Since the moment I decided to put together a running centered blog, I debated on whether or not I would do reviews and if I did do reviews, how would I do them. One of my biggest pet peeves are people that live on reviews sites like Yelp and inflate their ego by tearing down every restaurant and business they come into contact with or expect special treatment because they are a “yelper.”
Deanna and I were binge-watching this Netflix show called ‘Instant Hotel,’ and there was this lady Serena who couldn’t help but keep repeating that she was a top review on Trip Advisor and would constantly use her Trip Advisor status as a reason to why her opinions were superior to other people. I am not Serena type of reviewer, my reviews are my personal opinions and experiences and are in no way the final word. If you have a different experience or opinion I would love to hear it, just please do so in a respectful manner, there are enough places on the internet for people to go to be jerks to each other this site is not one of them.
Changing My Mind
So if I do review your product, service or race and you feel that you did not get a fair shake. I am more than happy to take a second look if asked in a respectful manner. I will not argue with anyone or be bullied into changing my opinions so please don’t try this. I am also pretty good at sniffing out sock puppets (i.e. fake accounts) so please do not try to register fake accounts and start attacking me or anyone else
“Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” ~George Bernard Shaw
I will do my best to disclose any conflicts of interest that I might have with a given review. If I am an ambassador for a brand I will make sure that is clear, but make no mistake my opinions are my own and are not for sale.
As a small business owner myself and someone who avoids putting my business on Yelp and other review sites. I don’t see myself posting many negative reviews and if I do it is most likely because the negative review is deserved and I feel compelled to warn other people.
Product & Race Reviews
For product reviews, I will do my best to take into consideration who the product is for. I am a road runner with my own personal preferences, for instance, I am currently reviewing a running music app that changes tempo with your running pace. While I love the concept, I tend to prefer running playlists, I am not going to hold it against this product that I am probably not a customer. I will do my best to look at cost vs. value, technical advantages vs. disadvantages and of course the old Pros vs. Cons.
For race reviews, I know races are a huge production with a lot of moving parts to make them go. I do want to be respectful of the Race directors, staff and volunteers and not just deep fry the months of hard work on a whim and since I am a Web & Graphic designer some things that bother me or are less appealing might not bother many other people like an ugly logo or race shirt. So in an effort to gain some insight on focus, I posted this question on Instagram, “Not speaking in terms of personal performance, what things separate good races from great races?” I wanted to prefix the question by disregarding personal performance as people might have a soft spot for a race that they did well in or maybe was there first Half or full marathon. In the end, I got some good responses both privately and publicly which helped me set a few aspects that most races should be able to fit into. Here is what I came up with, I might revisit this from time to time.
- Pre Race
- Ease of getting to the starting line.
- Was registration/bib pick up organized and efficient?
- Were the instructions clear, concise and easy to follow? Nothing worse than being confused as to where to park or the best method for getting to the starting line.
- Good pre-race pep talk? Do the runners feel like they are running out of the tunnel for the big game? No? Do better.
- Did the race start on time? Many time it doesn’t start on time because it might have lacked in other areas?
- Well thought out race environment, is it easy to get to the starting line, use the restroom or check a bag?
- The Course
- Is it a well-marked course? – I have literally heard stories of runners getting lost on a course.
- Are there enough restrooms on the course? Not all us are trying to make the Olympic team here some of are gonna stop or no going to trust that fart.
- Rest Areas. Where there enough? Were they organized? Were you able to get what you needed quickly?
- Did the Marathon and Half-Marathon start at the same time or did they stagger the start?
- Pace groups?
- The Atmosphere
- Is this race put on by people that love running or is this race just a fundraiser or bragging rights for an organization?
- Is there plenty of people along the course holding fun signs?
- Post Race
- Accurate Results (a lot of work goes into training for a race, those times need to be accurate)
- General vibe at the post-race expo? Does it feel like a party? Live music? Beer or Wine?
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- Were the swag bag and giveaways virtual or otherwise good?
- Cost vs. Value – A race might not do as much as another race but it also might be half the cost and thus very good value.