BMO Okanagan Marathon
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Start Date/Time October 7, 2017 @ 10:00 am
End Date/Time N/A
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Great flat course and terrific pace bunnies who kept everyone's spirits high and really pushed (I PRed). Well supported aid stations.
Expo wasn't bad, some interesting vendors and samples . Not much in the race kit, mostly coupons (hence only 4 bananas, I've been conditioned to expect free stuff in the race kit).
Medal was nice quality with interesting details. Parked for free on the street.
Surprisingly, I liked that there weren't many km markers along the way (the 10k, half, and full courses ran into each other at times). I use a Garmin and hate it when the Garmin and the distance signs don't match (Garmin said this run was 13.11 miles total).
Nice finishing area with snacks and samples, truly great volunteers cheering for strangers (thank you all, I heard every cheer and it helped so much).
Would definitely do again. Kelowna is so beautiful.
I am still trying to figure out how to write this - without being once again overcome with absolute embarrassment and disappointment - but I believe this is important for people - especially "my sized" to know... I have also contacted the race organizer with this as well.
You see - I am a newer runner. I chose the BMO Okanagan as my first attempt at a Marathon. Why? 2 years ago I raced my first half here, surrounded by family and friends and had an absolute amazing experience. So when this run came up again - my 2 closest friends drove in from Seattle - with 11 full marathons under their belt, numerous more half's / and several Ultras - from all over North America to be by my side. Never in any of their running race experiences have they had what happened to us before.
At the start - there were corrals for as long as 6:30. You even had a "Marathon Walk" option at registration.
We posted slow at the half way mark - we know that, however we were strong, and pacing for a strong finish. At just before 12pm - around the 24km mark - we were approached and given 2 options. (The walker behind us we are assuming were given the same options) - we could quit now. Go home. OR we could finish at approx 32km, instead of doing the remaining 10km, we were told we would have to enter the final shoot upon entering the park for the last loop. Our "option" was to take the full marathon medal - just not say anything, or take the half marathon medal, as well as a 10km medal, as that would be the distance we officially did. I had 2 experienced runners with me. We had our pace. Our running watches. We knew our time, and our ability to complete the course within at least the 6:30 corral timing. When we questioned the run organizer telling us this - he had nothing to say except "our volunteers had been out for a long time, and they were closing the course" (this is just before 12pm) We asked if we could finish the run - or attempt to - unsupported. He said no - they were stopping us at the finish shoot regardless, he was just giving us the chance to get a medal.
Honestly - of course I cried. I have battled injuries, weight issues amongst other things - and this race was my motivator to not give up. Of course that slowed us down to a slow walk. At the 28km mark - my fiance met us with my friends daughter - my friend then carried their 2 yr old daughter on his shoulders - from 28km to our finish approx 32km in. Our official GUN TIME - per your website/online stats: 5:13mins (and that included 8 km of crying - walking - and utter devastation). This means - we were STILL well under the 6:30 hour corral pace you had at the start line. We had just over 10km, and just about hour and half to do it - after SLOW WALKING 8km. We got our post run snack, walked several blocks to the car, and were back at my parents place in West Kelowna - at 1:05pm. Road closures were still on until 2pm. Let alone the finish stretch was through the park.
To make matters worse - when we approached the final stretch from the Sails downtown, to the Final Shoots - the organizer approached us AGAIN trying to say "he knew how we felt"... I politely told him to leave us, and to "have a nice Thanksgiving". At that point, We decided to try and finish with dignity - after all, I had just completed the longest distance yet - over 30km, we were in a run ONLY TO BE STOPPED ONCE AGAIN at the top of the shoots - the organizer then said "hey, where do you guys live, if you promise to do the final distance at home, you can take a full marathon medal". We declined - I started to run again - past the finish line, tears in eyes - and once again, had to personally decline the full marathon medal the volunteers were attempting to give me, for the half marathon. Of course there was no 10km medal, they all had thought I just finished a full marathon - even the announcer had said my name - coming in for the full at said 5:13 hour mark. IN FACT - right now, my online stats show a full marathon at the gun time : 5 hours 13mins. yet I wasn't even given the chance to finish - those stats just are wrong, and a hurtful reminder I wasn't even given the chance. But hey - BMO Okanagan overall stats look great eh!?
Then - you are posting about everyone's amazing PR's. How fast people finished. John Stanton even posted a video of the "final finisher" - all of that was a lie, as we were not even given a chance.
Closing the course early. Even though having a 6:30 hour corral. Treated like we were losers. Negotiating medals. Let alone the 1 walker that registered for the course - which was going to give up at the half way mark - but carried on - pushed through her mental challenges of the race - and really if you do the math, from the minute the gun went - she would not of made the finish. We were not even given a chance.
The running community is small. Not everyone is an elite runner - and when you advertise a race like you did (6:30 corals / marathon WALK) - yet make the call to close course early - just because there isn't hundreds of runners in the final paces - I hope you actually realize the effect - the experience - you chose to give those less than average people. Do you know what it feels like to be treated like that? Then watch all your happy media loving posts - showing fastest course - bragging about all the PR's, when for some - albeit a small group - just finishing would of been a PR. You took away that chance.
Jack Be Nimble
Ran the Half with my fiancé this week, and she loved it. The race was well organized with lots of aid stations and really nice finisher medals. The people were great and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun. My only complaint was I was following the 1:50 pace bunny for the first 10k who was wearing a "10:1" t shirt, but he ran continuous. It kind of messed up my plan by trying to stick with him, but overall it was a great day. I'd do this race again next year .
Great day! Well organized, great volunteers, fabulous weather.