Race Report : Run Drenched Columbus

A few of you on Facebook and Twitter saw my comments about how disappointed I was with the Drenched 5K in Columbus, OH last weekend. I’d like to take this time to give a few details on what happened….or more accurately, what DIDN’T happen. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the fact I was able to attend the event for free thanks to agreeing to promote it, it would have been a complete waste of time and I would have been angry, not just disappointed. I supposed this will be one of those posts to prove I don’t “love” everything I receive for free, so you can trust my reviews.

My Mom and I spent the few days before the race filling water balloons. With your registration you’re supposed to receive 25 balloons which you MUST fill on your own and bring on race morning. Or you are not allowed to take part in the final water fight. I guess this is one of the issues with attending a race out of the area, because we had to go and buy our own balloons. This turned out fine tough since it allowed us to bring 150+ balloons, but I noticed our packs on race day didn’t have any balloons. I know it was too late to fill, but it would have been fun to bring them home. If I were someone with a paid registration I would want everything promised to me for that money.


Speaking of what came with registration. Runners were also given shirts and sunglasses. The sunglasses were cheap giveaway quality with blue accents with “Drenched” written on the side. VERY small and actually hurt my head to wear, which is odd because I wear a children’s frame for glasses since I have smaller head. I don’t know how other adults comfortably wore them.  The shirts were nothing to write home about. Mine was white with “Drenched 5K” written in blue across the chest. The “5K” part was a blue water drop. I honestly found the shirts a little dull and made people look like they work for the water company. Some had shirts with a big blue water splash across the front and “Drenched 5K” written in white inside the splash. Those were much nicer IMO.

So, when Mom and my sister and I arrived, we pushed/dragged/scooted the cooler full of balloons from the COSI parking lot to the the check-in.

Something very cool? In the street by COSI is a giant scaled (for buses to stop on and kids can be entertained) we pushed our cooler onto one and noticed it weighed over 100 lbs! I was super impressed with myself for being able to help. Getting stronger!

Along the way we posed for an “official” picture.

This brings up another issue. Obviously it wasn’t safe or smart to bring a camera around the race. Unless you have a decked out water proof version or trust plastic baggies (which is what I did). For this reason, I thought it was WONDERFUL they had photographers there! OK NOT when it costs a minimum of $12 to get a copy of the picture. Are you kidding me? 100% of those picture profits better go to the same charity the race was a benefit for and not any less with those prices. This was not a marathon or other big time event.

Some of you may be asking, what do you wear to a water fight run? Well, I wore my swim trunks (I bought a pair years ago in the men’s department and they are quite the investment. Very practical for this event as well as time spent at amusement parks when you want a pocket or to ride rides and your typical short girl bottoms aren’t public friendly). Along with my trunks I wore a sports bra and a tech shirt. Then socks and old shoes I didn’t mind getting messed up. I planned to walk most of it with the family anyway.

Before the race started people were squirting each other with guns and hanging out along the water fountains. Becky and I took one of our balloons and played toss until it broke. Others did their own version seeing how much fun we had. There was a low turn out which was probably due to the recent rain and the fact it only barely stopped before the event.



Once we took off I know the three of us were SO EXCITED. We thought we had read about sprinkler zones, foam zones, spectator zones, fire hoses and slip n slides! Looking at the website now, I see they have changed it to be VERY CLEAR those are only OPTIONS and not promised at every venue. I wish I had checked the map, because Columbus was a sad state of affairs.

We ran past a hydrant or a hose at the first corner then down along the water front where we encountered a ton of geese poop. I know that isn’t exactly their fault, but hello you’re a water race, you couldn’t have hosed it down a little but before be started? Super gross. This was also where the spectator zone was located making it hard to be safe as everyone avoided poop and slamming into each other. I think the spectator zone should have been further into the course where people were spread out and in a grove.

After this nearly nothing happened. We ran along the water front and the only excitement was the goose poop and listening to small children complain about the heat or the adults complain about lack of water (both for drinking and for refilling), poor course and poor living up to advertisements. Along the 3 miles there was 1 sprinkler zone and 1 foam zone. The sprinkler zone I think was 1 or 2 very small sprinklers set off to the side. At least this is what it seemed to me when I went past.

