REVEL Big Bear – it’s the little things that make for big headaches… like having directions to the start line…

An email sent to the race organizers of today’s marathon (no photos will be posted today because why bother?):


This morning was a mess. You know already know this with buses arriving late and the frazzled fiasco of a marginally delayed start time doing little to alleviate the stress and headaches for those of us who had, frankly, a very poor experience getting to the start line.

I wasn’t alone in having trouble locating the race-day pickup or marathon bus loading area. A very large swathe of runners were led astray time and time again by volunteers with poor directions/misinformation/annoyed claims they had to get the buses out of the parking lot. Little did I realize the 4000 steps I logged circling the parking lot and the 45 minutes it took from the time I parked at 3:03 AM to getting to the bus would be the LEAST of the problems this morning.

Problem 1: You have the details on the race listing the address of the parking lot and then advising full marathoners to go to the NE corner and the half marathoners to the SE. This isn’t helpful when staff/volunteers are directing in opposite directions. Indeed, I saw a half marathon bus be unloaded with runners as they were only told AFTER fully loading that the bus was for the half marathon. Here’s how to fix this with minimal cost outlays as apparently REVEL refuses to have signage in the parking or indeed at the race day pickup. The latter was illuminated by a strand of Christmas lights and tucked away behind a mass of hedges, as if it was hiding out rather than trying to offer assistance.

So here goes Suggestion 1: Half Marathoners load at the corner closest to the Olive Garden parking lot. People can find that on their phones’ GPS maps and walk there. Full Marathoners should use 685 E. Hospitality Lane as this is the entrance that is closest to the packet pickup and bus loading. Telling us to go to the intersection of Hospitality and Carnegie as so many staff members told us is irrelevant as the circular nature of the lot means there is no one corner of Hospitality and Carnegie intersection.

Problem 2: The yellow school bus I boarded went the wrong way on the highway, lost and adrift. Runners had to tell him based on memory of the course from previous years on how to get to the start, otherwise we might have been dropped off in Montclair rather than at Big Bear. The driver would ask runners to check and see if he was clear to change lanes, as if he had never driven the bus before. He seemingly had no directions or means of contacting race personnel. Our supposed one hour bus ride to the start took 107 minutes. We arrived and were told over the PA system we had to IMMEDIATELY drop our bags off and the race would start in ten minutes. You had insufficient numbers of port-a-johns for the crush of runners as our bus wasn’t even the last to arrive. You eventually delayed the start by 10 minutes but after cramping up inside a school bus meant for children and not full-sized adults, it was a disaster for stretching out before embarking on a 26.2 mile run.

So here goes Suggestion 2: A) Have drivers who have driven a bus before. B) Have drivers have directions to the start line. C) Have comms for drivers in case something goes wrong.

I had a lousy run today and I take ownership of the majority of that for not being able to let go of the stress of the morning’s disastrous shuttle service to the start. But I also would say REVEL Racing bears a “not zero” amount of blame for that too.

I am disappointed in myself but also disappointed in your organization. Your website claims your “Race Production staff has a wealth of knowledge and experience and is fully dedicated to providing the best race experience possible,” I hope you’ll agree that today was not, at least for those of us trapped on lost and delayed buses, the best race experience.


Kevin Hanna