I love reading people’s complaints on the Facebook page of a race. It’s almost a guilty pleasure. I know there are going to be the same complaints for every race, but I can’t not look. In my opinion, some complaints are valid, some aren’t. (And I’ve totally made some of these same complaints myself, even the not valid ones.)

Complaining about something you knew (or should have known) when you registered – not valid. If it says “no race day packet pick-up and packets will not be mailed” when you register … then don’t complain when race weekend comes and you have to make an extra trip downtown to pick up your bib. Newsflash: big races in big cities NEVER have race day packet pick up. Never. If it says “no race day packet pick-up” it means just that.

Complaining that your friend can’t pick up your bib – valid. This is one of the dumbest things to me. I get that there are liability issues. But I thought we all electronically signed waivers when we registered for the race? If that’s not it (maybe that’s just the “no refunds” agreement), then there SHOULD be electronic waivers. And friends should be able to pick up bibs with a copy of your registration.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Expo

Complaining about the expensive parking at the expo – usually not valid. Big races have big expos. Big expos need a lot of space. Just thinking about Chicago, there are only so many places with enough space: Navy Pier, McCormick Place, Merchandise Mart and the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. So far I have only seen Navy Pier and McCormick used for big expos. Sure, the parking is expensive (Where ISN’T the parking expensive in Chicago? Other than our “super secret lot”?) and public transportation is kind of a headache to get to either … but at least the expos aren’t in Rosemont!! Bottom line, big downtown races = registration fee + parking fee the day of the race + parking fee at the expo. Which is why I need to stop doing big downtown races.

Complaining about bibs not being mailed – not valid. Sure, some small races offer this option – for a price. But for the bigger races, if 5 percent opted for the mail option – that’s a thousand or two packets to mail, depending on if it’s big like the Chicago Half or big like the Chicago Marathon. The logistics of that on top of all the other race logistics … I can see why that is only an option for small races that max out at 2,000 runners. I wouldn’t want to deal with it either.

How my Garmin tracked the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Complaining that the course was too long – usually not valid. Your Garmin is not an exact measurement. It’s going to space and back, over and over and over again. The distance it measures is going to be a little off. If your race is among skyscrapers, lots of trees, includes tunnels, or it is overcast, it will be even more off. Other than teeny tiny local races, most races are measured and certified. Accept the fact that your $200 Garmin is not as precise as a calibrated bicycle or whatever.

Complaining about ill-fitting race shirts – somewhat valid. On the one hand, race swag jacks up the price of registration. So if I’m paying a lot for a race, I want a shirt (or jacket, or whatever the swag is) that I’ll wear. On the other hand, as a woman, I know how jacked-up sizing can be. Heck, even within the same store, I wear different sizes for different styles. Consistency in women’s sizing is a utopian dream that we’ll never achieve. BUT, unless registration was super cheap, it is basically a waste of my money.

Complaining that race results aren’t posted ASAP – usually not valid. You probably ran with your Garmin or RunKeeper app or whatever, and there are clocks at the finish, so you have a pretty good idea what your time was. When did we get so spoiled that results up instantaneously is not a perk, but expected? Sometimes there are technical problems. Also races are on weekends. I’m guessing Active.com doesn’t have a full staff on weekends. Be patient.

Complaining about a lack of food for your spectators – not valid. I actually saw this complaint on Facebook recently. Someone complained that there wasn’t enough food for spectators during the race. I didn’t even know races supplied food for spectators. Maybe the person was referring to a charity tent or something. But … huh???

Asking when race photos will be ready hours after the race ends – shut up. Um, how quickly do YOU process and tag thousands of photos? If it’s been a week, and no photos, then yes, it is valid to ask. But holy sheesh, wait for the photographers to get HOME first. The photos are usually posted within a couple days anyway, which to me is freakishly fast.

What are your “favorite” race complaints? Do you disagree with me on the validity (or … not validity) of any of these?