First the good:
3. The running area - Montecito + Summerland are always great places for running or biking.
4. Saturday Race
1. Race website was never fully updated and certainly not ahead of time.
2. The 1/2 marathon course was changed in the last week from a loop to an out and back course with a huge elevation gain.
3. The was so little advertising that none of the local runners had heard about it. (in retrospect that's almost a good thing).
4. No timing chips
5. Shirts were not available at packet pick-up. Nor was there a packet. Only a bib.
6. No expo
7. The 4 email series the week before the race with logistics information such as parking, start time etc. This info was key for planning - not an exciting raffle, so why draw it out in a 4 part series!
8. The start time was changed to a later time. (8:00 AM)
9. I was so surprised/ unprepared for the new course that I made a last minute switch from the 1/2 marathon to the 10k . And of course there were no course maps at the race to see what this course looked like.
10. The traffic management was terrible
11. Related to #4 - there was only one girl maybe two manually taking times which will lead to plenty of wrong times.
12. No medals - "they are in the mail." Because I did the 10k it doesn't bother me so much. But if I had done the half and hadn't gotten a souvenir medal I'd be fairly upset!
13. (7/20/11) Oh yes, I just remembered, there wer no mile markers.
Having run many races, I know fantastically organized runs (disney half / LA marathon) to bare bones local little road races (Goleta Turkey 4 mile / Guadalupe 5k), and I have never experienced such a poorly organized race. It felt as though the organizers did minor set up months and months in advance and either procrastinated on the planning or flat out forgot this was coming up. I know I wasn't the only annoyed runner, and I know how much work goes into these. But I also know I paid $75 + online sign up and did not get an $82 value.
This same company is organizing the Santa Barbara Women's Half Marathon next February (2012), which for their sake and that of the participants, I hope is better, but I will not be among them. - Already their site says it will go live on July 14 - and it didn't.
Having vented, I would like to put an additional praise for two specifically good races - beyond my expectation: Santa to the Sea 1/2 Marathon in Oxnard in December, and Ojai to the Ocean (Compete Green) in May, both of these were small, but very successful and enjoyable!
Location:Summerland - Montecito