Organizers apologize for bumpy Run Barbados road race
The recent restructuring of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) has been blamed for a series of planning mishaps that have bedevilled this year’s Powerade Run Barbados road race.
In fact, last weekend’s run was far from smooth, both from the standpoint of the participants and the organisers, who have been forced to apologize repeatedly over the past 24 hours for the challenges, which range from improper route markings during the to 5K and 10K races, to late posting of results.
Several runners have also complained about inaccurate official results, including wrong ages, times and country listings for participants.
What’s more, many are still to be issued with medals after participating in the event, which some are now calling a fiasco.
“These results are highly inaccurate and are an insult to the athletes. It is one thing to have had issues but posting inaccurate results is unacceptable. They should just be scrapped altogether as I don’t expect you to pull precise times out of some hat,” said Saadiya Nakhuda, who was among several who openly vented their frustration on the official Run Barbados Facebook page.
“You have my time as 58 mins (#404) but in fact it was 53:11 per my watch and per your timer when I finished,” complained Tony Hoyos.
“Yes, my time is wrong as well. I would love to be at 50 minutes but I was closer to 60 minutes. Also, I’m not 99 [years old]; I’m 34. (#68 on results),” chimed in Raena Morrison.
Courtney Ramsay said that as someone who only recently started running, he appreciated the challenges faced by the organizing committee. However, he wondered aloud whether it would not have been better for the organizers “to apologize for the lack of times being available and move on to making next year be the best that it can be, as opposed to posting times that seem to be inaccurate in so many instances.
“My time is listed here as finishing in 53:38.86 and I hope to be able to run that time next year, but this time around I was more in the 1:04:00 range,” he added.
Alison Thompson of Canada also had problems with times, as well as the inaccurate listing of her country.
“My time is wrong as well. It should be 55:33,” added Jennifer Devonish.
However, Ralf Luther was in the minority, who reported that their information was posted right.
In its statement on Thursday, the organizing committee said while it was not making any excuses it felt the need to put the challenges in context.
The statement signed by Neville Boxill, the senior director of Support Services at the BTMI, said that with the change over from the BTA on August 25, they were still in the process of forming a sports tourism department, which placed the execution of this year’s Run Barbados in “serious jeopardy”.
The organizers, who also met on Thursday for the first time since last weekend to discuss the challenges, further revealed that planning for the event had only started during the last week of October, which left them with only a month to execute the two-day event, which was held December 6-7.
They said a further decision was made to source an external company to execute the series, with the BTMI acting as a major sponsor.
The Run Barbados Organizing Committee also opted to utilize local companies to provide both the registration and the chip timing but integration of the two systems also proved difficult.
“. . . we ask that you accept our humble apologies,” the statement said, in reference to the delay in sharing the results of the various race events.
However, as soon as the process began this week, runners highlighted several inaccuracies, which the organizers are now promising to fix in time for the launch of the 2015 website.
They also say appropriate measures will be taken to prevent a recurrence of this year’s problems, including some which they suggest were not of their own making.
“In some instances participants supplied incomplete registration forms, particularly groups. This, coupled with internal communication challenges, also hindered us from being able to post the results. Our team is confident these issues have been solved for next year’s events.”
In defence of changes made to 2014 Half Marathon, the Committee said it had hired AIMS, a recognized global entity, to measure the route, based on runners’ feedback.
“The routes for the 5K and 10K remained the same but, due to human error, the markings at the turnaround points for these events were misplaced.
“For this we apologize profusely and commit to using AIMS to re-measure and the entire suite of races early in 2015.”
The 2014 Run Barbados Series was also affected by a shortage of medals, particularly in the Gold Challenge and Fun Mile events.
A total of 60 medals were ordered this year for the Gold Challenge, based on the 44 who participated in 2013. However, there were 79 participants in all this year exceeding what organizers thought would be “a reasonable growth estimate”.
They are now seeking to order an additional 20 medals to be mailed to participants accordingly.
“We also still have a number of medals for the Fun Mile, mainly for those who are yet to receive, and invite you to contact our race coordinators, Elite Sports,at 246-244-4346 or firstname.lastname@example.org.You may also inbox our page,” the Run Barbados Organizing Committee said.