I had just lost 55 lbs and had reached my ideal body weight. I was looking for a way to help maintain this accomplishment. I had found running.
I then did something that I never would have imagined. I signed up for a race.
It was St Patrick’s Day, and it was a beautiful spring day. Sunny. High 70’s. A little warm, but I didn’t mind. I was going to try running my first ever 5k (well, 7k actually).
…and I was terrified. I thought I would be laughed at. I thought that I wouldn’t belong.
I was wrong.
I did better then I could have imagined. I got a cool stained glass (errr…plastic) finishers medal, and a finishers hoodie. I hung up the medal on a medal display in my exercise room and it looked so lonely. I had to get a few others.
I was hooked.
The event was the Team Ortho – Get Lucky. My first race.
A few months later, I ran my first marathon with Team Ortho, then my first Duathlon. I think I have completed about 20 events with Team Ortho…
…and every year, I became more disgusted with their organization and their way of doing business. I finally gave up on them after waiting for close to an hour in a cold rain to get my Monster Series medal after the final race of the season (previously, we just got it at the finish line with our race medal). It didn’t surprise me.
Over the years, I have had a duathlon cancelled at the last minute due to construction that had been taking place on the course all summer, I have had a marathon canceled at the starting line due to severe weather (it barely sprinkled), I have had to e-mail them what I believed to be my race finish time to them since the timing mats didn’t work (they used that as the official time…lots of PR’s recorded that day), I had heard pre-race instructions to runners on the starting line (for an out-and-back race on a cold winter day) to “turn around anytime…we won’t check…and there is no timing mat at the turn-around”.
I have received 3 bibs for the same race with three chips…and no idea if any of them worked. I have stood around 100 yards from the finish line since they had oversold the event and nobody could move.
They stopped supplying Powerade on the longer courses since they would have had to pay for it (despite the $100+ registration fees). They suspended a duathlon at T2 because of the heat, and awarded everyone a DNF and a finishers medal.
Charities have reported not getting a dime from Team Ortho despite it being a non-profit (but executives routinely fly oversees at Team Ortho’s expense). Three senior executives resigned simultaneously last year in protest. Team Ortho has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Last year, Team Ortho waited too long to get permits for Women Rocks in Chicago, and could not get the roads closed as long as needed…so they advised runners that they would enforce much more vigorous cutoff times.
The latest controversy. Team Ortho applied to run the Minneapolis Marathon last year. In August 2015, they were told that one of the roads they proposed to use had been under construction for the last two years, and they bridge they wanted to use would be demolished before race day. They were asked to submit a revised course. They didn’t. They made inquiries about changes a couple of weeks before the event. It was far too late and the request was declined. They are now scrambling to find another venue, and the race will likely be canceled, but they are still accepting registrations. They claim on their website that this was “a situation beyond their control”…
Please do not confuse this group with Twin Cities In Motion, which is an absolutely exceptional organization which hosts the Twin Cities Marathon (easily one of the 10 best marathons in the nation).
Team Ortho, on the other hand, is a parasite on the running community and preys on out of town runners and novice runners who may confuse this with the Twin Cities Marathon.
If you are looking for a great race in the Twin Cities, there are a ton of them. It just isn’t any of these…
As this is being published, Team Ortho has no race course or permit with under 2 weeks until race day…yet registration remains open. Sigh…