September 15th. It has been marked in my calendar for the past few months. Why ? Well, it was the day registration opened for two races I want to run.
Race registration opened at 8 a.m. for the Paris marathon and noon for the Four Castle race, one of the five races I have on my schedule for this fall. I will just say things were kind of touch and go for a bit.
I woke up about 4:45 a.m. still on my internal European clock. The Paris half marathon website would have been open for almost 3 hours. I immediately signed on and registered. It took about 5 minutes. Boy, was that easy !
The Four Castles registration was opening at noon, so 6 a.m. my time. At 6 a.m. sharp I signed onto the website. It was a bit slow. And got slower. After about 20 minutes, I got to the point where I had made it through several of the steps, but the web site went funky when I wanted to pay. The screen went blank and it was impossible to try to get the website back. I tried for 45 minutes. It was like trying to link on to a web site that was down. Completely frustrating. No news. I must have tried 50 times. After an hour I came to the conclusion that it just was not going to work. So I put my sneakers on and went to run on the treadmill at the small hotel gym.
When I came back to my hotel room I tried logging on, convinced it would be sold out, and got this message :
What ?! Sorry it is in French, the key message is “Too much web traffic, you have been put into a line. You are number 573 out of 606 people”. Then the screen would refresh every 90 seconds as people signed up or dropped off. So I waited another 45 minutes…. and BINGO ! Paid & got confirmation that I was accepted. It was a really close call. Almost 3 hours on and off in front of the internet to sign up for a race ? That is crazy. I have a colleague who waited over 5 hours… and didn’t get a spot. Indeed, if you got to the website now, you get an apology message on the technical difficulties there were and they are sorry they can not satisfy the demand. I think many people were probably quite ticked off by the situation.
As I was doing other things on the internet, including checking my email, advertising for another iconic French race came through to my inbox.
I took it as a sign !
So I signed up for a third race, a 23 km race in Millau (Southern France) on May 22, 2016. Can you see the viaduc and the people there ? It is the Millau Viaduct, the world’s tallest bridge. Luckily I am not too afraid of heights, it is 1,100 feet above ground, and luckily I didn’t see this picture before I signed up. I didn’t realise it was so hilly !
So all in all, it was a good day.
Would you have tried for 3 hours to try and sign up for a race ?