Race entrees are already sky high how much more can they charge and not hurt the sport?
Dave Johnson on T&FN board reminds us of a simpler time when Browning Ross (and others like him) would hide the stopwatch near the finish line so that the winner could get it and call times to the runners coming in behind him.
Race entrees are already sky high how much more can they charge and not hurt the sport?
Yes, god forbid we hurt the “sport” of 50-year-old guys paying $100 to jiggle along at 9:30/mile for a couple hours. Society would surely collapse if there were fewer opportunities for that kind of thing. People can jog for health anywhere, and at any time they please. The ego massage of a t-shirt and medal should not be needed for motivation.
People pay taxes to fund city parks so they can play tennis and basketball, and they pay (sometimes exorbitant) fees so they can swim and play raquetball at the club. Why should police departments not receive fair value for the services they provide?
I need more specifics than the article contains about how they have been doing it and what the proposed change is, but I don’t get what the problem is. It actually sounds to me like NYRRC has had a sweetheart deal if they haven’t been having to pay the full boat.
I’m on the board of directors and also serve as race announcer and co-elite athlete coordinator for a race that drew about 7,500 last year. Police costs are a line item in our budget. I’d need to check with our race director, but I believe we’ve always had to pay the full tab for whatever the race requires that is over and above whatever the police would normally be doing at that time. That’s true of all the other races I’m aware of as well.
And this isn’t the reason entry fees have climbed. Entry fees have climbed because the general running public - you know, the 90% of the participants who pay the lug and make it possible for others to actually race - are no longer satisfied with just a plain t-shirt, simple medal and time. They want an EVENT. A tremendous amount of resources goes into the “swag” of the goody bags, post-race food, bands and all the rest. Believe it or not, our goody bags - which even contain flip flops with the name and date of the race on the straps and the course map on the sole (I’m not kidding) - are cited by the rank-and-file joggers as one of the main reasons they came back the following year. Usually the month or so after the race I’ll see someone around town wearing our t-shirt (Technical fabric, no cotton here) or flip flops and I’ll ask them how they liked the race. Consistently the things that get mentioned are our hills, how well it was organized . . . and how great our goody bags and post-race party were. Last year the post-race events included free barbecue, including a pig roast, two free beers from a very popular local microbrewery and a live band . People say they feel like that got a bargain with everything they received for their entry fee and have a huge return rate. All that costs money.
And all the joggers will judge the quality of your race by those things as much or more than anything else. Fact of life in this era.
Serious runners, of course, could care less about that stuff, but if serious runners are your only target entrants, you’ll be out of business quickly. My co-elite coordinator and fellow board member is a former WR holder from back in the day (a former fellow board member was a 2004 Olympian). He’s very gracious but we both sorta marvel at the changes in road races in the last 20 years.
The reality is that the walkers, waddlers and finisher-medal mongers are the folks that make the race possible. Instead of being disparaged, they should be thanked. It’s simply a matter of economics.
Take the NYCM as an example. What, 35,000 people? How many of them are truly elite; maybe top 25 or so? How many are serious competitors; another few hundred, maybe, tops? It takes the other 34,500 to generate the funds (both in sponsor dollars and entry fees) that give NYRRC the budget to be able offer major prize money, pay six-figure appearance fees, and provide first-class air fare to the world class studs we all watch in that race.
We took this race over about four years ago and grew it from about the 2800 it had at the time to the 7500 we had last year. One of our biggest increases came from charity participants who use our race to raise money for their charities. Many are walkers. Thanks to those increases, we are in a position this year for the first time to have a travel budget to bring in some better runners. We’ve added very modest increases to our meager prize money. We’re a long way from where we want to be, but we’ve made huge progress from where we were. And without all those charity participants, fitness joggers, walkers, waddlers and Oprah watchers, we couldn’t even think about increasing our payout or affording to bring in the level of elites we’re shooting for in a few more years. The next step is a title sponsor. We have several companies watching with interest, but the participation numbers have to be high enough for it to make sense for them to fork out that kind of money.
So the next time you run a road race, thank that fat guy crossing the line an hour and half after you. Without him, you wouldn’t even have a race to run. It’s as simple as that.
Not sure if that last post was directed squarely at me, but I’m sure it partially was.
Just to be clear, I’m not one of those guys who crosses the line at a road race and hangs around to sneer at the fatties. I understand how the milk largely foots the bill for the cream, in a manner of speaking. I actually think professional sports are a gigantic boondoggle and distraction that serve no purpose. If major sporting events ceased to exist I would not be particularly bothered. Surely the several billion dollars that were spent on Super Bowl related activities last weekend couldn’t have found a better purpose …
No, it really wasn’t. I hear snide remarks from “serious” runners all the time about the walkers and fitness runners at road races. Just look at the letsrun boobs. They all make fun of the fatties, but whine when smaller races can’t afford to offer much prize money. Gee, I wonder if there’s a connection . . .
Yeah but fat people still suck though.
Posted: May 5, 2011 by Toni Reavis in At the Races
Tags: ING New York City Marathon, [URL=“http://en.wordpress.com/tag/mary-wittenberg/”]Mary Wittenberg, [URL=“http://en.wordpress.com/tag/new-york-police-department/”]New York Police Department
There is a potential problem brewing in the sport, and who can say what the long-term effects could be? As was reported in the New York Times this February, in an attempt to generate increased revenues to make up for the city’s budget shortfall, the New York Police Department is looking to charge the New York Road Runners the full cost of shutting down hundreds of city streets along the five boroughs during the annual ING New York City Marathon.
You see, the police do have a point. One of the major problems with today’s marathon is sheer numbers and time. As road racing continues to expand with its bucket listers and charity fund raisers, the time it takes them to traverse 26.2 miles is such that the police are forced to remain in position long enough to just about take root.
Therefore, in order to bridge this gap in need and cost, I propose the following: Instead of timing everyone over the 26.2 mile distance, beginning in 2012, when the winner hits the tape in Central Park, everyone just stops where they are along the course. Places and awards are then tabulated based on the total distance travelled, not total time taken.
This way we all go home about a day and a half earlier, streets are cleared faster, and the cutoff time for city officials would be something less than the official time your loving mother spent in labor giving you birth. Next year everyone would have a distance goal – “Yeah, this year I made it into Queens” – not a time one.
That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.
There is no way Tony can be serious about that.
At least he identified the problem correctly; I’ll give him that much.
Well, duh. But I’ve heard enough suggestions like this from people who are dead serious that it makes my head spin.
And movies and music are annoying wastes of money. And so are public parks. And those silly little boxes sitting in the living room broadcasting picture and sound daily, gah, how stupid. And the internet, what a pain in the arse. Opinions like the one you shared about professional sports are naive at best. Just because you don’t enjoy the same things as someone else doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time or money. I value the entertainment aspect of my life much more than the roof and food that I have. What makes someone smile or passionate has no measurable value to society. Many of those same people who are watching sports would scoff at the notion of frequenting a message board just to troll and be an asshole.