Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Critical Email

Since my long absence from this blog, I have a few posts elsewhere that I'll be adding and updating here as I am able. This is a followup the occurred in November 2014.

I ultimately decided to send feedback about the terrible Six:02 race via email.

Hello Stephanie,

I recently participated in Six:02's Dallas event, the It's Your Time 6k race on November 15, with two of my coworkers. We had a good time running together and enjoyed the unusual race distance, but I have a number of critiques about the event and its execution.

The 6k race website encouraged participants to use public transportation, specifically the DART rail to reach the event, but the DART website has for a while shown an announcement that downtown DART rail stations are closed on weekends from October 25 to November 30. The announcement is front and center at DART's main website, http://www.dart.org/, and I think it was an egregious error for race organizers to fail to research and post that information for participants; and further to fail to offer any discount on expensive weekend parking in Downtown Dallas.

Since the unseasonal cold front moved in the week of the race, I can understand that the race organizers would be caught by surprise. However, it appears as if they cared not at all about the freezing temperatures and race participants. Could they perhaps have purchased hand warmers in bulk from Sam's Club a few days before the race? Could they have sent an email to participants with tips for dressing to run in such cold weather, ESPECIALLY since there were so many novice runners and this weather is unusual for Dallas? This would have been a very simple and effective task to show some concern for participants' well-being. Could the event have offered a bag check so participants could dress adequately for warmth before and after the race and leave their layers and enormous swag bags rather than carry so much while running or trek several city blocks to their cars to drop things off?

I thought that the speakers set up along the course providing upbeat music were a great touch. Maybe your team could work on a playlist for the next race that doesn't demean women. The first song I heard on the course was literally about stalking and preying on a woman like an animal (Adam Levine's deeply disturbing song "Animals").

Lyrics include, “Baby, I’m preying on you tonight. Hunt you down eat you alive.”
The Rape, Abuse Incest National Network told TMZ: “No one should ever confuse the criminal act of stalking with romance.”

I also recall hearing a country song about a woman 'busting out of her bikini top.' After looking online, I find that it's "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line:
Hey baby
Yeah, when I first saw that bikini top on her
She’s poppin’ right out of the South Georgia water
Thought, "Oh, good lord, she had them long tanned legs!"
Couldn’t help myself so I walked up and said

Are you freaking kidding me? It is not that hard to find music that doesn't objectify and demean women, and I'd be thrilled to share some examples if Six:02 needs help with not alienating its target demographic.

The last song I heard as I left the festival area was Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass," which has been heavily criticized all over the Internet all summer long. Sure, it's catchy, but the lyrics are pretty demeaning to "skinny bitches," like many of the runners I saw at the 6k. ( http://feministing.com/2014/08/06/why-meghan-trainors-body-acceptance-anthem-all-about-that-bass-is-disappointing/ )

I was further dismayed to see hundreds of yellow, white, and silver helium balloons lining the course along Katy Trail. Helium is a limited resource necessary for crucial medical purposes and scientific testing, and there is a global shortage of it. I've run two other races along that stretch of Katy Trail and enjoyed the beautiful trail itself far more than seeing such waste and many balloons popped and littering nature along the edges.

I signed up for this race because my coworker suggested it and we were intrigued by the promised "pampering" at the finish line. The massage therapists were AMAZING. Waiting in a long line in the cold, shivering in sweat, however, was not. The massage line was consistently the longest throughout the event, and I am stunned that the 6k team didn't realize a bunch of sweaty women would not be that interested in getting their hair and makeup done after running four miles. Surely these choices of "pampering" can't be indicative of what Six:02 really thinks of its customers, I hope.

A friend of mine suggested: "If you wanted to do something 'make-uppy' how about parafin treatments for windburned hands? That would be warm at least. And MORE massages, in a heated tent of course, and on a 'take-a-number' system so people could mill about and drink hot things instead of standing in line."

I would like to suggest offering a foam rolling station with a knowledgeable trainer available to show runners the best ways to work out stiff muscles and/or a station for calf and ankle massage since we'd just run a noteworthy distance.

Though I really did enjoy the course that wound through beautiful parts of downtown Dallas, chatting with and challenging my two coworkers, I feel that my enjoyment was often in spite of the event's execution. The race's organizing team misfired in a lot of ways as far as connecting with and respecting its target demographic and failed miserably at empowering women in athletics.

Thank you for your time and consideration, as well as the opportunity to send feedback about the It's Your Time 6k event.

Moniqa Paullet


Hi Moniqa,
Thanks very much for sharing your feedback. As mentioned, I’m part of the social media team and will circle back with my teammates at SIX:02. We’ll be in touch soon.

It’s April 2015, and I have heard nothing further.

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