Race Registration FAIL

Call me jaded, but I have come to question these race registration deals that seem too good to be true. All week long, a certain local half marathon has been blowing up social media advertising its “special registration” window in which it would be offering race entries for as low as a dollar (and in five dollar increments thereafter). Sounds awesome, right?

Not so much.

I logged into the site at exactly 10:00 a.m. (and was already on the site and ready to go minutes before, constantly refreshing the browser until the registration page opened). I quickly selected the $1.00 half marathon slot and entered all of my information. As I clicked the “next” button and I received a system error. I waited a few precious seconds to see if it would reload. I refreshed the browser window. I cursed at the computer. All to no avail.

By 10:03 I was already on the event Facebook page posting that there was a system error. I was the second comment (again, reaffirming my belief that I was one of the first ones on the site experiencing this issue). Throughout the morning, a flood of similar accounts came in from others who received similar error messages.

Hoping this was just due to an overload on the server I tried opening a new screen and reentered my information while keeping the first window open in case some sort of miracle happened (it didn’t). The second screen gave the “hold” message showing that entries were pending (which confirmed to me that during the first registration attempt I was actually “in” and registering prior to the spots being snagged up as “pending.”). After wasting about 30 minutes of time during the middle of my workday I called it quits (can I bill them for my wasted time?!?).

When things seem too good to be true…

Maybe I’m being a sore loser, but what I am most disappointed about is the way that this situation was handled. I’m not sure where the technological glitch came in (whether it was the race site or the external registration site) but regardless of who was at “fault,” I would at least expect some sort of statement from the race acknowledging that the error occurred and explaining (apologizing?!?) for what happened. I get that this kind of thing happens all of the time and while I am still pissed about not getting my $1.00 entry, a simple acknowledgement of the situation (or apology for the inconvenience) would have gone a long way. However, all the comments on the race’s Facebook page went unanswered and no “official” statement was ever made. Instead, the rest of the morning my Newsfeed was full of “updates” from the race further self-promoting its great registration offers and boasting its successful registration numbers.

Salt in the wound. 

At the end of the day I know it’s not a big deal. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me and I know that there was a huge issue during the Chicago Marathon registration a few years ago. But I have to believe that there is a better way that these types of events can be handled (or at least better communication when the seemingly inevitable website crashes happen).

Has anyone else experienced a similar frustration when registering for a race? What is the best deal that you have been able to score when registering for a race?