Last year, Elliott took part in his very first Kids Dash. He did an awesome job, completing most of the 700m on his own. I decided to sign him up again for this year’s run because on that day, it was Daddy’s birthday, as well as the day he turned 33 months. In my head, it’d be a lovely way to mark the 2 occassions.
Of course, as we all know, things (especially with kids) don’t usually go as planned. Check out Elliott’s face here. He hated the shirt, and probably the crowd and heat too.
This year, Kids Dash was held at Orchard Road. Also, the flag-off time for his race (0-3 years old was at 6pm. When I signed him up, I had no idea where the venue nor starting time was. If I had known that it was going to be at Orchard Road (!) in the evening (!!), I would have stayed far, far away.
The organisers sent an email to ask for feedback (good on them) and here’s what I wrote:
- Kids are at their best in the mornings. An evening/night race is a bad idea. To sell it as “running under the Christmas lights” didn’t quite work for the 0-3 category because flag-of was at 6pm and the lights weren’t on!
- Holding it at Orchard Road in December is a complete nightmare. The stretch is already crowded with shoppers and tourists. Adding another 5,000 kids, parents, supporters to the mix is just a logistical nightmare.
- Due to the crowd, we could not see where the starting pens were. A lot of time was spent running back and forth (with a young child below 3 years old) just to hunt down the starting pen and we could not find any staff to seek help from. We weren’t the only lost sheep as we saw many parents with their young child looking lost as well. When we got there, there were barricades that prevented us from getting through. To make it worst, lots of parents/kids from the other categories were crowding around the barricades which prevented us from joining the start pen. We had to literally push our way through because there was no crew around to guide us in, or tell us what to do. And the race was starting!
- Delayed flag-off for young children is a VERY BAD idea. Children get restless in 10 seconds and the heat and crowd just makes things 10x worst. It was extremely unpleasant waiting for the race to start and by the time it started, a lot of children (and parents) were feeling uncomfortable and in a bad mood.
- Due to the narrow stretch of Orchard Road, I know that it was necessary to make participants walk a long way to the start/end point. However, again, with young children (heat, crowd, etc), it was a bad idea. This was particularly bad after the race – parent and child had to walk almost half the distance of the race just to exit and there was a huge backlog at the exit because security was checking tags. I applaud you for trying to ensure that the correct parent will leave with the correct child but for the 0-3 category, each child was accompanied by one parent. Why is there still a need to cross-check, leading to the backlog.
- There was no area for the other parent/supporters to watch the race. We had to balance ourselves at the permanent barricades just to try and catch our child and partner. However, due to the red/white barricades, all we could see was the partner, not our child. This is a small point but if the purpose of this race is for family bonding, it failed badly.
- The venue and time of the Kids Dash was not made known when registration opened for early birds. If I had known that it was going to be along Orchard Road (a mad house in Dec) and in the evening, I would not have signed up. However, this information was made known a lot later. May I suggest that important factors such as venue and time info be made known once registration opens so that parents can make an informed choice whether or not to join.
It was our second Kids Dash but the experience was horrible due to the above reasons. Please, for future editions, hold the Kids Dash at a BIG OPEN AREA (like last year’s Sports Hub!) and importantly, have it in the MORNING!
In a nutshell, Elliott hated everything about it. Check out his face when given the medal. Pffffft.
He was supposed to run the race with his BFF from school, Isaac, but because we were late (because the runner was napping!), Isaac and his dad went into the starting pen first. I think it might have worked a lot better if they ran the race together.
Check out their happy post-race faces!
I felt so bad about subjecting the (big) boy to the horrible experience (and on his birthday, no less!) that I bought him a nice ramen dinner, complete with his favourite fried chicken and a mug of cold beer. Totally deserved it after that fiasco.
I guess you can safely say that it’d be a long time before we take part in another Kids Dash from Standard Chartered!