I went to the parks half-marathon this weekend. Not because I enjoy running, I certainly didn't run in it, but because I wanted to take pictures of the runners. I saw it as a kind of a challenge, to see how many of the runners I could take a picture of. I took about 1600 pictures in the hour and a half that I was there.
They were limited to 2,500 entries and from what I could tell, they were all used, or at least close to it. There were only 2037 finishers. The race started at 7:00 am and they claimed you had to be able to finish in 2:45 or less, so everyone should have been done by 9:45, since they didn't start everyone instantaniously, add 15 minutes or so for the start and everyone should have been done by 10:00 am, right when I left. However, they let people finish until 10:25, so I missed about 50 people because of that. I also got there a little late and missed the first 25 finishers.
I took multiple pictures of some people, but then, I also had cases where the same photo had multiple people in it, so I figure about 1,400 people I got a picture of, or almost three quarters of them. For the time I was there, I got a picture of virtually everyone. Sometimes a runner would be on the far side of a group and I wouldn't get a good picture, but if you finished before 10am, I almost certainly have a picture. Is that good or bad? It is pretty decent. The biggest problem I had was with people who had their bib number on their left leg. I had trouble getting the number in the picture which makes it tough to find them later.
They had a bunch of rules, some good, some bad, for instance Runners must have their bib numbers visible at all times. Makes sense, but what is the definition of visible? any part of it? The whole thing? I saw several where I couldn't see the bib at all, a bunch where it mostly covered or crumpled so you couldn't read any of the numbers. To allow safe passage for all half marathoners regardless of their pace, please do not run more than two abreast during the race. Thats a nice sounding rule, but how could you possibly enforce it. And if you did, would it be fair? How would you pass someone if they were already running two abreast? I saw lots of runners in groups four across. Use of headphones...during the race is prohibited and will be cause for disqualification from the race. I saw lots of people listening to music and why shouldn't they? The roads were closed, so they didn't have to deal with cars. This is the dumbest rule they had.
Here's a gem in the Results section "All results will be posted immediately as they are available at the finish line and on this web site." Followed by "Complete results will be posted on www.runwashington.com on Sunday afternoon and on this web site by Monday, September 15, 2008." So they claim that results will be posted on that website immediately, while also claiming that they won't be on the website until the next day. Did they even read this?