Friday, May 05, 2006

God is in the Details

It is the little things that make all the difference in the world.

This Sunday will be my fifth (sixth?) Vancouver Marathon and the organizers have never really seemed to grasp what a marathon is all about. It's about the runners, stupid!

Of course there is NO real presence or participation of runners in the people who organize the race. How bush league is that?

Every single year there's a complete lack of highly visible mile markers. Kilometre markers are non-existent. (I stand corrected - there are Km markers every 5K) How bush league is that!?!

And it kills me to have to rip my own home town race.

Every year for at least five years, the Vancouver Marathon has pumped out butt-ugly cheap, one hundred percent cotton, long-sleeve t-shirts as the Marathon souvenir shirt. That's useful for a runner...

I almost gag at the end of every race when I have to stand in line after running the marathon to pick mine up. I have, after all, paid for it. Generally, they're too ugly to even wash your car with.

Runners have been telling them for years to make the marathon shirts out of technical fibre so that the shirt is actually worth having AND WOULD EVEN PROVIDE FREE FUCKING ADVERTISING FOR THE VANCOUVER MARATHON EVERY TIME YOU WORE IT!

Yet year after year there has been competition between the Victoria and Vancouver Marathons to produce the ugliest, least attractive, and most utterly useless souvenir marathon shirts imaginable. Victoria's specialty is a sweat-shirt that your Great-Grandmother would buy in the Gift Shop of the Empress Hotel. We are talking truely hideous stuff, children.

Vancouver lost Adidas as a sponsor this year (how bad do you have to be to fuck that up, I ask?) who have been replaced by the Bank of Montreal.

Oh, my God! Are there winds of change sweeping through Christendom?????

Yeah, Vancouver Marathon BoM branded technical shirts are available!


You want SIXTY FUCKING DOLLARS for a long-sleeve, no-name brand technical shirt!?!



It gets worse, kiddies. The topper! Yes, folks it gets better. I kid you not, they EMBROIDERED the FUCKING LOGO all over the technical gear!!!

Not only that, but to torture runners and conceivably get them to shut up forever, they EMBROIDERED the FUCKING LOGO on the chest, almost perfectly positioned so that it is guaranteed to rub your one good nipple raw.

What this really means is that the organizers of the Vancouver Marathon ARE TOO FUCKING BRAIN DEAD to actually consult with people who actually RUN to have them consult on the gear....

If it is good enough for the Boston Marathon, the BAA, and Adidas to SCREEN-PRINT the hallowed "unicorn" BAA logo on technical gear, it should be damn well good enough for Bush-League By the Sea, BC.

But that requires thinking, planning, foresight and KNOWLEDGE ABOUT RUNNING.

Here's a couple of management mantras for Vancouver's marathon managerial morons...




And by the way, not only did the Vancouver Marathon organizers manage to blow-off Adidas - in favour of a BANK! - they managed to lose sponsorship from BOTH POWERBAR and GATORADE!!!

I wonder if those witless wonders in charge, those meandering Morons, those simpering simpletons have ever had to choke back Ultima and puke up Vectors Bars. That's right - in the middle of a marathon, these retards in charge of the race are HANDING OUT VECTOR BARS TO MARATHON RUNNERS.....


That's hysterical laughter by the way.

These people are so witless it's laughable.

But it's their arrogance which is the most staggering aspect of the debacle they call the Vancouver Marathon. I myself have had any number of e-mails and phone calls go completely unanswered over the years. Many other runners have told me the same thing happened to them. Five years ago I offered to volunteer and work for FREE. Never got a call back.

World-class marathons recognize that it is the runners who are the most important aspect of the event. They do after all, actually RUN THE RACE! What a concept.

The runners are the marathon organizer's customers and clients.

The Vancouver Marathon has the worst customer service of any marathon I have ever participated in and/or witnessed. Most other experienced Vancouver runners say the same thing. Many Vancouver runners have such complete and total disdain for the Vancouver Marathon that they don't even CONSIDER running in their home town race. They would rather go elsewhere.

And finally, if you are going to stage an event in what is widely considered one of the most beautiful cities on the face of the entire freaking planet, did you all have to go and smoke pot or drop acid before laying out what has to be one of the most stageringly unimaginative and boring routes through the crappiest and shittiest parts of downtown Vancouver.

Good one. Good organization. Good planning. Great management.

Please, Elite. Please come to Vancouver and please put these miserable bastards out of a job!

