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RR: Fairfax Four (2008) - Anne Pastorkovich

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  • Anne Pastorkovich
    Racer: Anne Pastorkovich Race: Fairfax Four Date: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 Location: Fairfax, VA Race Type: Run - Other Age Group: Female 40 - 44 Time:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2009
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      Racer: Anne Pastorkovich
      Race: Fairfax Four
      Date: Wednesday, December 31, 2008
      Location: Fairfax, VA
      Race Type: Run - Other
      Age Group: Female 40 - 44
      Time: 0:43:00
      URL: http://www.trirats.net/view_result.php?racerid=2377
      Comment: First Year for the Fairfax Four

      --------------
      Race Report:

      I actually have no idea what my actual time was, it was 43 and change on
      the clock (I think), and I'll update it when they put up gun and chip
      results. I'm not good with fumbling with my watch in the dark. My hubby
      accidentally hit "stop" on the third lap, so I just have to wait for the
      posted results. I know I was really huffing and puffing along in the
      cold, having pulled my gaiter up over my nose and mouth a couple times to
      warm my breath. I was really slowing my hubby down and he seemed puzzled
      that I wasn't "picking it up" at all. I was c-c-c-old. I just cannot get
      going in the c-c-c-old.

      This was the first year for the Fairfax Four, which started in front of
      Pacers, so I thought I'd give the good points and the bad.

      First, the good features of this race:

      1) THAT THE RACE WENT ON. Despite a big old tree falling across Old Lee
      Highway and knocking out power to a chunk of Fairfax City, the race went
      on on a modified (four loop) course. The race director and volunteers
      reacted well to Mother Nature's wrath. There was a furious wind whipping
      around some of the course, but there was really nothing to blow over on
      us, so I think they made a good, safety-conscious decision that let us run
      out 2008 how runners want to run out an old year. It was, as you know,
      very windy. The Fairfax mayor didn't even get to light the bonfire in the
      park. If he had, he'd have surely been likened to Mrs. O'Leary's cow.

      2) SPECTATORS AND VOLUNTEERS. With such an angry wind, the runners were
      really the only outdoor "game" in town. So there were a fair number of
      spectators at the turnaround for such a wintery night, and I really did
      appreciate them being there. With four, roughly one mile, loops, we got
      to see them again and again and they were good and loud. The volunteers
      were also enthusiastic.

      3) CHIP TIMING. Chip timing meant not being good at fumbling with your
      watch in the dark (like me) didn't matter. Eventually, you'll know your
      time when they post the results. With chips, you should know them
      quickly. My hubby hates chips and would disagree with me for putting chip
      timing on the "good" list, but I like it.

      4) FREE STUFF. Although we didn't use them, they give you a bunch of
      coupons for a free wine tasting, free ice cream, wings and stuff like
      that. (Wishing to shun crowds, we went to the Firehouse Grill, which was
      surprisingly empty.)

      5) PARKING. Free. Plenty.

      The bad features of this race:

      1) NO CHIP BUCKETS. I totally understand that Pacers wants to show off
      their running store, but it's a very, very small space and they've got to
      know that. It's not a good place to funnel people in and out of for
      dropping off chips. They just need to get big old buckets and collect the
      chips at the finish line like other races. The type of timing tag they
      use is not all that expensive (I've been involved in putting on a race
      that used them) and most people will return them either on site or if
      reminded by e-mail.

      2) LONG LINE FOR PREMIUMS THEY DIDN'T ALWAYS HAVE. I guess the reason
      for them having a long line at the finish line was for you to pass in your
      chip *in exchange for* getting the post-race "premium," which is a Nike
      sweatshirt. The idea was that you give them your chip and they give you
      your premium for finishing. The sweatshirt is nice and all (male and
      female specific sizing, semi-fitted, which you were supposedly picking in
      advance), but I'd rather they'd have just given them out at packet pickup
      or have done t-shirts (or tech t-shirts) like everyone else does. My
      hubby pre-registered and they ran out of his size while we were way back
      in the line, but he and all the other guys got to fill out a form and
      allegedly they will be mailed one by Pacers. Running out of shirts
      happens and it happened at a race I was involved in managing (we mailed
      the shirts later), but it was more the annoyance of wasting time,
      shivering, in a long, snaking line to pass in a chip only to be told they
      don't have the size you pre-registered for anyway.
      ---

      I am a fan of holiday-themed races, and I think this one has great
      potential if they tweak some things about it next year. The race crew was
      not overwhelmed by the weather and what it threw at them. But they did
      seem to be overwhelmed by a large turnout on race day. In order to avoid
      leaving finishers standing around in the cold next year for premium they
      didn't actually get to collect anyway, I suggest they collect the chips in
      buckets and just give whatever article of clothing they want to give out
      at the packet pickup. With so much free parking, it is an easy jog back to
      the car post-race to toss something warm on and doing so would have been
      much faster than waiting in line anyway.

      Happy New Year to all! I have planned to run a New Year's Day race to go
      with my New Year's Eve race, but I think I might just do some yoga today
      in a nice, warm studio. My sinuses are still feeling frozen from last
      night!
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