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November 12 2012 / Emily

Not So Fast, Uwharrie

Well, last week’s post about my brash jump into ultramarathons with the Uwharrie 40 miler is on hold… for now.

I registered for the race on November 1, and was only able to get on after a lot of browser refreshing.  Then I spent the next few days in a shell-shocked state, half terrified for what I had done, half super excited and planning a host of 50ks and trail runs to help prepare for the big 40 miler.

Then Tuesday evening, right before I headed out to watch some election coverage, I get this email from SPORToften, the group handling the registration.

Subject: Your 2013 Uwharrie Mountain Run Registration will be refunded.

Dear Emily,

We regret that we will be removing your registration(s) from the 2013 Uwharrie Mountain Run and your confirmation will no longer be valid. SPORToften will be refunding your payment as well as all transaction fees immediately.

We are truly sorry for the inconvenience, however, the SPORToften system allowed your registration for the 2013 Uwharrie Mountain Run to be added AFTER the capacity was reached and the event was SOLD OUT.

(Capacity was reached for the 40 Mile Run at 8:04:26 AM)

The SPORToften system was recently upgraded to handle higher volumes, however, the system did not perform as expected.

The following registration(s) occurred AFTER the event reached capacity:

Emily – reg time = 8:08:34 AM

Please feel free to contact us directly with any questions at racesupport@sportoften.com

Sincerely,
The SPORToften Support Team

—————————————————

PS – We recognize this is not a replacement for running Uwharrie, however, we would like to extend a $15 credit toward entry for the 2013 Tar Heel 10 Miler and 4 Mile Run scheduled for April 20, 2013 in Chapel Hill, NC. You can learn more at http://www.TarHeel10Miler.com

Oh man, you had better believe I was livid.  I spent the next 30 minutes fuming around the internet, looking for places to rant and rave.  Twitter, facebook, and the Runner’s World Message Boards were my outlets.

I waited a day to calm down before writing any nasty emails.  Found out that a few other friends and acquaintances also got bumped out of the race.  At first I was thinking they should just let us run, but I knew the race is on park property and they can’t just up and quadruple the size of the race.  If it filled in 4 minutes but stayed open for another 12 minutes beyond that (race directors had posted that it had closed at 8:16), that is far too many additional people to let in.

The next day, I wrote this email to the  race directors.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to write to the SPORToften people.

Hello,

I realize that the registration situation is more the fault of the SportOften crew than on your end, but as a very disappointed 40-mile (former) registrant, I want to express my displeasure with the way this process was handled.  It seems to me excessive that the mistake took 5 days to be communicated to the now-displaced runners.  I hope you will look into an alternate registration company for your future events to prevent this from happening again.  I understand the 20 mile runners have been inconvenienced as well, so this might not have been a solution, but had I known I was not able to run the 40 miler, I would have tried my luck at registering for the 20 or even the 8 mile race.

I was so looking forward to your event and spent quite a bit of time – between successfully registering on Thursday and being bumped out yesterday – working on my training plan for the winter along with the series of races I would run to prepare for Uwharrie.  I may still consider volunteering as it seems to be the only way into the race for the future, but for the moment I have a bit of a bad taste in my mouth regarding this event.  Additionally, I understand you do not usually have a wait list for this race, but if you make a concession for those of us who were affected by this registration problem, I would appreciate being placed on that wait list.

Thank you for your time and again I urge you to look into alternate registration systems for your future events.

Emily

I suppose I need to clarify that the race has a deal where volunteers get early registration for the following year’s race; that might explain that portion of my email.  Shortly thereafter, I received a response email (that probably went out to a lot of other people).  I won’t post the whole message here, but there was sincere apology and an offer for guaranteed entry into the 2014 race.  They also explained they cannot let additional runners into the 2013 race, which I understand, and also said they will be using an alternate registration process for 2014.

My plan at this point is to get myself onto the 2014 list, as well as accepting the discount to the Tar Heel 10 Miler.  But that leaves me floundering a bit for my “winter season” training and race plans.  I’m torn on whether I should continue with the ultramarathon plan, and find alternate race(s), or perhaps go short for the season and work on my 5k and 10k speed.  I do not intend to do another road marathon right away, perhaps waiting until late spring or summer 2013.  I don’t want to burn myself out again with the marathon training.  A trail run, whether a trail marathon or an ultra, doesn’t have the same time restrictions in my mind, so I’d be okay running a 5:30(+) trail marathon since it’s such a different challenge.

