City Spree 2013: race report

I registered to the City Spree Game on May, 19. This was the first edition. The full description is available on the website, the concept is to run across the city to specific localisation to get points. The more points you get, the better. After a predefined amount of time, you have to come back. The winner is the one that get the most points. The following paragraphs constitute a feedback, hope this would be useful to the organizers.

At a glance

This game is just … great ! For a first edition, this was a big success ! The organization crew was friendly, on time and very helpful. Just perfect for a first edition. I would be glad to participate next year !

 

Room for improvements

  • Scoring system:: it seems that the number of points for each location decreases according to the number of visitors: the more visitors a place has, the less points are granted for each newcomer. However, runners/walkers start by groups and thus, the first have more chances to be the first on locations. Also, runner are likely faster and would get more points. Having a fixed number of points of each location might be a workaround but remove the bonus for being the first on each location.
  • Proving you pass once at each location: one person at a location refused to give me the points, arguing that I already came on that spot. The reason invoked is that the handwriting used on another sticker was her handwriting. This is especially difficult to know when people at the spots write on a map very quickly, without any table and mostly in a hurry. In addition, by just looking at the time of spots nearby, it would be obvious that I was not able to pass twice in the same location. Because of that issue, I lost at several minutes with somebody that continued to argue (and just by looking at my mapmyrun map, this is obvious I did not pass twice …). Having a system that clearly show the location would solve that problem.
  • Finding spots: One spot (the one in Wilkins Avenue) was difficult to search. This is inconvenient when trying to run and make a performance but this is part of the game … not a real issue, just something particular for this kind of game !
  • Sticker size The stickers were too big and when passing to a location, the sticker would then hide the area on the map (see the map I got for example) … which makes sometimes difficult to track spots within the same area.
  • More water ! The water at the finish line would be clearly indicated. When done, after more than 10 miles, your thinking is very limited (ok, not only in these conditions …) and you are just looking at something fresh to drink. At first, I did not find the water and just see the beer … and end up by starting drinking beer which is … probably not the best thing after a long run ! Even for a well prepared stomach. Showing the water spot clearly would be great ! I just found the water after two pints of beer, which is not the best plan for starting a good rest !

Some ideas for improvement

  • Phone app: Using a dedicated Android/iPhone application to track players ! (such as mapmyrun). This would solve the sticker issue and the double location issue also. The app would then record the path of each player. With such a system, it would be also very convenient to count the number of points for each player and would ease the organization of the event. However, it raises several questions/issues: all participants must have a compatible phone, this would be difficult to ensure that the phone get the GPS signal, there are some security issue (how to detect cheaters ?), etc.
  • Scalability: The game would be very difficult to organize with more participants and would require more people at each checkpoint and also more staff for counting the points. The phone app may be a solution but organizing such a game in a big city (like NYC) with thousands of player would be very difficult !
  • Rewards: The idea of giving extra points for taking a video was great ! This is a good idea to have extra multimedia content at no cost. Also, other rewards could be added, either positive or negative rewards: being the highest climber, the fastest runner, the slower walker, the longuest route, etc.

To conclude …

This first edition was really great: we had a nice weather, the participants were all very nice and the staff very friendly and supportive. I really enjoyed this first edition and would be glad to be participate next year ! Also having a run that is finally a game is really fun, especially for exploring the city. This is a great suggestion that might also be proposed in other cities !

Again, thanks to the organizers and the volunteer crew to make this first edition a success !

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City Spree 2013: race report

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