Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Halloween: Chicago Monster Dash 2015 Race Recap




I participated in the Monster Dash on Halloween morning and while I had a blast running in the 40 degree (Real Feel 32 degrees) cold and POURING rain in full out costume, there is a very slim chance that I will actually do this race again! 


STRIKE 1 - I, among many others were so dissatisfied with the race starting from packet pickup. It was a TOTAL HOT MESS!!!!! It was held at the Sports Authority on Lasalle in Chicago. The space was so tiny for the amount of people they were expecting. One of the staff also disapproved of the location and said that it was a "last minute" decision. I waited in line for about 30 minutes before reaching the tables to get my packet. They ran out of jackets in certain sizes and asked participants to give a name and bib number to write with the size jacket they wanted and it would get mailed to them. I had originally signed up to get a large jacket, but it said on the website that it was on back order and wouldn't be received until December, so I switched to a medium because I was in no hurry to wear it and I would fit into within a couple of months anyways. 

I get up to the table and they tell me that they don't have any women's medium. I was getting ready to give a name, size, and bib number to write down, but before I could reach the next table to do that, someone brought out a box of women's medium jackets and said anyone could take those if they wanted, so I grabbed one, since that is the size I was suppose to get.  

Race day was a disaster. There was rain in the forecast and of course it was raining the entire time. In fact, it was pouring a lot of the time. Before my makeup got ruin, I wanted to make it to the costume contest to get judged before the race. Afterwards, I didn't care about my makeup getting ruined.


My makeup before I left the house. I was manic mad hatter.

STRIKE 2 - I got to grant park and immediately went over the judging area. There was a volunteer who was standing there looking lost and confused. I asked him if they were still doing the costume contest, since nobody was around and most of the volunteers were standing under tents. He tells me that his friend is the one who takes the pictures for the contest and that she would be back from the restroom in a few minutes. I say to him, "Oh! Okay!" and started getting excited and retouching my makeup, while he and my hubby made small talk. We see the girl coming towards the area and she proceeded to walk right past us, ignoring the guy who was trying to get her attention and me who was trying to ask her about the contest. The guy tells us to hang on, so that he could go get her. Well, 8 minutes later and we are still standing in the rain waiting to hear if she's going to take my picture or not. I kept glancing over a little bit trying to see if anyone was coming and every time I glanced over I saw both of the volunteers just standing there under the tent across the way just laughing and staring at us. The guy who was helping us hid behind the table when I kept looking that way and wouldn't look away. The 5K wave had already started. It started when she was walking toward us coming from the restroom. I got tired of waiting and ended up leaving because by then, it was just awkward and I was very upset with the customer service and treatment from the volunteers. So, I didn't get to participate in the costume contest. I put a lot of thought into my costume and I kept thinking to myself the entire time.... Did I do something wrong?!?! Strike 2!!

Strike 3 (YOU'RE OUT!) - The course was a disaster! They claimed there would be trick or treating at water stops, BUT THERE WERE NO WATER STOPS!!!!! NOT 1!!!!! There were NO aid stations/water stops for the 5K. I should have brought my handheld water bottle because I was dealing with dry mouth and had no water. I don't know if there were aid stations for the 10K and the half marathon. I thought I remembered reading a comment from someone on Facebook claiming there was one aid station at mile 3 or a little after and they had nothing in stock to give runners. I am glad I didn't do the 10K if that was the case. I would have been suffering big time! The course was poorly marked and I almost went the wrong way on course 3 times!!!! When you tried to ask for help, the volunteers would either turn the other way, or ignore you altogether until you actually did more to get their attention. I was so fed up with everyone's attitude. You see us runners and walkers out on course battling the weather and in high spirits, but the staff and volunteers can't leave their funky attitudes for 30 seconds to interact and answer questions for participants. REALLY?!?!?!?! 

U.N.A.C.C.E.P.T.A.B.L.E!! 
U.N.P.R.O.F.E.S.S.I.O.N.A.L!!

Coming from more sources on Facebook who did the longer distances, many people actually ran longer than a 10K because of course screw ups and a poorly marked course! People claimed that the turnaround for the 10K was poorly done and a lot of people missed the turnaround. The turnaround for the 5K wasn't any better. Other participants had to tell us which way to go and where to turn around.

Strike 4 (DISASTER!) - Strike 4 came after the race when they ran out of 5K medals. Are you kidding me? Not only did they run out of 5K medals, but after the race we had to walk around to find the medals. They were not being given at the finish line, which is the usual place of medal distribution for a lot of races. We had to walk around to find the medal distribution and we found a table where they were giving out the medals. By the time we got to the table one of the volunteers said that they had run out of 5K medals, and a lady behind me with 2 kids said that her kids will need a medal and that she wasn't leaving until they got one because they worked for it. The volunteer said that she could give them 10K medals and she agreed to that. Little did we know at the time that the medal was the same for all distances. The only thing that differed from distance to distance was the color of the neck piece, which we got separately with no medal attached. 

After my husband and I take our neck ribbon with no medal attached we started walking to find the registration tent we were told to leave our name and bib number at, so that our medals could get mailed out, eventually. As we arrive at the tent, we see a lady wearing a Team Ortho Jacket, so we figured she worked for the company. She stopped us and another group of people heading her way and asked if we got our medals. We told her no and she said they had medals waiting for us. She seemed very irritated at that moment. With the weather and way this event is being run.... who could blame her. She takes us to the medal table and tells the volunteers that the medals are all the same and the only difference are the colors of the neck ribbons. So, she and the volunteers start detaching medals from other neck ribbons for the other distances and gave them to us to attach to ours. I guess they STILL ran out of medals for people because a lot of them claimed that they still never got one after the event was over. 

