Ugly Sweater Run - Boston

Ugly Sweater Run - Boston

Ugly Sweater Run - Boston

( 2 reviews )
50% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Boston,
    United States
  • December
  • 3 miles/5K
  • Road Race
  • Event Website


Massachusetts, United States
4 11
"Ugly Running and Ugly Race"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Danielle 's thoughts:

First things first: I'm usually pretty generous with these reviews. I can overlook most bad things about a race if there are a majority of redeeming qualities.

So when I tell you that this was hands down the worst racing experience I've ever had, I'd like that to sink in for a while.

The race started at 8:30 AM (which is EARLY for a Saturday 5K in a location where no roads had to be closed, but this is the cost of being a runner I suppose). Speaking of cost, this race was EXPENSIVE. I got the groupon and it was still on the edge of what I'll pay for a 5K these days. At $50 day-of registration, the experience is absolutely not worth it (and I don't think it was worth the $25 I paid either). The swag was okay; one of those cheesy drawstring backpacks (does anyone actually need or use those things?) with an ugly sweater winter hat. The hat, I have to admit, is cozy. Okay, fine, I paid $25 for a mediocre hat.

At 8:20 they were herding everyone into the start corral, which seemed reasonable except the port-a-john line was completely out of control. They didn't have enough facilities for runners, so everyone was stuck waiting to do their pre-run "run" as it were on one line. Turns out there was a second set of port-a-johns around the corner with no line, but nobody was on hand to tell any of the runners that so everyone wound up waiting.

There was no water at the start line. What? How is that even possible?

Once were in the corral, they had no seeding suggestions. I get that fun runs like this attract a certain number of running newbies, and I'm totally okay with that. It's important for everyone to get out and be encouraged to run, no matter their pace. I am NOT okay with a race that doesn't help these folks understand the natural order. Faster runners up front; slower runners at the back. It has nothing to do with elitism, but safety. If you don't want to get stampeded and your pace is going to be slowish, just hang back a bit and let the other runners pass you. You'll fall in with a group doing your speed, I promise! Everyone will be WAY less frustrated.

Despite advertising one universal start-time, they began to run the race in waves. This wouldn't have been an issue except the first wave didn't start until 15 minutes after the advertised start time (15 minutes late for a 5K is pretty unacceptable to me); AND there was no seeding suggestion; it was just push your way to the front and go. By the time I passed the start-line, it was about 25 minutes after the official race start.

The only aid station was about 2 miles in. This wouldn't have been a huge problem except for the fact that the race got cut short by about half a mile. My Garmin read 2.64 when I crossed the finish line. This is absolutely incredible considering it was held on a literal race-track; all they had to do to tag on that extra distance was have everyone do a second lap around the track. Since the race course was entirely contained to the track and environs, there were no street closing logistics; nothing to work out. It would have only required some signage or announcement to do the lap twice. That's just lazy race management.

Last, but certainly not least, the water at the finish line was a complete madhouse and unregulated. There was no dispenser! They took a giant Poland Spring bottle, meant for a large cooling unit, and put it out on a table with some plastic cups expecting the runners to "figure it out".

The after-party might have been good; I can't attest to that fact because honestly I'm not into drinking beer at 9:30 in the morning. I was so angry when I crossed the finish line that I just wanted to get the hell out of dodge.

This race was clearly meant to make money rather than do anything for its runners. It was a neat idea, and I wanted to like it so hard (there were a lot of cool sweaters there, and Santa was walking around to take pictures at packet pickup); but it failed on every level. Not worth the money; go find another 5k.

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