Also, the 40 mile distance seemed like a huge challenge, while the 50k/31M distance seems a lot more attainable if I just think of a slow marathon + 5 miles.  I don’t see why I can’t do that.  But 40 miles is not too common, the next more common distance is 50 miles and that just sounds absurd.  (Not that 40 miles, or 26 miles for that matter, sounds reasonable.)  Maybe a timed event, like a 6-hour race, would be a good compromise.

That said, right now I’m thinking about the Frosty 50k in Winston-Salem at Salem Lake on January 5 and/or the Pilot Mountain Payback Marathon or “Heavy Half” (longer than a half marathon) on February 16.  Or I might look for some trails in another state.  I do still want to get some new ground under these feet.  Salem Lake is near and dear to my heart (and my home), but I don’t know if it might be more interesting to go elsewhere for 50 whole kilometers of running.  Then again, I know it well and in terms of terrain it’s rather easy for “trails” – quite smooth and flat.

All in all, the Uwharrie snafu has really thrown a wrench into my running plans.  The 50ks I was thinking of running to lead up to it would earn more training if they were the end-game.  Anyway, I’ll probably stick to trails for the moment.  Just signed up for a 10-mile trail race this weekend… we’ll see after that how much longer I want to go.

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8 Comments

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  1. Darrel Wells / Nov 12 2012 3:14 PM

    Emily – Great that you get entered into 2014’s race! The only others I’ve found that aren’t in the fall are: Highlands Sky 40mi, in WV in June; and Enoree Passage 40 mi, SC in May.

    What 10-miler did you sign up for?

    • Emily / Nov 12 2012 4:06 PM

      Thanks for those race suggestions! I think May and June are farther into the warm months than I’d prefer, but beggars can’t be choosers. And yes, it is nice to be offered the 2014 race.

      I’m registered for the Raven Rock Rumble this weekend: http://www.onthemarksports.com/events/ravenrock/index.html. I’d never even heard of that park, but it sounds neat and I really like the logo… I registered too late for a shirt guarantee so I really hope to get one!

  2. hinsone / Nov 12 2012 5:39 PM

    That stinks about you getting bumped, but I’m glad to see the RD and the management company at least attempt to make amends. I know it’s not the same as getting into your race, and yes the long delay in telling you was very disturbing. So.. hey, I guess I’ll see you at the Tar Heel 10-miler! You should definitely sign up for the crash the party option, Wake was 3rd last year behind Duke and NC State, and top 3 get custom bibs so you’ve got a good shot at the Wake bib. I’ll be there repping the Wolfpack for sure!

    I’d have to look up the name of it (might be just the Mississippi 50) but there is a 50K/50Mile trail ultra in Mississipi somewhere. Here, here it is, the Mississippi 50. It’s in March. (Interesting last year it was the same weekend as Rock and Roll New Orleans, this year is the weekend after). There’s a 20K as well, so just shy of half marathon distance. http://www.ms50.com/ I just know about that one since one of my friends in Alabama ran it the day before Rock and Roll New Orleans.

    • Emily / Nov 12 2012 10:33 PM

      Oh no way in hell I’d wear a baby blue bib. Only reason I’m even considering Tar Heel 10 is because of the likely Wake bib. Thanks for the Mississippi link. I’ve actually looked at that race before. There are oodles of 50ks and 50Ms to choose from, it’s that in-between that gets pesky.

      • hinsone / Nov 13 2012 6:05 AM

        Hahah.. yeah I’m willing to overlook blue on the medal. They had a table set up at the City of Oaks expo, and the last couple of years the medal ribbon has been like their current football jerseys, half light blue, half dark (almost Duke) blue, so even that is not *that* bad.

Trackbacks

  1. Quad-Weekly Recap: Catching Up « run. eat. nap. drink.
  2. Race Report: Tar Heel 10 Miler | run. eat. nap. drink.
  3. Race Report: Uwharrie Mountain Run 20 Miler | run. eat. nap. drink.

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