HEB Alamo Run Fest 2017 (or lack thereof)

I’ve written, edited and re-written this post several times. The original (very lengthy) version was written only a few days after the event, when I was… let’s just say, not the happiest of campers. Even though my emotions have tempered a bit at this point, I felt it was important to include my original reaction for perspective. But, no one wants to read hours worth of my ranting, so what you see here is the “Reader’s Digest condensed version”. I’ve also included information regarding my recent interactions with H-E-B Customer Relations, which I think are important to the rounding out of this story as well.

A hopeful Sandy and I outside the Alamodome on raceday

Sandy and I were signed up to compete in the Half Marathon (our milestone 1st Half Marathon) at the H-E-B Alamo Run Fest. As some of you may know, this event was cancelled due to severe weather in the area. My issue (as I have discussed multiple times with the event organizer) was NOT with the weather cancellation itself, but in how the cancellation was handled, and the lack of sufficient compensation to the participants (some who, like Sandy and I also had travel expenses related to this event), and the handling and lack of communication with this entire event.

First, I want to be clear that I do understand that H-E-B was not in charge of the event itself, and was only the title sponsor. A third party event company (Make a Difference Events) was in charge of, and at fault for most of the issues that occurred in conjunction with this event. But I felt that H-E-B being the title sponsor, also had major goodwill at stake, especially since this event was in their hometown of San Antonio. This is the reason for my later interactions with Customer Relations at H-E-B.

In a nutshell, most of the issues that occurred can be attributed to a total lack of communication on the part of the event organizer. This communication breakdown was evident from pre-race all the way through post-race, and the handling of the aftermath of event cancellation.

The first time we had seen the course map. At the expo the day before the race.

As I mentioned previously, there is a list of particulars as long as my arm. I won’t go into each individually (if you are interested, just ask), but I will say that I am not planning on attending this event in the future, unless I am assured that big changes have been made.

Which brings me to my interaction with H-E-B. I made a couple phone calls to H-E-B’s corporate offices and was directed to their Health Promotions Manager, who was the point of contact for H-E-B’s involvement in this and other health and fitness related events. (Kudos to H-E-B for channeling some efforts towards their customers’ health and fitness) Via email and phone conversations, I learned that H-E-B was aware of the issues with the event company, and measures were underway to correct the problem. I was even contacted again just a few days ago and asked if I would mind if my original email (the list) was shared with the Alamo Run Fest Director, as part of their reviewing/debriefing of the 2017 event (and hopefully in planning for the 2018 event). Not only did I gladly agree on my comments being shared, but I assured them that I would be glad to offer additional input if needed (I know, surprising right?).

So, all this said I have arrived at this summation: There are many, like myself and Sandy who were very upset at the way this whole event was handled, and feel like there should have been more done to compensate us for a bad experience at the hands of an obviously ill-prepared (to say the least) event company. H-E-B for their part in this, seems committed to working towards improving this event which bears their name. At least we are on the right track.

Is there a bright future for the H-E-B Alamo Run Fest? I can’t say for sure. But I can say that at least in this case, being the “grumpy old guy” and speaking up about an issue DID in fact cause someone to take notice. And maybe that will help to improve this event in the future. Heck, maybe I’m not such a bad guy after all.