Monday, December 27, 2010

Dallas White Rock Marathon ~ Race Ratings (#45)

Tag line: 
"Our hills will make you laugh... the cold will make you cry"

Dallas White Rock Marathon ~ December 5, 2010
Dallas, TX~ Fair Park
Type: 100% Road
Year Running: 41st
Registration Fee: $100-$125 Early ($150 late)
Charity Race? Yes! Texas Scottish Rite Hospital (primary)
Runners:  4,593 Finishers ... 1,777 Females
Available Races: Marathon, Half-Marathon, Full Relay, 5K Fun Run
Average Finish Time: 4:31:28!
BQ %: 10.4%

Overall Race Ratings: 4.0/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 3.9/5.0
~ This is a great middle-sized race with fantastic support along the way. It has a very difficult start area with traffic issues, but other than that the organization is pretty good. If you're looking for rowdy spectators to pump you up, this is a great race for you! 

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ The race needs to be downsized or the start moved. The start in fair park caused traffic issues, start/corral issues, and overall agitated runners from the beginning. I would either down-size the half marathon or bus the runners out to another location for the start... finishing in Fair Park is great for warmth in the stadium and a great backdrop for a finish. The second issue is the food at the end. They did a great job during the race,but granola, oranges, and beer is not exactly post-race food. Also-- the T-shirts. The shirts should be put aside for those that pre-ordered. 

Event Organization: 3.8/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: 15 miles
Rental Car Required: Yes!
Cowboys Stadium... watching the game on the jumbo tron
~ The biggest issue this year was the location change. As much as they warned the runners, it was impossible not to get caught in traffic trying to get INTO Fair Park. We were only a mile away from the start line and it took over an hour to make it there. The start/finish has been altered from the prior course, but I had to admit it was nice to end and go straight into the Cotton Bowl and OUT of the cold! The organizers sent out a lot of information leading up to the race, including email updates. They scattered bands throughout the course for a little extra entertainment. I was impressed that they came out even in the cold weather! Upon completion of the race marathoners and half marathoners are corralled into 2 different areas to get our post-race food and finisher T-shirts. I thought this was a great solution to 5:00+ hour marathoners missing out. 

Dallas IS a great area for a marathon. There is a ton to do from shopping and dining to visiting the Cowboys Stadium and Fair Park (including the holiday festival). Definitely schedule a day for sightseeing and travel.

Race Organization: 4.8/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: Lemon-Lime/Gatorade Endurance Formula
Gel Type/Flavors/Availability:  No Gel-- Cliff Shot Block packs provided at mile 20. 
~Post Race Food: .The post race food was fairly non existent- just granola bars and oranges :( They did, however, give us 2 free beers! Aid stations were often and filled with gatorade and oranges. Toward the teen-miles they had many stops with extras like fresh fruit, cookies, candy, donuts, etc. There are port-a-johns available every mile (maybe more). The course is pretty well marked every mile for the marathon (almost exactly to the mile) however, the half-marathon was not exactly well marked... the 13 mile mark somehow came before the 26 mile mark yet ended at the same point. Weird, huh?

Course: 4.5/5.0
MarathonGuide Rating (NA- New Course)
Garmin Distance: 26.20
Type: 100% Pavement/Sidewalks
~ Elevation Gain/Loss: NA
~ The course now starts in Fair Park. This is good and bad. Good because it allows for the runners to experience Fair Park as well as end in the stadium to stay warm. This is bad because it's nearly impossible to get THAT many runners to Fair Park at once. The course is very flat and even their dreaded "hills" are nothing but short elevation changes. The scenery is great with gorgeous houses along the route. The White Rock Lake is also extremely pretty itself and is also lined with very nice houses. The whole area is decorated for Christmas including the mansions that are professionally decorated. 

Spectators: 4.8/5.0
~ Now I should note this is a positive statement... I've never seen SO many drunk people that early in the morning! There were spectators lining nearly the entire course and I'm pretty sure they were all hammered by 10am. On top of that they had DOZENS of beer/drink stops. They cheered for us. They gave out food and water. They played music. They must have been having some sort of neighborhood competition because there were a few areas with fun themes and people dressed up cheering like crazy. That or Dallas has a bunch of very spirited residents. Overall I really like the spectators here!

 Pace Group: 2.0/5.0
~ The pace groups were all over the place. Some of the slower groups were in front of the faster teams at the start. The 3:30 pace group was a whole corral behind where the 3:30 runners were lined up. I started with this group and they took off at around a 9 min/mile pace for at least the first mile. They must have had a lot of time to make up over the race. I heard other people mention the pace teams being pretty far off pace as well. They DID have a strong availability of teams and each pace group seemed to have a LOT of people with them from start to finish. 

Runner/Corrals: 3.8/5.0
~ They had a corral system set up for this race. I thought it worked out very well, letting each group go with about a minute in between.They did NOT do a very good job securing the corrals (anybody could jump in any of the corrals if they wanted) so there were still some slower runners up toward the front. The runners were all very friendly along the way. I probably talked to more people in this race than I usually do.

Expo: 3.7/5.0
~ The expo was pretty big with all the basics available. The space was not big enough and was very cramped. I think a lot of the unusual spots were over at the Las Vegas Marathon expo. The good part? The expo was held at the same time as the holiday festival at Fair Park. It wasn't anything crazy, but I guess it's a "must do" in winter time. 

Swag: 4.1/5.0
~T-Shirts: The shirt is still a little debatable. It's a nice white long sleeved shirt with a cute logo on it. Pretty basic. The problem? They sold out of our pre-ordered sizes very quickly leaving us with XL options or to put an order on one. I put in for my XS and I've still yet to see it. :( The PLUS side is that they DID give all finishers their own finisher shirt that is a VERY nice, thin, technical shirt that is super comfy, cute, and of course has "finisher" on the front. As we finished they corralled us by race into the stadium so only marathoners got marathon finisher shirts and halfies got halfie finisher shirt. I liked that. They also provided male and female cut options for the finisher shirts. 4.4

~Medals: The medals again were very basic with the classic "Athenian marathon naked runner" design. 3.6

~ Goodie Bag: The goodie bag had some Gatorade endurance samples. I really like the pre-race drink they gave out. +0.1

Results: Stephanie
Chip Time: 3:37:52
Place: Overall- 627/4593, Gender- 96/1777, A/G (F25-29)- 17/284

Happy Racing,
"Run to Win" - Meb


  1. "They must have been having some sort of neighborhood competition because there were a few areas with fun themes and people dressed up cheering like crazy. That or Dallas has a bunch of very spirited residents."

    ... being from Dallas, I can say that people are both spirited and will use any excuse to play driking games at 10 am in the morning.

  2. The pace groups being one corral behind is probably intentional; I always suggest that to race directors when I'm pacing. Running behind a big group can be terrible, so the idea is to put the pace groups at the back of their corrals... or the front of the slower people behind them.