Update: Since this post was written, “S.D.” personally reached out to me to apologize. Once you get to know him a little, he’s actually a decent person. He’s no longer with Bay Area Fit Houston, either. The new organizers also reached out, and they’ve invited me to join them on a run or two. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.
The bottom line: This post is about an experience I had, and it was extremely frustrating at the time. While I’m unlikely to train with Bay Area Fit Houston because of my own schedule, I don’t NOT recommend it. Check the schedule, talk to the organizers, and determine if it’s right for you.
If you’re a female planning a 21-miler that starts before the sun comes up, you’re going to want company for at least part of it, right? One of my acquaintances offered to let me tag along on a Bay Area Fit Houston group run. They were going to be doing their 21-miler.
The catch? She just had to check with the group leader first. She figured it would be okay since there had been non-members running with them before. But nope, apparently, non-members weren’t welcome on this run.
This is fine, I guess. I mean, it’s a long run. Bay Area Fit Houston had aid stations planned. Maybe they were worried about someone eating all their fuel or drinking all their water. But I had reservations about joining Bay Area Fit long before this incident I’m writing about. I felt like the program was overpriced for what you get. I also felt like it was cliquey, like the Mean Girls Running Club, but co-ed.
I did contact the organizer to let him know that I felt like the group was exclusionary, and that this just reaffirmed my perception. I also let him know that Saturday would have been a great opportunity to recruit me for next season. His response?
I am sorry that you feel that way, First I don’t know who you are, but to say that Bayfit is exclusionary is a bit of a stretch. You are excluded because you are not a member. You don’t have a membership. We’ve made accommodations for the members, for example if you are a member and you asked if you could bring your spouse for support. Or if you’re running partner was injured and you knew someone who wasn’t a member but could help you with your pace. Nonetheless, those members who started in July and have a membership have worked hard the entire season, 5 months so far of hard training through the elements, to get to this point. Maybe if you would have given me a story that didn’t involve the insults I probably would have let you run. This is not the way you should handle a situation where you have a great opportunity. Have a good rest of the running season.Regards,
So here’s the thing: my friend wouldn’t have asked me to join the Bay Area Fit Houston run if she hadn’t seen other members bringing guests. And I wouldn’t have had a problem with not being able to go if the response to my message had been along the lines of, “We reserve these later runs for members, but we’d love to have you next season, which starts on x date, so sign up for our email list.”
This private message led me to believe that Bay Area Fit Houston was all about the money. The lie on its homepage, “But we all come together for one common goal,” needs to be removed. No, Bay Area Fit Houston organizers come together to take your money. They’re afraid if you bring someone to the 21-mile run, they’ll eat all their food. (Which I would have paid for! For goodness’ sake, have a drop-in fee and a drop-in limit.)
Oh, and S.D.? Say how I haven’t been busting my tail training to my face. Why don’t we talk about the long run in the downpour or the run on a rolled ankle. Would you like to discuss, perhaps, my hypoglycemic reaction on a run (which is why I won’t eat your food; I bring my own)? Or, hey, maybe we can chat about the hours I’ve been putting in cross-training to strengthen other muscles.
And maybe you can not be condescending, as well. Is this what Bay Area Fit is about? Because that response reeked. “A great opportunity?” For what, to pay $140 for something I can find on the Internet for free (or get from my coach, who I trust more than some random guy with a Gmail address?) Was I supposed to give him a sob story so he’d “let” me run on public roads?
Listen, S.D.-boy, I don’t want your training. I don’t want your “secrets” that I can Google in five minutes. All I wanted was to run with a group of people so that I wouldn’t get stabbed. Don’t worry, Davey, I’ve found friends to run with for part of my long run this weekend. And also, you don’t need to worry about me ever joining Bay Area Fit Houston. I’ll make sure not to because it is exclusionary and just wants money. “Common goal” – more like “fill the organizers’ wallets.”
Also – and this is important – this post wouldn’t be live if I hadn’t received the following message after posting the screenshot of S.D.’s message to me on Facebook:
Please do contact a lawyer and Facebook. Truth is an absolute defense to slander. Don’t get mad because I posted your rude message so others considering Bay Area Fit Houston will know what kind of a person the organizer is.
Disclaimer: This is my blog, and I’ll rant if I want to.