It’s that time again!
Last year, I think the spots sold out within a week of registration opening. My expectation is that–despite the addition of about 2,000 more entries–the race will sell out within a few days. The Lululemon blog is advising those interested in running the race to adopt a “do it now” philosophy. If you wait too long to decide, there may not be a spot for you.
I’ve run this race twice–its inaugural year in 2012 and its sophomore effort in 2013. 2012 was fun and unique, but also quite flawed. For example, there weren’t enough aid stations, and the aid stations actually ran out of cups. Lululemon reached out to the initial racers with surveys and really seemed to listen to the responses, because 2013 was more organized and better run.
Should you run it?
There are several pros:
1. The race takes place in Vancouver, BC, a cosmopolitan city with an insanely diverse and high quality restaurant scene. I DIE thinking about some of the meals I’ve eaten in Vancouver. There’s great shopping. Oh–and it’s known as the Hollywood of the North. Several movies and TV shows are shot there each year, so you may run into a shoot when you visit. Very cool.
2. The swag for this race can’t be beat.
In 2012, the registration fee earned me limited edition Lululemon Speed Shorts (which normally sell for $58), SeaWheeze flip flops from Native, a reusable SeaWheeze light backpack, a keychain medal, a post-race brunch, a yoga mat, and entry to a concert headlined by Fun!
In 2013, my registration fee bought special edition Track Attack shorts, a reusable SeaWheeze backpack, a wooden locket-style medal, Skull Candy headphones with a special SeaWheeze carrying tin, aromatherapy oils in a travel pouch, a post-race brunch, and entry to a concert headlined by someone I’ve never heard of.
3. The course support is good for a medium-sized race (especially since it’s a half). The majority of the crowds are regular people, but there are also a lot of Lululemon-employee cheer stations. They’re actually the most fun supporters.
There are cons, though:
1. The registration fee is steep for a half-marathon: $128 CAD, which is about $115. This is equivalent to the Rock n Roll races, so maybe that’s not outlandish. I had initial sticker shock, but in the end the registration fee gets you a lot of cool stuff (see above).
2. No bibs = no pictures. Hey–I’m the first to admit I don’t buy race photos. Well, not true; I didn’t buy a race photo until I
ran the NYCM. However, I’m not someone who really wants to commemorate how much I looked like something that crawled out of the Black Lagoon when I was nine miles into a half-marathon PR attempt. Some people, though, like to buy race photos. And some people don’t like to buy them but they still like to check them out.
That can’t happen with the SeaWheeze, or at least it couldn’t in 2012 or 2013, because there aren’t any bib numbers. Without bibs, the photographers can’t identify you, so no pictures.
Why aren’t there bibs? Well, let’s just say that at least 90% of the people running that race are decked out almost entirely in Lululemon gear. And Lululemon virtually ensures that will happen with its included-with-registration shorts (not that I’m complaining–I love the shorts!). Why mar those adorable, photogenic, marketing-material-ready outfits with bib numbers?
3. SeaWheeze is an interesting race. I say that because it’s so different from other races–and not in only good ways. At times last year I felt like it was all about the company. By the end of last year’s event, I felt like I’d been offered the Kool-Aid and turned it down. I was Lulu’ed out. I mean, I like the clothes, but do I need to buy the lifestyle, too?
Also, I’ve run non-profit races (which comprise the majority, it seems) and for-profit races (like the Rock n Roll series) but this one’s totally different from the other for-profits. Its “soul,” if a race can have one, is distinctly Lululemon. If you’ve ever shopped there and/or read one of their ubiquitous red bags, I think you’ll know what I mean.
It’s a race, but it’s also got group yoga, and the concerts, and this whole vibe that goes right back to the company’s philosophy and mission (or at least what I consider that to be).
This race doesn’t have a linked charity like the Rock n Roll series, which has several charity partners, or the Nike Women’s Marathon, which sponsors Team in Training. Lululemon explains on its website that, as a company, it donates to several charitable causes through its Metta Movement program, but there’s not a single charity partner for this race, which is kind of odd. Or maybe I’m just being a little high handed about it.
So, should you register or not?
Well, I am. Regardless of SeaWheeze’s flaws (and what race is perfect?), this is a fun race in a great city.
I was really on the fence after I learned they were pushing out the race weekend by a couple of weeks, but I don’t want to miss making this my SeaWheeze trifecta. I had a great time last year:
Note: This is what it looks like at Mile 13 when you’re not running for time. You actually look like you’re having fun! And don’t worry–I’ve purchased some new running bras since that photo was taken…
Plus I gotta’ get that swag. Oh–and I’ll take any excuse to go back to Vancouver to eat my weight in great food.
For more information, go to their race website.
Wow! What a mess. Lululemon opened registration today at 10:00 a.m. PST and the system promptly crashed, reportedly due to the flood of people trying to register. This is Lululemon’s response:
There are a lot of loyal Lululemon customers and past SeaWheeze participants venting their frustrations on their facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/seawheezehalfmarathon
I started trying at 10:00 a.m. and eventually stopped after many, many efforts to make it through their registration system. At first the site would crash when I just tried to get on the registration options page. After some time and effort, I was able to input my personal info and shorts selection before the system crashed on me when I tried to check out.
This is ridiculous. Lululemon appeared unprepared for so many people trying to register at once. It should not have encouraged people to register right when it opened. From their blog:
If it still wanted to encourage this herd response, then it should have prepared for a deluge of registrations. But it didn’t.
Now Lululemon has advised that it’s closed SeaWheeze registration due to all of the site’s problems and, never fear, “the majority of spaces are still available.” I’m amazed anyone has been able to register. Oh, well. Lululemon apparently plans to report updates at 3:00 p.m. PST. So, until then, we stew. And cross our fingers and toes.
UPDATE 3 (01/24/14, 12:04 p.m.):
Lululemon has suspended registration until Monday, February 3, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. PST:
Hopefully they get their website issues sorted out by then and are able to handle a flood of hits again. The “new registration process information” reference is curious, but it doesn’t sound like there will be a lottery, otherwise they wouldn’t have included the reference that the remaining spots will “go fast.”
Best of luck, aspiring SeaWheezers! I hope we all are able to register on Monday.
Are YOU planning to register for the 2014 Lululemon SeaWheeze Half-Marathon?
Update 4 (01/29/14):
Lululemon has updated its page with the new registration info! Registration for SeaWheeze will reopen on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. PST. When you try to register, you may be placed in a “waiting room” that could put you on hold for up to an hour before you’re able to register. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
Details are here: http://www.seawheeze.com/run/registration-101/
Good luck, all!