The cost of race organisers inflexibility

Jul 29, 13 The cost of race organisers inflexibility

One of the biggest problems I have with some races is the extremely high entry fees, coupled with the lack of flexibility shown by race organisers if you’re unable to run for any reason.  Let’s face it, over the last five years I’ve missed the start line on more races that I’ve entered than I’ve reached the start on.  It’s always been down to sickness or injury.

Now in the majority of cases I’ve been able to liaise with the race organisers and let someone else take over my place.  This means that the same number of runners will be running, it’s purely an administrative function for them to change the name, and that the place hasn’t gone to waste.   I wouldn’t expect them to make an admin change for free, but the ones who’ve said yes have never charged me.

London Marathon was so touch and go for me that even the week of the event we weren’t sure I’d be able to take part, it wasn’t a problem though as I had up to the day before to defer my place in case of injury. Luckily I didn’t need it.

I have had some race organisers though refuse to allow a change of runner at all.  A rather large half marathon wouldn’t entertain the idea, yet my  local half marathon couldn’t have been more accommodating.  Interesting that the local half marathon was run by a running club, rather than as a money making venture? They understood runners and the reality of life as a runner.  Guess which one I won’t be entering again.

I’ve also noticed a huge discrepancy in entry fees.  I can enter one 10k for under a tenner, yet another costs me nearly £30.   Some half marathons or 10ks cost more to enter than a full blown marathon? I’ve never quite understood that one, and some of the more expensive races have big name sponsors.  I’m afraid the size of the entry fee doesn’t actually correlate to the race experience for the runner.

If you’re looking to take part in your first race do read the rules and regulations carefully, I’d hate for your first attempt at a formal race to be ruined by bureaucracy,  not all race organisers are inflexible.

What it has meant for me is that there are certain races I will no longer consider, I’m more picky about where I race and who with, because the race experience starts at the point you sign up, and continues right the way through to you crossing the finish line.

What has been your experience of entering races?

1 Comment

  1. Paula Patterson /

    My gripe too. And can someone explain how the BUPA London 10000 costs £25 last year whilst the British 10k would have set me back £50? They use virtually the same central London course and have similar numbers of runners but they are chalk & cheese in organisation. The BUPA race is a fine example of how to please everyone but the other is a race I wouldn’t run in for free!

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