This made me very upset. I felt very bad for the kids who worked hard and got nothing and adults who also worked hard to do this race in the cold and rain and received nothing for it. It really breaks my heart to read all the comments and stories that I did on the Facebook page and their event page.

When we got our medals, we walked over to the "post race party" area to the background banner where the costume contest was suppose to take place, so we could take some post race pictures and leave. I was fed up with the whole event and the staff/volunteers. I made the best of it, while I was there. After all, it was Halloween, my most FAVORITE Holiday EVER! 





Completely soaked and wet!! It was so cold, look at how pale my skin was! That's not makeup! Harlie Jade was nice and warm inside her stroller with the plastic cover. Those really come in handy!! She was wearing her honey bee costume, but never took her out because of the weather and she slept the whole time anyways.




Cold, rainy, and cloudy Halloween morning in Chicago.























About a week after the event, I noticed that they had taken down their 2015 Chicago Monster Dash Facebook event because of all of the comments. I also noticed that they deleted a lot of negative comments posted to their main page. 

This is THE WORST race event I have done this year. THE MOST unorganized race event I have done this year. I was highly disappointed with this whole experience. It upsets me because I didn't want to be disappointed with this event. Surprisingly, it's hard to find a costumed Halloween race in the Chicago area and especially with a scenic course and it just sucks that this had to be such a bad event because choices are very limited for Halloween runs in the area.

Chicago Monster Dash, you FAILED MISERABLY!! I hope that you will take into consideration all of the feedback you have been receiving from participants and make some MAJOR changes. I had such a bad experience with this race and Team Ortho, the company who puts on this race as well as a series of races, that I have decided against doing the Polar Dash in January. It sucks because I was looking forward to doing that one. I didn't find too many January races I was actually interested in. However, I happened to come across another January race I was interested in to take their place. 


Thanks, but no thanks Team Ortho. 




After the disastrous race, we went home to relax and warm up until it was time to go trick or treating. We took the baby trick or treating in my parents neighborhood and people did not disappoint when it came to decorations!!



LOVED how this house staged a car crash scene. Very cool!


My little honey bee!!


I had a fun Halloween despite the weather. I had a great time taking my little one trick or treating for the first time and running along crowded Lake Shore Dr. and the lake soak 'n wet in costume! I felt like such a bad ass during that race. Everybody out there that morning should have felt like a total bad ass for being in high spirits while braving that weather and doing an awesome job!

      

22 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh that all sounds awful! I seriously hate when races aren't run well. We put in so much time, effort, and money to get there and expect at least water stations, an accurate course, and medals. Sorry you had such a bad experience, but your costume was really cute!

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  2. that is just so messed up in so many ways. How does a race have that many issues? You looked great too - would have totally won for the costume contest.
    I wouldnt plan on doing this race any time in the future.

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    1. Right... I can see if it were only a few minor issues and it happens.... but when there is so many issues going on, it's unacceptable. Thank you ;)

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  3. Oh my goodness - that sounds HORRIBLE! Your costume was incredible and I'm so glad that you were able to shrug it off and have a great rest of the day!!

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  4. Wow not even 1 water stop? That's odd! Sometimes you can tell right from the start it isn't going to go well. Love the costume though :)

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    1. Not 1! I was very surprised to find this out. Very odd indeed!

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  5. What this the first time for this race? It sounds like they had not a clue what they were doing! Your costume was awesome and your little honey bee is adorable. I have run a half marathon before that was disastrous. Started late. No fluid. No food. Ugh!

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    1. Yikes!! I can't even imagine! This race has been around for about 5-6 years, surprisingly! And thank you :))

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  6. I so hate this race was a total disaster for you, I think everything that could go wrong, went wrong but I can say without a shadow of doubt..... YOU LOOKED AMAZING in your costume!!!!! Was that a wig cause I'd so keep that hair! Ha!

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    1. Aw, thanks and yes, that is a wig!!! I could never rock those colors with my own hair... way too much maintenance.

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  7. I'm so sorry the race was such a mess That's just unacceptable. You looked great, and so would have won for best costume!
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  8. Wow, that race sounds like a total disaster! Your costume was super cute! You should have won that costume contest! Glad y'all had fun trick or treating with your little one later that evening. She looked adorable in her honey bee costume!

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  9. Good thing your outfit was really cute! That has to help make up for the disaster of an event! And, this isn't the first time I have heard negative things about Team Ortho. Seems like some funny business.

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    1. Right?! I totally agree, despite all of the negative reviews I have read in the past about Team Ortho, I thought I would check out one of their races for myself. The bad reviews are pretty accurate!!!

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  10. Wow, that race was so unorganized, I really do hope you both emailed the race director seperately with your complaints. That is just awful.
    I also think that was in such poor taste for the volunteers, not what you normally expect. That is just too bad!
    I do have to say, your costume, super cute!!!! Probably one of the cutest race costumes I have ever seen!

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    1. No, I have not emailed the race directors with complaints. They don't respond to emails, so I figured facebook was enough. And thank you :D

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  11. ok, first things first - you look adorable in that costume!! second, what an AWFUL race experience. Ugh, that makes me so sad...

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