Oh, Diva Dash. I had such high hopes for you.
Your website promised excitement, challenge, and fun all rolled into a women’s only obstacle course. Your website was brilliantly done. Beautifully designed. It really sold it to me.
Too bad you spent more on your website than on planning the actual event.
To be fair, Saturday’s Diva Dash was the first ever, and Austin was the first city to host one. That said, the Diva Dash was not THAT different from a straight-up 5K or a 10K. I’ve been to plenty of those that were extremely well planned. I’m shocked that a national magazine like SHAPE didn’t organize better.
I’m so glad I had friends to do this with, otherwise I would have been really bummed out. Beth and Steph signed up with me, and we all drove out together with Beth’s friend, Beth.
- The idea
They had some good ideas. I liked the obstacle course idea and the idea of bonding with a bunch of other ladies. It seemed empowering.
- Lunch afterward
We all went to Z’Tejas after the run and had a chance to laugh about the experience and drink margaritas. Definitely a plus.
- GenAustin benefited
The race proceeds all went to Gen Austin, which is a great local cause. At least I helped other girls.
OK, so here’s what the problems were:
- Packet pickup chaos
There were roughly 3,000 people signed up for this event and pre-event packet pickup was planned for just 4 hours the evening before at RunTex on Riverside, which is a tiny place with little parking — plus there were some huge events going on in downtown Austin and Auditorium Shores, so streets were closed. The event highly encourage packet pickup before the event. It was chaotic.
- Ran out of numbers?
You would think that knowing how many people are signed up for a run would help you order enough bib numbers, but apparently not. They didn’t have a number for me, so they wrote it on a sticker from the Zilker Holiday Tree 5K. I felt gipped. I already ran that race.
- Not enough shuttle buses
We were told to park at the exposition center and take the shuttle bus 1.5 miles to Walker E. Long Park. The line was super long, and there didn’t seem to be enough buses, so we waited in line for 45 minutes. Some ladies waited over an hour. Thank goodness we got there early, but even then, by the time we walked into the park at 10am, all of the raffles were over and the bathrooms were out of toilet paper.
That reminds me — what’s the deal with running out of toilet paper by 10am? You know you have 3,000 women — tell the vendor to stock enough!
- No timing option
I knew I started at 10:30am — but I have no idea when I finished. There was no clock, and the race was not timed. At the finish line, were were shuttled into a chute and formed a line so they could write down our numbers in the order they came through.
I know this is supposed to be a fun run — but there WAS a prize (a trip to Aruba) on the line.
- That’s an obstacle?
I was no fan of the obstacles. They were kind of inane, although the first one, where you had to walk across a rope bridge, was kinda fun. They weren’t really challenging, I also felt gipped because the advertising had a barbell in it, so I was hoping to have to lift something.
There were no barbells.
- Water, water, no where
It was hot. There were no water stations until the end. And there were no volunteers handing out water. You had to find a cup and fill it up. There was also no food — unless you wanted to pay. No fruit, no nothing after the race. If we wanted to eat, you had to bring your own or order up at one of the numerous vendors.
There were numerous other planning and execution problems, but I’ll spare you. I could go on and on about how disappointed I am about this run, but what I’m most disappointed in is myself. I ran it very poorly, and maybe that’s what pisses me off the most.
I actually felt like I had to stop and walk several times throughout the course — and I did. I probably would have walked more had Steph not been running with me and encouraging me to keep going. (Thank you Steph! You’re awesome!)
It’s been a long time since I felt that awful during a race (and I use the term “race” loosely), and I’m embarrassed. I hope I’m not that bad of a runner. It’s puzzling that I was all smiles during the Cap 10K and felt like I was going to keel over during the Diva Dash (a 5K). I wonder if the heat got to me. I guess I need to start doing more training in the heat, if I’m going to overcome that.
Now that I’ve had my rant about the Diva Dash… let us never speak of it again.