Spectating is a sport – Challenge AC report

So this past weekend I was the Ironwife and cheer crew at Challenge Atlantic City. This was Jon’s very first Iron distance and we have been gearing up for this race since February. I really wish I could say this was an amazing weekend and everything went swimmingly but sadly I can’t. I’ll update this post with his race report once he’s done writing it.

Saturday was expo day. I helped working the table for Team Challenge for a couple of hours. It was also rack the bike, drop off the gear bags, walk transition, and attend pre-race meeting day. It felt like we were all over the place on Saturday. However, even the most dutiful spectator needs to take some time for themselves. So while the hubby was in the pre-race meeting I was wondering around. I got to meet my tri idol Mirinda Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell. I was extremely excited to meet them both!

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That evening brought a buffet dinner and an early bed time!

Sunday we were up at 3am (OMG) and down in the lobby to catch the 4:30am shuttle. According to the athlete guide the shuttle was running every 30 minutes beginning at 4am. This is where the day went downhill. When the shuttle still wasn’t there at 4:50 we teamed up with 5 stranger triathletes and hopped a cab to Bader Field. I was happy to find out that a local tri club had a tent and there were friends there! I am grateful that they not only adopted us that day but veteran triathletes helped get Jon to the start, mostly, worry free! The “we swear it will be wetsuit legal” race ended up being not wetsuit legal at 80 degree water temp. We watched as a RIDICULOUSLY large wetsuit wave started at 6:40am.

I then waited anxiously until he exited the water at 8:35. It was quicker than he though (my math was pretty close). I ran with him through gear bags, bike pick-up and bike mount!

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Jen, Steph, and I then had plans to catch a shuttle back to the hotel for a nap, shower, lunch,  and more cheering. There were supposed to be 2 different shuttle busses. 1 that went to the host hotels and 1 that went the blueberry place out on the bike course. We went to wait for the shuttle at 9am. At 9:40 a bus showed up and filled SUPER quick even though we had been waiting. When I asked about the next bus he said another 40 minutes but the bike course cheer bus wouldn’t be back until 11am. So begrudgingly we decided to walk the 4 miles back to the hotel.

After relaxing in the room, a shower, and a nap I met Steph & Jen for a late lunch and cheering! We took up a spot right in front of our hotel. Which turned out to be around mile 11, we weren’t sure exactly because the run course changed again on Saturday to 3-loops of the boardwalk. However, this meant we saw people 4 times! We were also in an area that had no one cheering so we seemed to be appreciated.

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In addition to being the only ones cheering we were also the only ones helping to monitor the course. There was no assistance to the runners on the run course. There were carts in the way, people wandering in, and a general distain for the runners. the people in Atlantic City just seemed rude and crappy. This is our view of the run course…I can only imagine how bad the runners felt!

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For a city that is desperately trying to recruit tourists this is a surefire way to make sure runners never return. Hey Chris Christie a little help here please! I even yelled at 2 police officers who were just sitting there and not helping keep the course clear. Now there was 1 really awesome yellow-shirt tourism person who made it his job that day to police the course from the sandcastle thing to the Taj Mahal where we were. We became good friends with him and thanked him immensely!

After Jon passed us the 2nd time we made the walk to the finish line. We were able to get a spot inside the finish area to cheer him in! This is what it looked like 3 minutes before he ran in…

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Then all of a sudden there was an apparent “light show” which made everything PITCH BLACK. Even his finisher photos are dark! Here was the beset picture Jen could get…

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Big difference huh!!

So in summary we will not be going back to Challenge Atlantic City. Actually, this doesn’t make us want to spend the money to do any Challenge family race. We are especially NEVER going back to Atlantic City. Atlantic city really is just gross and depressing. Although the Showboat hotel was VERY nice. For a group that prides itself on being a family friendly race this was not at all supportive of the spectators. Sadly, I think the race directors just missed a lot of small important elements. So maybe we just won’t participate in any more races directed by those 2 men. Either way, it was not the best way to introduce the brand into the United States. After this weekend I’m all MDot all the way!!

However, with all the crappy that was the spectating my husband is now officially and Ironman and I am so VERY proud of him!!

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