There’s so much to write that I’m not sure I’ll get this done all in one sitting
I arrived in San Francisco Friday afternoon, just in time to go pick up my race packet from the Marriott Hotel. My friend and I walked in and there was nothing at the entrance to tell you where to go. I just kept walking in hopes that I would find something to signal where I was supposed to go. I finally see this large banner that says Diva’s Half Marathon, however there is no direction. Luckily I saw some women coming down the stairs with pink bags and assumed it must be upstairs. I was correct. I found the conference room where the race packs were to be picked up. There were stations set up by your bib number, which had previously been emailed to you. The numbers were designated based on last names.
The fitness expo consisted of a few vendors but nothing worth sticking around for in my opinion. The focus seemed to be more on their apparel than anything else. I can only imagine how much money they made off the clothing alone based on the variety of shirts I saw during the race.
The offered a Diva’s event Friday night that consisted of a yoga class, massage chairs, things of that nature. It was only open to participants so I decided against it since I had come from NYC to San Francisco with my boyfriend. Although I was doing the race with his sister, it was still a vacation for us. We decided to go to a Giants game instead I feel it was the better option.
Saturday I confirmed with the hotel lobby that there was going to be a shuttle picking up participants the next morning for the race. The front desk attendant was next to useless and could provide me with no more information than giving me a half page of instructions that said shuttle buses would be running to and from the host hotels and the starting line until the start of the race.
Sunday morning I get up in plenty of time to get ready, eat breakfast and catch the shuttle to the race. I won’t go into the horrible experience I had with the Westin restaurant, which really set a bad tone for my morning. Needless to say, I didn’t get breakfast. My friend and I are waiting for the shuttle at 6:55am. The race was scheduled to start at 7:30am. We waited .. and waited .. and waited. What was 2 girls waiting became 12. We were all chatting about how no shuttle had come, had they stopped the service, did we need to start walking so we didn’t miss it? I wasn’t 100% sure where the race was starting from but one of the other girls said it was 1.8 miles from the hotel – she had checked the day prior. 1.8 miles is not “next to the start/stopping point” in my opinion. I’m just saying. It is now 7:20 and no shuttle. Everyone is panicking. One of the girls sees a school bus up ahead at the Marriott. One of the other girls said that it was school buses that were picking everyone up. As it came to the stop light where we were all standing on the opposite side of the street, one of the girls ran across and asked if they were going to the starting line. The driver said yes. The girl called for all of us to hurry up and get on the bus. I was highly annoyed at this point. Most of the girls were really decked out in Diva outfits. We were standing on the side of the road. Did the bus driver fail to notice 12 girls in hot pink? He didn’t think it was worth signaling to us or asking us if we needed a ride – it is what he was hired to do is it now? But then again, I do expect too much for people I suppose.
We arrived at the park where the starting point was at 7:28a.m.. We had quite a ways to go before we got to where the race was starting. We all started briskly walking, then running just trying to not miss the race. By the time we got to the starting point, we were already tired from the stress, anxiety and exertion of getting to this point. Thankfully the race hadn’t started yet. We got to the marker for our average pace around 7:35a.m.. They started the race at 7:40a.m.
I had my phone with me and I was tracking my distance and pace with the Nike + app. We got to the first mile, then the second mile, and then the third mile – no mile markers. I don’t know about you but I like to see my progress. I like to judge how much farther I have to push myself to reach the goal I set. We finally saw a mile marker when we got to mile 4.
There were water stations but they were pretty far spread out. I decided that I was going to stick with my boyfriends sister for the entire race, whether she wanted to walk or run. She wanted to start walking at mile 4 – there wasn’t much running after that point – but I was fine with it. We had only met once before, over our Christmas vacation, and I knew it was important to my boyfriend that his sister and I get to know each other better because they are really close and he wants us to be close too. I only bring this up because had I been running, I would have been a little upset about the water stations. There were times when I was walking that I was questioning when there would be another one. I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to stop and get water. I would rather just grab the cup and drink as I run. There was no way you could get water without physically stopping and getting through the people up to the table. The volunteers weren’t passing out the water, they were just simply putting it on the table. At one point, they ran out of water at one station. How do you run out of water during a half marathon??
They brag about how you get a boa and a tiara during the race. We came across the people handing them out before coming up to mile 13. Again, they weren’t being very accommodating. I literally had to walk over and ask for mine.
When we got to the finish line, I was a little disappointed to see that there was really no way for your friends and family to be there to cheer for you. The setup was really strange. They had their “hunks” passing out the medals but you had to seek them out too. Then we go to get our champagne. Imagine how annoyed I am when I see all these women walking around with champagne flutes that have the Divas emblem/trademark on them and all that are left is regular plastic cups. Are you serious?? They announced on their Facebook page that 6100 people registered but only 5600 people picked up their packets. If you have 6100 people register (at $80 a pop, and that’s low balling it), you should expect 6100 people to finish the race. There is no faster way to have people not promote or participate in your events than running out of the “perks” you promised.
To top it all off, they promote their Diva app stating that it can be used to track runners with GPS. Of course I told my boyfriend about the app and suggested he buy it so that he could get to the park in time for us to cross the finish line. I noticed during the race that there was only one area where they had a tracker set up to pick up the tracking device on the bib. Come to find out, the app does not provide any form of accurate tracking. It is based on the time you put in when you registered and says based on a pace of 12 minutes per mile, bib #100 should be here at approximately this time. So glad he wasted $2 on that ridiculous nonsense.
As you can see, I was less than impressed. I really expected it to be so much better than it was. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the runs at Disney. I just think if you take in almost half a million dollars on an event you are hosting, you should be able to do more. The medal doesn’t have the date or location on it – just says Diva Half Marathon Series 2012 – so you know they were bought in bulk so they can use them at any of the 5 or 6 races they have this year.
I spent a lot of money going from the east coast to the west coast for this race because I thought it was going to be a lot of fun and worth it. My boyfriend’s sister has never done a half marathon so I thought it would be a fun thing for her and I to do together. Honestly, I don’t think I will ever participate in another Divas Half Marathon. I would rather spend an extra $100 on a Disney run that is much more organized and offers more perks in terms of the items you receive for registering, etc.
I didn’t take any pictures with the rush of trying to get to the starting point but they have them on their website and Facebook if you are interested.
So there you have it, my brutally honest review of this event!