In the grand scheme of things this is just a tiny blip on the radar, but this one will go down as my first DNF (Did Not Finish) after managing to get through the first 131 relatively unscathed. There have been quite a few races in the past where I’ve heard other people talk about taking wrong turns, and I thought if I stayed with it long enough it would eventually happen to me, and on this day it was my turn. It’s not a great big deal, but it’s a little disappointing to find out in the middle of a race that you’ve run in the completely wrong direction.
There were several places along the course where the only way I knew which way to go was to follow the runners ahead of me. The place where I took my wrong turn actually had the word “EXIT” written on the ground with an arrow pointing to the left. Unfortunately, I wasn’t looking at the ground and there were no runners close by either ahead of me or behind me so I kept following the path to the right that looped around the lake. When I veered off course I was 7th or 8th overall in the race and was running well, so as bad as the DNF was, it’s better that it was the result of getting off the path than something catastrophic like a heart attack or breaking my nose in a fall, so I’m ready to get back in the saddle next week.
I do hope that Oakboro people will do a better job in the future with the course. I ran the same race last year and it wasn’t a problem, but in that race there were people nearby so I stayed on track without any difficulty. They should have a person posted at a turn like that (I’m not familiar with the park and didn’t even see the trail going out that way until I came back around looking for it), or at the very least they should have some big arrows pointing in the correct direction (not just drawn on the ground).
As I write this the results haven’t been posted, but they should be up in a day or two on the Vac & Dash results page…
2 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
6 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
4 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
4 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
3 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
1 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
9 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
3 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
0 – 0-10 Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
6 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
TOTAL – 54