the guy "in charge"? his name was Fabio. somehow that made me laugh)


lu said...

i kept seeing ads for the human race in all the major cities i have been to lately and i kept thinking it might be fun. but too bad nike couldn't get their act together to make it worthwhile for the runners and the volunteers by hiring someone who knew how to put on a race.

did you know that they subcontract the production of all their merchandise too? i just learned that. interesting.

Heather said...

That's pretty awful. I would write them a strongly worded e-mail if I were you. Good thing you found some nikes to wear on your feet though!

On a side note, how come people in Europe and Australia pronounce it "Nike" like Mike and we say "Nike-ie" like Mikey?

K said...

to be fair, this was a "satellite race" that wasn't one of the big hyped ones. so i have no idea how the "BIG" events went (the only one in canada was in vancouver). it could be that those went really well. but this one, not so much (though i think the runners had fun, so i guess that is what counts?)

kris said...

Imo, if they want you to ensure that everything you wear is Nike they should be providing it. Did you see many volunteers with non-Nike apparel?

You have shoes from c.'99!?

I think we pronounce it Nike-ie b/c that's how the Greek word is pronounced. Then again, you would think Europeans would be more in tune with that kind of thing than Americans and Canadians.

lu said...

i know i JUST heard about this the other day when i was in berlin and we were looking at the statue that represents nike, the goddess, but i cannot remember what was said about its pronunciation. but i do recall our british tour guide saying that it was nik-eeeee and not nike. so maybe we are right with this one.

just we are right with toma(y)to and ba(y)sil and i could go on and on...