When a large company like Nike say they are going to arrange a half marathon in Buenos Aires you assume that you are dealing with a serious company that will put on a good show. I booked online along with 10,000 others paying $220 pesos for the privilege of pounding the streets of Buenos Aires. This equates to 2 million 2 hundred thousand pesos. For this Nikes obligation was to close a few streets give every body a t shirt a timing chip and a bottle of Gatorade.
But somebody some where decided that the profit margin was not high enough and that if they were to cull the field of runners they could save a ton of money on t shirts medals and Gatorade.
And that is what they did , they sold 10,000 place yet only 7114 runners made the race. That is 2886 people who just woke up one day and decided to donate $220 pesos to Nike. The people of Buenos Aires are kind like that!. They just love giving money to big corporations and getting nothing in return.
Or maybe they didn't?. The fact is they had your money and an obligation to fulfil but opted instead to cull the list of runners as though it were a Florida electoral register. And with a rejection rate of close to 30% and for any reason they were able to achieve this disgusting rip off.
At every race I have ever run not having a medical cert just meant you signed a disclaimer stating that you did not hold the organisers responsible. Not in this race. In this race it meant no t shirt and no chip.
Having a medical cert but not having the Nike form stamped by a doctor also meant no t shirt and no chip.
Having all of the above but not having a photo copy of the first 2 pages of your identity document also meant rejection. And so this theft continued until they had culled almost 3000 paying customers.
I cannot help but wonder are they now sitting on almost 3000 t shirts that were never issued, in the corner of their office are there boxes of medals that were never given out, or were the t shirts and medals never made in the first place?.
Maybe Nike think that people will just take it and say nothing. Maybe the Argentines will?. After all they are accustomed to crap service, but I am not Argentine and am not willing to let this rip off pass me by without giving my 2 penneth worth.
So despite not having a chip or the official t shirt my friend and I attended the race any way. We showed our receipts of payment to the officials and were told we could not enter the course. We ended up having to jump the fence like thieves in the night to run a race we had paid to enter. The run itself was fine but Nike had one final insult in store for us at the finish line. They had positioned marshalls down the final straight to stop anyone not wearing the official shirt from crossing the finish line. A few choice words from me convinced one marshall that it was not in his interest to try and actually stop me so I made it to the finish line and picked up my $220 peso bottle of Gatorade.
The next step was to try and get my medal. I showed my receipt I explained what had happened but all to no avail. So home I went empty handed.
One of the great things I love about running is getting back home to my twin 6 year old girls and me and my friend putting our medals on them. The next day one of the girls will take my medal to school and tell her friends and teachers that daddy won the race. The first thing they asked after this race was where's the medal?. It made me feel quite sick to be honest and furious enough to write this.