First of all, it has to be noted that this is not critique, as everything I experienced is great enough for me not to fuss around or being a smart-ass about the concept and execution of the event. It is a big thing, trust me, as I am a self proclaimed critique diva, who always have something to say about everything, even in subjects that I am incompetent in.
The event was done orderly, with adequate publication to at least makes the competition filled with enough people to make it interesting. I guess this very concern – about the number of participants – is what makes the team chose such ‘safe’ concept. It is, after all, the first time they ever done this sort of event. Not to mention the huge concept shift from a high end, expensive, and glamorous Golf Tournament, into a simple, communal and festive FunRun. Generally, they did it. It went smoothly as silk, the crowd is controlled, the tracks are clean and safe, even the African guy who won looks happy as hell (I took a picture with him and I guess I am even more proud of the photo, than him about winning this ‘little walk in the park’)
But still, there are expectations. The first biggest one, one thing that makes me laugh my foot off, is that I thought that the ‘banana’ was a metaphor. They keep mentioning it, even in the website and in the guide book, that finishers will get ‘a banana’. It is quite a peculiar prize to put, that is not worthy enough of one. They could have put anything less specific to inform us, ‘food’, ‘refreshment’, ‘snack’, ‘fruit’, whatever… But ‘banana’ is just too… specific… So, as an ex marketing student of the university, I thought its like a hidden prize to surprise us, some kind of joke, a marketing gimmick, something that is not a 5 inch yellow fruit with black motif all over.
For the next event, I think there are things need to be developed. Boston marathon runners are always proud about their shirts, especially those dated back from the 60s or 70s. They like to tell the world of how long they have been joining the event. So I guess, the organizing team can start by giving some special treatment for those who already participated this year. If not everyone, atleast the African and the two lean guys who managed to passed me to go to the finish line while I’m just starting my second lap. It can be anything, a little bracelet, a different medal as they finished, or a different T-shirt (which looks awesome by the way, really like the choice of model, the blue and the quote, and stuff), or anything!
Since the participant conundrum is solved (congratulations, its quite crowded!), I guess that its time to be creative about the events. Costumes, track routes, hidden surprises, themes such as zombies that being used by runfoyourlives, maybe gimmicks that is not real bananas. What’s fun about this compared to golf tournament is that the team don’t have to be too formal. There’s no need to keep saying ‘charity’ ‘charity’ ‘charity’, as the participants might not care too much about it. I mean, the amount of money being given for ticket is not that much. The only reason why the team need to say that it is about charity back in Golf Tournament days, is because the entry fee is uber expensive; They need to know where did all their money goes. But FunRun is more about the quantity rather than than quality (of the participant’s pocket). So Rp.50.000 is cheap enough to make the team run even when the cause is not so noble. People can be in for the entertainment, or for the friends, or for the pride. So let’s get out of that useless charity theme.
The last part is about prizes. I think the team need to reduce the amount of bounty hunters, the pros that seems to already run from their houses somewhere in the mountain before the competition even begin. They are fine, but they are no fun. What the team can do is to make the prizes for the top 20 or top 30 runners (without disregarding the first to 3rd place). It does not have to be big, people just need a sense of achievement to make it fun. The team can also be even more creative about categories, so this event will be like academy awards where people can say stuff about their achievement. That will be quite a huge innovation, actually, because one of the most potential part of the event is the after-running part. There has to be a commemoration of their struggle, something fun and touching, and even sad. I saw one of my friend’s father who finished the race despite his age, being respectedly cheered and hugged by the daughter. I think this kind of feelings that needs to be present; a sense of celebration, warmth of kinship, and great bond between families and friends.
So yeah, I guess that’s what I gotta say about the race. Something that I enjoyed very much, being the first time of me actually running inside my own campus. I thank the the team who organized this for such enjoyable moments, and I am also very happy knowing that this team are actually my brothers and sisters of my alma mater.