Around the half way point we were given small cups of drinking water and saw the foam zone. When my group went through it seemed to be about 5 feet of muddy grass with some type of dirty foam fading on either side. Looking at pictures from the front runners I could tell earlier the entire zone was flooded with foam/bubbles. I don’t know if they ran out of mixture or what, but we were far from the end of the line, and I felt so sorry for the kids who would come to the foam zone and be greeted with mud and fading filthy popping messes.


After half way/foam there wasn’t another thing on the course. It was simply 1.5-ish miles of walking along a sidewalk, seeing some trees and maybe talking to a few other people on the course who were just as disappointed. When we made it to the end, a lone man stood with a fire hose and occasionally splashed people turning the corner to the finish arch. Running under the arch some people had buckets of water thrown on them, we were not any of these people.

Back at the main section, you could hear the announcer telling people it wasn’t time for the balloon fight. No one listened and before they could even attempt to protect the row of supplies, kids were running over and breaking into bags and totes. I will say the water balloon fight was fun. IT HURT LIKE CRAZY THOUGH! Haha.

I could tell the younger kids loved getting wet and the older ones did too, most of the younger ones did not do as well on the course. Lots of complaining and being carried.

The whole time I wondered why such a scenic and boring route was chosen, but I assumed it would have been better with a larger turn out. Not as many road closures or chances to become lost. Finding an article on the race recently, I came across notes at the bottom how local residents and businesses complain about the road closures for events such as Drenched, so I may be right in my assumption.

After the race was super lame too. On the webpage it seemed there would be almost a festival like feel with fun and laughter and the 3 story free fall onto the blow up base or whatever. Mom and Becky were super bummed about not having a slip-n-slide finish (I was too), but I was REALLY upset about not having the free fall. That is 100% the ONLY reason I wanted to do this event. Haha.

Oh and another thing, I wish I had saved a screen shot, because I swear when I created it team the site originally said there was an incentive for simply making a team and a Facebook page. Then as you gain more people there were incentives. At the race I was told it was only for bringing at least 10 people. When I checked at home I see there have been updates and it indeed says at least 10. It also says the incentive for the shirt is for the team captain only, when before it said everyone would get a custom team shirt. Lots of behind the scenes changes.

I guess it wasn’t “false” advertising because they have disclaimers about not everything being at every event, but it was certainly misleading. There wasn’t NEARLY the things in Columbus as other events portrayed and I know a number of people who will not be back next year. Me, my mom and my sister are 3 of them.


Have you ever had a disappointing experience with a race? Do you like the theme or adventure races? Which has been your favorite race for 2013 or the one you’re looking forward to doing in the coming months?

8 thoughts on “Race Report : Run Drenched Columbus

  1. I couldn’t find anyone who was doing the D.C. area event this past weekend, saw your tweets and comments on their FB page, and decided to skip it. At least your experience validates my decision! (see my post tday!)

  2. That just downright stinks. Yeah, if I were a paying participant, I think I would have been really disappointed. I’ve never done a themed event, but I have a mud run coming up that I’m hoping will not disappoint.

  3. Thanks for being honest. I had a TERRIBLE experience with the Color Me Rad in Hartford last year, including a very lewd and inappropriate announcer. I find that these races pop up and want to be the first and best so fast that they forget some of the essentials in having a nationwide race…happy & returning customers.

    • I like the idea of having a national race, but it’s sometime much too inconsistent from one city to the next. I can’t believe you had a lewd announcer! Seriously, that has be some type of fine or something

  4. I’ve recently sworn off races that are either a) put on by non-local organizers or b) in their inaugural year. Theme races are popping up so fast and are being run by people with no business putting on races.

    • I normally don’t do 1st year races either. I’ve only ever had 1 good experience with an inaugural. If it hadn’t been free I wouldn’t have done it. I think I’m going back to my no attending policy. Hot Chocolate also had bad reviews the 1st year, but I hear they’re changing around A LOT and are great now, so probably worth the wait to work out the kinks.

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