I had thought NUS' reputation as a prestigious (haha.. good joke.) internationally acclaimed (another one!) university meant something to the Centennial Run organisers - apparently not. They'd sooner trade it for a round of happy hour beer at 'The Beer Garden', if 'The Beer Garden' does take such 'worthy' barters and if 'The Beer Garden' does really exist.
Let's count the ways the team failed NUS...
1) Registration - In an email sent out, it said that collection of the run package was delayed due to 'A Hurricane'.
Quite a way to phrase it, so everyone goes 'Ohh.. I see... sad thing to happen, aye...' and hushes up.
But why would any hurricane delay shipment of t-shirts?? Was it a lot of tees? Was it, like, 15 containers worth of them? Or maybe 5 ocean liners?? Was it big enough to justify such a last minute order of tee-shirts? What are the WAREHOUSING/logistics costs involved? 5 million? Were the tees perishable products having intensely short shelf life? Point is, the tee shirts were delayed, Katrina or not. Even if the hurricane did delay the shipment, it would be the organiser's fault to have made an order without due margin of safety for late delivery. And don't let me start on the material of the tee (it's not dri-fit.)
2) Run pack collection was quite a laisser faire event.
Going down to OED, I was promptly asked if I had a receipt. I never did print the receipt (I don't think there was any worthy of printing. Just a print-from-screen kind of receipt which most people ignores), and was swiftly rejected for collection of my run pack. Bollocks.
The administrator said 'Go down and collect on the day itself. You don't need a receipt then.' - this sentence made completely no sense to me. If I don't need a receipt then, why would I need it now???
On further prompting and circumventing the issue ( I wasn't prepared to go back empty handed), I found that they DO NOT HAVE A DATABASE of who signed up and who didn't (WHAT??), and simply relied on the quite impossible situation of every happy person turning up delightfully with colourful receipts.
After a futilie defense on his 'impregnable' stand, he caved in to Obvious Man's logic and gave me my tee and run tag. And WOOHOO>>> The run tag was a Random.getNextInt(). He just took one from a pile of them and gave it to me. What?? No proper 1-1 matching of ID to tag? Sigh...
3) The baggage collection point is at Kent Ridge. The 10km run starts at Bukit Timah Campus. Where's the logic in that?? Are we supposed to go to NUS to deposit our baggages and take a bus/plane/cab/trolley/10km-jog down to Bukit Timah Campus, all before 715am?
Through no fault of theirs, I saw quite a few non-jovial joggers muttering under dying breaths as they jog with fieldpack-sized baggages. No fault of theirs, really - just as I readily agree that God doesn't give everyone sizeable brains at birth.
4) The cloudy/rainy/Category-1 weather would have made Noah groaned, 'Not again...'
Now this is really not their fault. But everyone still pronounced their cusses eloquently.
5) There was no proper ending point for the 10km run.
Maybe they had a ra-ra party for the first 10 runners or something, but they must have all left by the time I got there. In fact, they must have also taken the 'End Point' signages/banners away in their hurry, leaving but one marshaller casually dispensing 'Tuuuurn leeeeft~~! Then end liao~~~!'' verbal cues at NUS' SRC track. If you were there, you might have seen me and a few other joggers balancing huge question marks on our heads while doing random walks in search of the endpoint for a short period of time, before declaring this a lost cause and proceeding to the h20 stand to fillup our tanks.
6) Since there was no proper ending point, there was also no timekeeper.
It is a directly violation of the joggers' event organiser's guild laws to do this, really.
You have a few hundreds of people huffing and puffing for 10km, only to tell them 'Oops, no timings! Sorry!'? If we'd have the strength then, we would have teared a few tents down.
IN ESSENCE, the run sux. And so's the carnival. Ah well, the whole event was plain bad. So there.