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View Full Version : Slide in the City in Arlington



dasgeh
04-09-2015, 03:54 PM
http://www.arlnow.com/2015/04/08/giant-slip-n-slide-event-could-come-to-arlington-this-summer/

1) This sounds awesome

2) If they manage to close roads this, we can manage to close roads for a cycliovia/open streets event.

PotomacCyclist
04-09-2015, 04:41 PM
I posted a comment on that article but it was deleted for some reason.

I wouldn't be too confident that this event goes through at all. Those people are expanding very rapidly, at breakneck speed. They only organized two events last year, one in Salt Lake City and another in Boise, ID. On their website, they now list what appears to be 100 cities or so, throughout the U.S. and Canada. I wonder if they have anything organized at all. In Arlington, they don't have any permits, no set location and no official date. I looked up the Detroit event. Same thing: no permits, no specific location, no exact dates. Many of the cities have "Coming Soon" listed for them.

http://www.slidethecity.com/locations/

I see this as one of two things: Either a group of naive and eager people who want to be the next big thing, but without working through the process carefully. Or they are fly-by-night operators who want to cash in quickly and make some money, even if the company goes bankrupt and a lot of people lose their registration costs.

The reason I say this is because that rate of scale-up is borderline insane. There are examples of running and obstacle race organizations doing the same thing, starting off with a couple local races and then going big with a national schedule the very next year. They post a lot of websites, pull in a lot of registration fees and then go belly-up when everything comes crashing down. It also reminds me of the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K fiasco at National Harbor a few years ago. RAM Racing, an out-of-town company, went national with their Hot Chocolate race series. They clearly didn't have any local connections or consideration of logistics, because they signed up thousands of runners to head to National Harbor, all at the same time. In a location without public transit, that's a recipe for gridlock. That's exactly what happened, even though the organizers had chartered shuttle buses from remote parking areas. All of the buses and cars got jammed up on the Beltway heading to NH. The organizers claimed that there were traffic accidents on the Beltway, but many people scoured local police reports and news sites and didn't find a single mention of any traffic accidents in that area. The race course was also located dangerously close to car traffic on a high-speed road near National Harbor. Runners had to cross the path of all the late-arriving people who managed to get there by car. The event was such a mess that the Prince George's County executive prohibited that company from organizing another event in the county ever again.

While Arlington has much better public transit, all of the other issues remain: a company trying to expand rapidly, no local connections or awareness of local requirements and difficulties.

I'm skeptical that most of the events on their ambitious schedule go forward.

Then there's the problem of people jumping on their stomachs to slide. There have been many cases of people injuring their backs while doing this at backyard slides. You can see a lot of people doing this on the YouTube video that the company released of their SLC event:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnKzoh3zDEw

Even with the padding in place, that's still a danger.

Steve O
04-09-2015, 06:19 PM
and has yet to set a location within the county.

41st Street; duh.

PotomacCyclist
04-09-2015, 09:11 PM
According to Running USA, participation in themed events like mud runs, adventure races, color runs and other types increased 4000 percent between 2009 and 2013. Slide in the City isn't a running event, but it has a similar feel to the non-traditional running events, and the rapid expansion is similar to that of these new companies.

Some examples of race/event organizations overreaching without any idea of whether there is a market or a sustainable market for the particular types of events (mud run, foam fest 5Ks, electric/neon runs):

Electric Foam 5K series goes out of business in its 1st year, after making an attempt to go national right off the bat: http://www.runnersworld.com/races/electric-foam-5k-goes-out-of-business

Round House Racing/5K Foam Fest goes out of business in 2014. They abruptly canceled events in 44 cities. Round House did not offer refunds to registrants.
http://fox13now.com/2014/07/21/5k-foam-fest-canceled-due-to-organizations-bankruptcy/

Run or Dye, another themed race series, earns an F rating from the BBB based on many complaints about the company canceling events and not offering refunds.
http://www.bbb.org/utah/business-reviews/event-planners/run-or-dye-in-sandy-ut-22358107/

Dirty Girl Mud Run cancels a race four days before the event and does not offer refunds.
http://fox6now.com/2014/07/24/bbb-warning-fun-runs-promise-more-than-they-deliver/

The "Running Dirty" event in Hickory, Va., was canceled shortly before the scheduled race date, with refunds uncertain.
http://hamptonroads.com/2014/09/refunds-uncertain-after-group-cancels-mud-run

Another post about the problems with themed race series: http://obstacleracingmedia.com/ocr-news/are-themed-runs-done/
- One commenter notes that it's usually the inexperienced companies who suddenly try to put on nation-wide race series that get into trouble (or do it intentionally to make a quick buck). Local companies have a tighter focus and more insight into local permitting processes, logistics challenges, overall interest in the races and how many races are too many. Some national companies have grown, either through plenty of financial backing to buy out smaller races/events or they grew more slowly, learning as they went and building on that experience.

Slide in the City just feels very wrong to me in terms of the business planning and in the risk to potential registrants. If people do sign up, be aware that with the lack of a track record from this company, the odds are elevated that the event may not go on as promised. If the event is canceled, there may not be any refunds. The cost isn't exorbitant but it can add up, especially for those buying tickets for a large family. Then you could be looking at a couple hundred dollars or more. I think the people in that company need to put in their dues and build up a solid local or regional race series in their home territory of Utah and the Mountain states and/or the West Coast. Then after they get more financial stability and experience with event organization, then can start to add more locations.

Going from two cities to 90-100 in one year is a really bad idea.

With the enormous growth in the category of these types of events, it really is like the Wild West. Very chaotic, especially with unproven organizers. People with little experience, knowledge or connections are leaping into the field and burning a lot of would-be participants.

PotomacCyclist
04-09-2015, 09:23 PM
For a better example of how to do things right, look at a group like Pacers Running Stores and their race/event series. While they have expanded their line-up over the years, they have remained local/regional. They know the agencies, organizations and people that they need to talk to in order to get races run properly. They try out some new ideas and see how it goes. That's much easier to do in your home base when you know many of the likely participants and running groups. It's also less risky to try out a couple new races a year than to try to add 30, 40 or 100 races across the country.

TwoWheelsDC
04-09-2015, 10:28 PM
I vote for 26th St. But only if they set it up like a tube float ride, with pools in the flat parts so you leisurely float from slide to slide.