This is how you organize a marathon for the benefit of the runners -

Then maybe Vancouver can have the Marathon it really and truly deserves!

Like to send your own comments and suggestions in to the Vancouver International Marathon?

Look no further:

Vancouver International Marathon
Tel: (604) 872-2928
Fax: (604) 872-2903
Mail: Box 3213, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6B 3X8
Official website:

Janet Anderson
Event Manager

In person: South Tower, 2nd Floor, M Level
1601 Bayshore Drive
Vancouver, BC V6G 2V4, Canada

Don't hold your breath waiting to hear back from them. I have run AND spoken with the Event Manager, Janet Anderson in the past. A little like communicating with a brick wall...


Anonymous Patrick said...

I couldn't agree more. When will the organizers wake up and smell the coffee? The ultimate irony is that the Vancouver Marathon Society gets up in arms when Elite Racing talks about coming to Vancouver to organize a race PROPERLY, spending all their effort trying to fend off what would be a world-class event, and then can't put a decent event together themselves. Vancouver runners need to take more pride in the local event and DEMAND better from an organizing committee that is clearly inept.

7:10:00 PM  
Blogger Justin Callison said...

Ditto. It's the Air Canada syndrome ...

7:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god did you listen in to my rant on the last long run or what! Almost point for point (weird). I think Elite coming in to town is the best thing that could happen here. It will make these folks either pick up their game and or they will have to find another sandbox to play in. Now here is my challenge to you - this organization is run by volunteers you should try and get on the board and shake things up. A changing of the guard lets say. I think you would do a great job!

8:57:00 PM  
Blogger Vince Hemingson said...

Dear Anonymous,

No, much as I would like to claim to be omnipotent and omniscient, I can't! It's tragic.

But like you, I, and many other runners have experienced the same thing time and again when it comes to the Vancouver Marathon.

As for your challenge, I agree that it sounds great in principle.

But these wankers don't WANT any help. They are not the slightest bit INTERESTED in making the Vancouver Marathon better. They have a fucking monopoly. I have heard first hand from over a dozen runners that they have offered their time and services and been rebuffed.

The kind of people who run - or shall we say - ineptly manage, the Vancouver Marathon AREN'T interested in fresh blood, new ideas or outsiders coming in.

These idiots are the classic small-minded turf-protecting busy bodies whose whole sense of self is tied up in "this is my toy" and no one else can play unless I get to make all the rules.

Frankly, every penny of their funding from municipal, provincial and federal sources should be cut off immediately until they get their act in gear.

Personally, I think the best thing that could happen is that an outfit like Elite Racing comes into town and actually puts on a well-run event.

The Vancouver Marathon has no good will that I know of among serious local runners.

They are considered a joke. And one in poor tatse at that.

10:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm - maybe we can force the issue for Vancouver. The media has heard the Vancouver marathon's talking heads whinging. Is there a way we can present our side of the story as runners to the media. Maybe and this is a BIG mayne if the runners side was published and the BMO folks heard our complaints they would sit up and listen. just a thought.

8:47:00 AM  
Blogger Scooter said...

Hey Vince,
If it's really that bad, then stage a takeover of the organizing committee. It can be done. Hell, you could likely make a living out of it if you do it right.

Meantime, embroidered tech gear, the mere thought is bizarre!

9:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

one last comment on another detail that was overlooked/poorly thought out/ineptly managed...

The bibs for this year's race are made of plain paper, looking like something printed on someone's home computer with an inkjet. Let's see how many of those bibs survive the first 5km with tomorrow's forecast for rain. And yet, alternate bibs for the Friendship Run were given out, and these are actually proper synthetic race bibs. Thank god the race times are measured by championchip.

12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally someone with the balls to tell it like it is.

Run by people who went obviously went to clown management school.

9:36:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Them's fightin' words, Pilgrim!

Seriously, Vince, how did you do yesterday? Did you survive the wind and the rain?

9:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Having pre-ordered a small t-shirt well before last year's race, I was choked to find out that they'd run out of smalls when I went to pick up my t-shirt. What then, may I ask, is the point of pre-ordering a size? The t-shirt I ended up with fits me like a dress, and the same was true for all my female running buddies. A trivial complaint? No: While nothing can take away the satisfaction of finishing my first marathon, it sucks that the shirt I earned looks like something borrowed from my boyfriend. Never mind the fact that it's 100% cotton, and shit-brindle brown...

12:50:00 PM  

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