The reason I enter running events is multifaceted.
Some events I enter for training purposes only. It’s a way to get in longer, race-like preparation without the need to focus so much on performance and having the support of aid stations / water supply points along the way. It also provides the opportunity to better appreciate the views on offer in the case of a trail race.
Other events I enter with the intent of enjoying the run experience without the pressure of meeting specific training / performance targets.
And finally there are those events I enter with the intent of competing and performing at my best. I work hard to achieve at the highest level taking into account my capability and the preparation effort I have invested in the lead-up.
I primarily compete in run events for the following reasons:
- For the enjoyment of running itself.
- To engage with a community of like-minded people.
- To test the limits of my capabilities.
- To test my preparation and tactics against others in a sense of friendly competition / rivalry.
However, as with all race participants I do need to justify the expense of race entry fees, which is in addition to the costs of shoes, clothes, running-related gear, travel and time off work to name a few.
Now Race Directors will rightly say that race entry fees are there to cover not only the organisation / logistics of the event itself but also the items that runners receive as part of the pre and post-race process. These include but are not limited to event / finisher shirts, pre / post-race meals, finisher medals / buckles / trophies, etc.
Personally, let the truth be told, many of the collateral I receive from the events I enter go straight into a drawer, never to see the light of day again …. and at some later time many event / finisher shirts are given away without being worn or used even once. I also rarely partake in meals provided at events as they are usually not to my taste or dietary preferences.
So the question is …. why don’t run race events offer two categories of race entry fees?:
- The usual entry fees (e.g. standard entry or late entry depending on when you enter) which includes all the pre-race giveaways (event T-shirts, sponsor freebies, meals and the like) and post-race giveaways (e.g. finisher shirts, trophies, buckles, meals, etc.)
- A NO FRILLS entry fee. This fee would remove the cost of pre-race / post-race giveaways such as those mentioned above and just include the costs required to run the event in a safe, well-organised fashion.
Removing the costs to provide these items would not impact on the Race Director’s ability to provide a safe, well-organised event and may (depending on the proportion of no frills participants) lead to less overheads on their part in order to manage this part of the process.
In my opinion this would be of benefit to the running community in the following ways:
- Encourage more entries from participants who may not be able to afford / cannot justify the usual entry fees but are willing / capable of entering with a no-frills event entry fee.
- Provide a greater opportunity to underprivileged runners to compete in running events without being prohibited due to the cost of entry.
- Less wastage due to unused / unwanted event collateral, such as shirts, trophies, medals, etc.
Personally, for about 80% of the races I enter, if there was a choice, I’d select the No Frills race entry category.
How about you?
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