Racing (Running) Mishaps

So far I’ve ran 42 half marathons, one marathon, two 5k’s, one 10k, one 10-miler, and one 15k, all over a roughly 20 year span. Mishaps are bound to come up if you run enough races. Over the years, I’ve been pretty lucky, though. There really haven’t been that many mishaps come up.

One of the biggest racing mishaps to happen to me was just before the Allstate New York 13.1 Half Marathon. I was staying within a short cab ride in Queens from the start of the race, but my taxi driver couldn’t seem to find the race start at the National Tennis Center, even though I told him where it was. Hello, Google Maps? At the time I didn’t run with my phone and my husband didn’t have his on him, so we couldn’t just punch it in and tell the driver. After about 10 minutes of the driver circling the park, I just got out and ran toward the start, completely in a panic. I managed to make it to the start in time, and all was well in the end.

I thought I wasn’t going to make it to the start of this race in New York in time!

Another thing that happened that was almost a racing mishap was I didn’t pack running pants or even capris for my the Missoula Half Marathon in Montana, and a cold front moved in, making it much cooler than the predicted weather I had checked before flying out. I thought I would freeze if I wore the running shorts I had packed. I tried to find running pants but was unable to do so, not surprisingly since it was July. One running store had one pair of capris that was really a size too small for me, but I squeezed into them, and was glad I had them when it was in the low 40’s at race start.

Finish area of the race in Missoula

I hadn’t planned on running the McKenzie River Half Marathon in Oregon until a few weeks prior. In fact, I had planned on running a completely different half marathon for my one in Oregon. This is a big deal because I don’t live anywhere near Oregon so I would be flying cross-country with my family to get to this race. Knowing it was a small half marathon, I didn’t feel pressured to sign up early and there were no breaks in price so I had planned on waiting until a few weeks out to sign up. I had already made hotel and flight reservations and I thought I was all ready to go, until I emailed the race director with a question before I signed up, only to find out the race had been cancelled. Luckily she suggested another half marathon in Eugene, only instead of being the Saturday I had planned on running, it was the next day on Sunday. That was almost a huge racing mishap!

I was glad I made it to the McKenzie River Half Marathon in Oregon

Can you believe I’ve only had three mishaps out of almost 50 races? I can’t! The best part is everything worked out in all three cases before the half marathons took place so my races weren’t even effected. I’ve heard of people go to races only to realize they’ve forgotten their watches, shoes, or other running gear. There’s the famous Seinfeld episode where the guy flew in from another country and overslept before the New York City Marathon. That would be the worst!

What kind of running/racing mishaps have you all had or almost had?

Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

15 thoughts on “Racing (Running) Mishaps”

  1. Fun post! I can’t remember all of mine, but off the top of my head . . .

    At Steamtown Marathon, the bus shuttle I was on to take the runner to the start of the race got lost and was driving us AWAY from the start line. The people who were local to the area quickly figured it out and yelled at the bus driver to drive the other way. He refused saying the GPS was sending him down the correct route. The people said no, the GPS was wrong and because of the mountains, GPS is often wrong in that area. He continued to drive the wrong way. Finally one guy stood up and walked toward the driver (I thought we were going to have a mutiny). When the bus driver saw the guy, he immediately turned around and we cheered. Yes, I did make it in time for the start.

    At Run for the Red Half, I almost forgot my bib (we already started driving and I had to turn around to get it) and Ben accidentally was directing me to the finish line instead of the start line. We figured out the correct location in the nick of time.

    For another half, Ben forgot to register. Which was okay, because he also forgot to pack his running shoes too. LOLOLOLOL!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh! The Steamtown Marathon bus driver going the wrong way is crazy! I’m glad they all worked out for you, well I guess except for the race your husband forgot to register for and forgot his shoes, which I assume he didn’t run.


      1. Ben has an insufferable way of having things always work out for him. Weirdly I was registered for two bibs (I only paid for one) and there was a shoe donation bin, where we found a pair of running shoes in his size. We re-donated those shoes after the race.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Corona Park can be a little confusing, even with Google maps. I used Google maps to commute from Brooklyn to Corona Park by bus for the Queens 10K, let’s just say that I had to run to the start line too.


    1. Really? I guess I assumed when I told him I was going to Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Corona Park he’d know where it was, plus he said he knew it, but maybe he meant he knew where Corona Park was. So maybe the taxi driver wasn’t just trying to hike up the rate after all then!


  3. At the Richmond Marathon in 2015 I dreamed that I couldn’t find the starting line and watched the runners go flying past me as I searched. In reality, I was in a hotel just steps from the start, so there’s no way it would have actually happened.
    And one year at Martian, I ducked into a porta-potty just before the start of the half, and emerged to find all the runners gone. Over 1,000 of them. So for the first mile or so I was DFL. Felt like running down the street waving and yelling, “Hey! Wait for me!”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man! I’ve had so many dreams about missing the start of a race, I can’t even tell you how many times that happened (and this goes back well before the race in NY)! Obviously I have some anxiety about it. lol. That’s awful about the race at Martian. I’m sorry! That’s also been one thing I’ve been paranoid about happening to me.


  4. The only almost mishap that I can remember was last year at RNR Seattle. The shuttle bus driver got lost. He had planned to go a certain way but couldn’t as all the roads were closed to the race, 🤣

    You’re very fortunate to have only 3 almosts with as many you have run. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re the second person here to comment about shuttle drivers getting lost. It makes me paranoid about taking a shuttle to the start now! lol. You’re right, I’m very fortunate to have only had 3 almosts. Knock on wood!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think Paula might be forgetting running off route at that same Eugene half-marathon and running some bonus distance but you didn’t hear it from me 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Fun post!! I am sure there have been a few close calls over the years. The shuttle driver getting lost and having to drive down the course to get to the start at RnR Seattle was something! For me, my biggest ever race was the Chicago marathon…I trained hard and planned meticulously. Only to get to my corral 1 minute after they closed the gates to the corral and they were adamant that there no exceptions. So I had to job back to the previous corral and get in line at the back of that so there went my pace group and I ended up running 1/4-1/2 mile before we even started. Then, it took less than a mile into the race to realize that my Garmin is useless in the Chicago marathon because it cannot pick up a reliable GPS signal with all the mega-buildings and I had no backup plan for pacing and I had done all my training based on a given target pace to maintain. Fortunately, I did have overall time as one of my fields displayed on my watch but I had to manually calculate pace with the mile markers on the course which gets really hard as the race goes on. Despite all that I ran my marathon PR achieving my sub-4 goal by 5 seconds!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, James. Oh my gosh, missing the corral closing and maneuvering around and then your Garmin not picking up a signal must have really gotten your adrenaline going! I’m glad to hear it turned out well and you got your marathon PR!

      Liked by 1 person

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