Vote With Your Pocket Book
New race after new race are popping up across the board. Why, because the number of participants are increasing. Supply and demand cause the supply to increase. Not a bad thing at all if you’re in a position to benefit from it. No harm or foul in that. But as this “supply” of races increases we shouldn’t lower our standards. The race fees are going up due to expenses. Our expectations ought to as well. A new race has no history. (Although the race director may have.)
Not that long ago races (running) were under $20 dollars. If the race had a malfunction no harm, well not much of one. Accidents happen and most are for charity so we can over look them. Now we have groups and individuals putting on races, on the backs of volunteers (some are paid). Often time there is a charity receiving something of the entry fee but that could be very little, or a lot. None the less we should get what we pay for and expect a satisfactory experience.
There are still the “no frills, help stop leprosy” 5k’s out there in the $25 dollar range, entirely put on by volunteers and all the profits go to the “cause.” Those races you have to give more room for error. Mostly they are volunteers that haven’t done this before. Some not even participated in an event such as this. They didn’t know to save the shirt sizes first to those who pre register. They might run out of safety pins for numbers or forget pins to fill out registrations. That kind of thing is more usual than not because we allow it to happen over and over again. Not a crime but the same mistake shouldn’t be repeated.
Other races are not so “grass roots” and deserve held to a higher standard. If nothing else let the race director know what falls short of your expectations. No need really to let a volunteer know. Normally the “helper” is just doing what they are told. The Race Director can’t fix it if they don’t know. Some miss steps are in excusable and down right dangerous. Running out of water, poor traffic-control, dangerous surface area or objects near runners is another no-no. A race customer really should think twice about returning to one of these types of races. That’s how you can “vote” by not returning. Most all of the local runs are acceptable for the most part but occasionally a major snafu should at the very least cause the participants to question re-upping next year.
The good races should be acknowledged as well. A race director and volunteers need to be told as well when they are doing it RIGHT. A “thank you” goes along way in rewarding them for their efforts. Coming back and telling friends that a run/race was good is a great way to pay it forward. Eventually the poorly conducted races will dwindle in numbers and cease while the much participated ones thrive. Survival of the fittest wean out the puny. Think about the events you participated in over the years and the ones that really pleased. Drop some of those races a note expressing appreciation.
Be selective about your races, they aren’t so inexpensive anymore. When you find one done the way you expect, sing their praises. Competition makes all of us better — even races.