Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Race Rating: Vulture Bait 25k Trail Race

It was during the beautiful 25km journey through the trails along the shores of Fanshawe Lake in London, Ontario that I realized my rating system was flawed and gave too much emphasis to things that only big budget, big draw races could provide. I resolved to amend the rating system for 2010 with a handicapping option that would help reflect the true quality of the race.
Until then, I would like to note that the Vulture Bait race was one of my favourites and has spurred me on to participate in the Ontario Trail Series next season and possibly the Ontario Ultra Series in 2011.
But, to be fair to the other races I've completed this season, I will rate the Vulture Run according to the original rating system.

  1. Bathroom facilities - 3 (plenty of park facilities and a forest full of other options)
  2. Race day organization - 3 (a running race run by runners - can you ask for anything more?)
  3. Course scenery - 3 (autumn in the woods in Southwestern Ontario - awesome!)
  4. Course creativity - 3 (despite the obvious run around a lake, the race took advantage of pretty much all of the conservation area's nature trails)
  5. Value - 3 (great value!)
  6. Shirt or gift - 3 (the shirt was very basic with nothing at all on the front and a text line on the back. normally, I would find this to not be a good thing, but in this case, it represented the race to a T. no flash, no phony crap - just the basics. just the running)
  7. Parking availability - 3 (free, bountiful and at the start line)
  8. Website quality - 2 (all the basics - could have had more race day details)
  9. Online registration - 3 (very simple)
  10. Accessible for spectators - 3 (because roads also circle the lake, the trails intersected at several points and gave supporters the opportunity to see their runners at many locations)
  11. Convenience of race packet pickup -3 (race day only - no need to take the day before to go to some inconvenient hotel banquet hall to pickup)
  12. Pre-race expo - 0 (not available)
  13. Entertainment on course - 1 (no official entertainment, but car stereos were blaring at more than one water station)
  14. Post race food - 3 (as this also serves as the year end banquet for the Ontario Ultra Series and the Ontario Trail Series, the food was pretty darn good. I could only eat the salad, however, if I'd inquired, I think the bountiful lasagna and pasta may have been void of meat)
  15. Race day vendors/exhibitors - 0 (but that's okay...)
  16. Volunteers/marshalls/police & emergency services support - 3 (as usual... most were runners and were full of info and sincere encouragement)

Well, apparently my rating system can reflect the true quality of this race. At 39 points, this is by far my highest rated race this season, 5 points higher than the next best, the Run for the Grapes Half in St. Catherines last month.

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