To be fair, the timing of the Air Force Run is challenging; one week after Fargo Marathon which draws a thousand or more Winnipeg runners, and three weeks before Manitoba Marathon which draws about 15,000 local runners.
Now for the the scores...
The Fly-by... didn't happen this year. I assume it was because of black clouds about 10 feet off the ground... too dangerous. Last year's score A+, this year n/a.
The SARS demonstration... again, didn't happen for the same reason... crummy conditions. Last year's score A+... this year n/a.
Running on the tarmac amongst Hercules aircraft, a variety of smaller military aircraft, and a huge hanger door wide open... simply AMAZING! This is a real treat and makes this race unique. This is an absolute MUST for future races. This year we did two laps of the tarmac, last year only one... last year's score B+... this year A+.
Volunteers were plentiful, helpful, and very cheerful. There seemed to be way more volunteers this year than last. The atmosphere was positive and vibrant despite the grey skies. The Jazz band and pipers added to the vibe. Last year's score A... this year, A+.
Port-a-potties like last year were clean and plentiful. I also noticed a few more on the course which is always handy for those in need (Cop's Run take note). Last year's score A, this year A.
The Indoor Facilities were much better organized than last year. There was a bag drop-off, ore volunteers directing traffic, and a much better flow of traffic. Last year's score A, this year A+.
The Course was the biggest improvement from last year. No more nasty gravel trails, no more lonely turn-around points, no more 13.5 miles. Two laps on the tarmac was a GREAT touch. There were a lot of twists and turn so keeping tangent lines on track was a challenge. The course felt like a serious race. Last year's score F, this year B+.
The Medal is excellent! Good weight, good size, cool design, sharp lanyard. Last year's score C-, this year A+.
The Food was plentiful and of a good variety (love the chocolate milk). There was even a pork-in-a-bun barbecue for all runners (hmm, make that all meat eating runners, not a vegi-burgers in sight). A hot cup of coffee would have been very tasty especially on such a cold day. Last year's score C, this year A.
The Half-way Turn Around Point was improved. There was a crowd of friendly volunteers at a water station exactly at the half way point which was nice and a huge improvement from last year's single volunteer and a lonely pylon in the middle of nowhere. The trouble was I couldn't tell where to turn around. I rounded what I thought was the turn-around point only to be yelled back by about a dozen volunteers. It turns out the designated pylon was an additional 5 meters beyond. I did a quick turn back and rounded the correct pylon. I politely mentioned to one of the dozen or more volunteers that the turn-around point isn't clearly marked. I received a negative reply from one volunteer which was intended to shift the blame to me. Not nice. The volunteers should have directed runners. Last year's score C, this year's B.
The After Burn... Congratulations to the race committee and the volunteers. this was a superbly organized run with good spirit abounding. I will return next year and I'll bring as many runners with me as possible.
Overall Score... last year B, this year A.
It was, and still is, a good day to be alive.