|photo by Irene Chong|
After an hour, I finally reached the finished line! Well, it wasn't as dramatic as I thought it would be as I literally got stuck in a jam. Human traffic jam. This led towards the pavilion where supposedly the medals and snacks were being handed out. I got into the longest queue ever for the snacks and had to ask around before I spotted the mob surrounded the medals booth. I tell you, it's the first time I came across something so chaotic here in Singapore where everything is normally so organized and proper queues were always formed. People were pushing and reaching out for those precious Finisher's Medals and what I found was a bit off was to hear some guy organizer screaming his head off to tell people to back off. Woah, mister! This was a family fun run so there were a lot of kids present too as well as some elderly runners too. I just think everyone were so eager to show off their medals but to have this guy screaming so rudely was pretty much uncalled for. Well, they could have invested on better signages and maybe a PA system to direct people better? So as I finally got to the front of the queue, the organizers suddenly had this "bright" idea of moving the distribution to the beach area. There goes all the effort of queuing up. People began running to the beach area and again for another round of screaming, pushing, grabbing.
|Finally got my Finisher's Medal!|
What can we learn from the run
Anyway, as it turns out, some people got more than one medals perhaps for their own selfish entrepreneurial reasons which is why they ended up lacking a good number for all 17,000 ++ of us. With more experienced and better organizational skills, I feel this could have been avoided. This may come off as an unsolicited advice but to the organizers of the successful Hello Kitty Run, here are some tips for next year and future runs:
1) Create a better tracking system when people register for the run, claim medals, snacks, pass certain marks during the run. Perhaps a barcode on our impressive waterproof bib which you can easily scan? If high technology means incurring more costs, then how about marking or having several punchers to signify if something has been claimed.
3) Always have a back up plans for sudden change in weather. I agree that it's wrong to blame the organizers for the heavy rain. They're not God after all but hey, if you started handing out ponchos or disposable hats or raincoats to runners, you'll surely be getting more praises than complains today.
4) I also found it silly and pretty much useless to make run announcements on Facebook during the run. It's not like we have the time to check our Facebook while running/walking right? Invest on better radio system, communication plans internally to inform everyone in your team on the latest and definite plan.
5) Have shuttle services ready right at the finish line. C and I had to walk back to the Beach Station and seeing the long queue we decided to continue walking up until Resorts World Sentosa / Universal Studio area. Remember, you have young kids and elderly who were part of the race too.
6) Lastly, and I feel more importantly. Watch the attitude. I really value good customer service and I personally believe that this is the one and only thing that can make or break an experience. No matter how hard it rained, no matter how long people ended up queuing, if there were no rude screaming and instead there was a more compassionate, proper way of communicating the updates, I don't think participants would be taking their angst and complains to social media.
Don't get me wrong, I would still join next year's run and I do hope things would be better next time too. I feel that the organizers just lack the experience and expertise to handle such a large event. As they always say... better luck next time!
Meanwhile, Happy 40th Birthday dear Hello Kitty! ♥