Vienna Marathon Review – Addendum

I feel compelled to write a follow-up post on the Vienna Marathon because little or nothing has improved since the shambolic weekend in April. As you will recall there were a few issues:

  • I had no timing chip in my race pack and therefore received no official time. Vienna Marathon therefore does not count towards my 100 Marathon club count.
  • Audrey did not receive a marathon medal. They had run out, despite people dropping to the half, DNSs, DNFs and there being plenty of people behind her.
  • The race weekend t-shirts, and it was an anniversary race, were pre-order only and therefore unless you were lucky enough to have ticked that particular box you didn’t get one.

Now, I am a reasonable(ish) man. I have waited a month to see if these issues have been rectified. Have they been? We shall see.

The Secret of Great Comedy

As anyone will tell you, the secret of great comedy is timing. However, this is no joke. I did not receive a timing chip in my race pack. I did not notice until back at the digs when I pinned my bib to my  top and thought… this doesn’t have a chip attached.

I asked the question and was told by the others (well, Audrey) that they had a separate timing chip, of the type you attach to your laces. I did not. And so I emailed and tweeted the marathon to ask if I could pick up at the start.

No response.

And so, with no one around at the start to help, I ran the marathon knowing full well that I didn’t get a time. This fact hitting home like cramp as I ran over each and every timing mat, and the finish line.

Later, post race, when back in London I emailed again asking about the timing chip.

No response.

I emailed again. This time I heard back saying that they would ask the race organiser. What? I do not know.

I waited.

I waited some more.

I then emailed again.

This time the response was that “timing chips were provided in the race pack at the EXPO.”

I acknowledged this fact in my response and stated that I did not get one. And had therefore been charged the 29 euro deposit for not returning something I did not get in the first place.

Nothing.

I emailed again, stating that the Vienna Marathon does not deserve it’s new IAAF Gold Standard and I would subsequently be emailing the IAAF to list the issues.

Immediate response telling me not to threaten them. Poor babies.

I emailed again.

This time I was given a screenshot of my order stating that I had opted to buy said chip. And that it was shipped to me.

I emailed saying, that if it had been shipped to me, and I had received it, then why would I be emailing about not having one?

They replied saying they would ask the race organiser if I could have my time added to the database, after all, I had my Polar results.

I thanked them and provided them the evidence they needed, including the split times shown on the site.

Nothing.

I chased.

Nothing.

I chased again.

Nothing.

My coach chased, stating that I was working towards the 100 Marathon club and that this is unacceptable.

To date… nothing.

All that glitters

About half hour after I finished the marathon, sitting in a shady spot in the park, drinking an ice cold Erdinger alkoholfrei beer Audrey finished the Vienna Marathon. This was great. I had been waiting for her to congratulate and then help re-hydrate with copious amounts of booze.  Audrey, however, was not happy. She was not happy because the Vienna Marathon had run out of marathon medals, and the girl at the end had given Audrey a relay medal. A bloody relay medal!

This made absolutely no sense. We were only 5 and a half hours in. There would be runners coming through for another hour at least. And they had already run out of medals? This made me angry, and so, under the guise of getting us a real non alcohol-free beer, I went in search of someone.

I walked around but there was no-one to speak to. There were no information booths, only VIP tents serving beer. I was vexed.

I made a second pass of all the tents and there was no one to ask. And so, not wanting to leave Audrey alone for too long without alcohol, I went back to her.  It made absolutely no sense that the Vienna Marathon would run out of marathon medals, especially when we look at the facts.

FACT #1 : Not everyone started. The DNSs would bring down the final number of medals needed.

FACT #2 : Not everyone finished. There were a lot of fainters during the race that was on one of the hottest days of the year.

FACT #3 : There was an option to stop half way. A lot of people took this option from what I could tell to get out of the heat. And so this would bring the number down even more.

FACT #4 : There were still plenty of people out on the course. Audrey had run the race in 5:46. The race had a 6:30 cut off before they would start opening the roads. There would be people coming in for an hour, maybe more.

The facts just did not add up.

What we learned afterwards though, infuriated me/us even more. Some of those who finished after Audrey actually got Marathon medals? Why? Well, there was an odd thing with the engraving. When you finished the race, and took your medal to be engraved (if you paid for it), they took your finisher medal off you and handed you one already engraved with your name and time on it. I am guessing that the engravers had the list of people who had paid and an electronic feed of their times. This would mean that there would be fewer marathon medals at the end, because all those who had paid for engraving would have had double, until they gave one back.

This would explain how two of Audrey’s travel buddies got marathon medals after they came in much later. The engravers could have freed up those medals, which would have gone back to the finish line.

Anyway, we complained. We emailed and tweeted. Vienna Marathon came back 2 days later to state only 75 people didn’t get medals.

We chased via email for Audrey to get a medal before we left. No response.

We chased both via email and social media when back in London and Edinburgh respectively.

Audrey was told in one email they would be sent in the next 3 weeks. The IAAF Gold Standard marathon would send out marathon medals to finishers 3 weeks after the event. It beggars belief. When she finally got it, LAST THURSDAY (10th May) !!!! It came with a card, well the post office left a card, as the Vienna Marathon, the IAAF Gold Standard marathon, hadn’t even put enough postage on it, so Audrey had to pay the post office to get her own damned medal. This all infuriates me. It makes me wanna…

The Shirt Off My Back

After the EXPO, at a time when I still thought I’d get a time, and Audrey at least half-expected to get a medal for finishing the marathon, we all met up for a beer. I had the race tee. I had pre-ordered it apparently but I didn’t remember if I had or not. Only my race envelope stated that I did. Audrey had not, and nor had her travel companions. And so we asked if people could buy them at the EXPO. The girl said yes, but there were so few they had already been sold within minutes. This sucked balls. And not in a good way.

Emails were also sent, listing the lack of race tees, in particular for John, who was running his first marathon. With the medal incident too, I was compelled to give my tee to Auds, not that it would have fit.

And now, apparently, after emails promising first that they would send t-shirts if you just paid the postage (as a sign of goodwill!!!), we have learned that “some” t-shirts “may” be available as of today. You still have to pay the delivery fee though! Which is bang out of order!

Water water everywhere

They ran out of water. Ok, this was at the time, and after I had finished. But apparently this IAAF Gold Standard also ran out of water at some stops, on one of the hottest days of the year. I didn’t see this, but people told me after. Again, not ideal

In Summary 

The tragedy here…

The tragedy here is that I actually enjoyed the race. It had nice wide roads, and good support, varied things to see like the stadium, parks, the Danube, and the city. I liked the race. But not only all the fudge ups above, but their attitude since the race has been diabolical.  If you do get a response it is unsatisfactory. They were already advertising and pushing the 2019 race before some of the 2018 finishers had even got their medal. Where is their priority? Not their runners.

So, to recap. One month later:

  • I still don’t have a time and am still 29 euros down and missing a chip I bought.
  • Audrey has finally got her medal but had to pay to get it.
  • No one has gotten a t-shirt.

Tragic.

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