Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Luck of the Draw

I'm not sure how it works in other parts of the world, but down here in South Africa lucky draws are a pretty common component of most running and cycling races.  It usually works as follows: All the participants in a race get a little card, or something to that effect, which is collected from you/deposited into a box at the finish line and at a specific, predetermined time, names are randomly drawn from the box and awarded lucky draw prizes.  Now, although that sounds all fun and fabulous, I've learnt over the years that sometimes it's luckier not to get a lucky draw prize...

At one of my very first cycle races in 2003, a friend and I eagerly awaited the lucky names to be drawn.  We sat in quiet anticipation, spying fabulous goodies like cycling helmets and jerseys displayed on a table, already seeing in our minds' eye how we were going home with the goods.  It wasn't long before my name was called out and I excitedly made my way to the front, in front of hundreds of fellow cyclists, only to be handed... a sheet of stickers.  The smiley-faced, "well done, you're a star!" -kind.  I was mortified!  How on earth does a grown woman walk back to her seat with a sheet of children's stickers  in her hand, looking anything but somewhat disgruntled?!  My friend was, of course, having a field day and couldn't stop laughing - just to be called to the front a minute or two later.  And then it was my turn to giggle: She came back to her seat, looking equally disgusted, with three small rolls of flowery gift paper in her hand...  

Lucking out.  Or not.

At another less than ideal lucky draw ceremony I've attended, "lucky" runners were called to the front to receive... small bunches of carrots.  Now I totally get the carrot-and-stick approach that some people have to running, and I'm extremely thankful for every crumb of food that I put into my mouth, but, man, that wasn't ideal.  

One way of avoiding potential sticker/gift paper/carrot receiving situations would, of course, be to completely avoid attending lucky draw ceremonies.  But, the thing is, some lucky draw prizes are pretty fine.  Like the annual Spar Women's Race in Pretoria, where a brand new car is given to one lucky runner each year.  Wowsers.  Or like one of Will's friends who won a brand new, carbon bicycle at a local cycle race.  Or restaurant and hotel vouchers, running gear and romantic getaways for two...

Spar Womens Race
Best lucky draw prize ever: A brand new car.  [Source.]

I guess we'll just have to take our chances!  

Are lucky draws a common occurrence at races in your part of the world?  What are the best/worst prizes that you've ever received at a race? 


2 comments:

  1. Here the lucky draws are common but they are related to the bib. I have never waited for the lottery so I don't know if I have ever won a prize.

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    1. Most of our local races are too small to even have bibs - you get a little card that you carry in your pocket and hand in after the race.

      I must say, if we're really tired after a race, we also tend to skip the lucky draw and go home to nap instead :) .

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