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PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,866
9/29/13 10:53 P

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Totally agree, Silvadel, about preferring locally-organized races. I did a non-profit HM today that was only $10 but first-class all the way. Amazing what you can do when profit or building the biggest race is not the priority.
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nal_individual.asp?blog_id=5499745



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SILVADEL's Photo SILVADEL SparkPoints: (2,302)
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9/29/13 8:43 P

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In New England, we are hearing a lot of strong rumors that this is the last year of RNR Providence. The race has drawn less and less people each year, and even with the addition of the "minimarathon" (3 miles), they did not hit anywhere near their goals.

If I were to sign up at the race expo, I would have had to pay $150.00. I can pay that for three-four races up here in New England. I can name 15 great halfs within 3 hours of my house where I can get a medal, tech/t-shirt, and great post-race food, for $45 or under.

While some destinations are really nice, I am going to avoid RNR races in the future. I would rather support local races where the money helps a local company and local non profits. None of the proceeds for RNR races goes to charity, including the ones that feature a specific charity- only the money people fundraise for those events goes to the charities.

PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,866
9/22/13 9:55 P

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VIP portapotties? That's one I haven't heard before! Here are some extra cost options that I've seen recently.

$ for satellite packet pickup

$ for race-day packet pickup

$ to mail packet to your house

$ for bag check

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DRPOOH63's Photo DRPOOH63 Posts: 3,567
9/22/13 9:00 P

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Interesting postings. I am doing my first HM and my first RnR in Oct. Was not my first choice (really would rather be doing a Disney or Wine) but a friend really wanted to do it so I am backing her on this. Am sure I will have a nice time but I can say I am fascinated with the emails that I have started getting about upgrading my race - really VIP porta potties?!?!!?

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MWWENSIN's Photo MWWENSIN SparkPoints: (12,258)
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9/15/13 10:05 P

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I think where people are ticked off is that people have lost their registration fees which aren't cheap and perhaps part of a planned vacation. This would make me think twice about signing up for an RNR race. An organization the size of RNR could have easily done this race and then cancelled any future ones. The best or most well known races are run by locals such as the Boston Marathon and the New York Marathon.

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TIMOTHYNOHE's Photo TIMOTHYNOHE Posts: 4,317
9/14/13 1:27 A

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That is an interesting thing to know.

Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible -- St Francis of Assisi

Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon, Dublin, Ireland, 8/5/2013
ie.competitor.com/dublin/


PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,866
9/13/13 1:06 P

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ALICE, You raise good points about the difference between RnR and Disney.

But you got me wondering about size. So I looked up HMs by finishers. Of the top 10, RnR has 6 races including #1 (RnR Las Vegas).

Disney is merely #4.

I never even heard of #2 (OneAmerica 500, Indianapolis).

www.runningusa.org/index.cfm?fuseact
io
n=reports.statistics


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TWISTEDALICE's Photo TWISTEDALICE SparkPoints: (954)
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9/11/13 7:38 A

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I see where the main expense for these comes from besides the goodies presented. I've done 2 Disney ones and I can guarantee they aren't losing any money on those. Of course they also have a cap on how many participants they allow and most people turn it into a vacation which includes lodging and park passes. Plus, the disney employees and park staff are on hand as race staff. Think I'll just stick to saving for my Disney races and skip the RnR unless its super near by.

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TIMOTHYNOHE's Photo TIMOTHYNOHE Posts: 4,317
9/11/13 1:22 A

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The Rock 'n' Roll pass seemed like a bargain and my wife was going to give it to me for Christmas. A closer look revealed it to be not a great bargain after all. As for 5 RnRs last year" (1) Arizona my wife was in Phoenix for business that weekend. I went along. (2) DC is mostly home, so I ran it. (3) Chicago was on purpose. (4) Philly was close to home. (5) San Antonio was close to my daughter's home, a week before Route 66 and two weeks before Thanksgiving which the family spent at our daughter's home. Each one crossed a state off my list.

This year, Dublin also our 40th anniversary trip and cheap, and Los Angeles is about 5 blocks from my son's apartment and after I had to cancel Hollywood Half (death in the family) it's a way to visit Mike and cross California off my list.

I also did Savannah RnR marathon when our daughter lived there. So except for Chicago and maybe Philly, each one of these was a "hometown" race. I don't see anymore of them on my horizon for 2014. It could happen if the timing is right, but I won't seek them out specifically.

I don't think they are especially awful. They really seem quite ordinary. The finish line bands are not that special and since I am busy running, the bands along the course I ignore. I enjoy the expos but I actually like trade shows like that.



Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible -- St Francis of Assisi

Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon, Dublin, Ireland, 8/5/2013
ie.competitor.com/dublin/


PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,866
9/10/13 6:16 P

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ALICE, In reality, "goodies" don't cost all that much and don't represent the painful parts of the budget. Here are ballpark costs for typical goodies in quantity:

$7 tech shirt
$6 food and water
$2 medal

Everything else is "non-goodies" such as police, timing, permits, portapots, insurance, salaries, etc. and, in my experience, are the more expensive parts of the race.

But many of these costs can be reduced significantly. Food and water can be donated. No "free" shirts (make them optional). Timing systems can be purchased outright so they can be amortized rather than rented. Cap the size - for example, if you don't have huge numbers of people, then all of a sudden you don't need offsite parking, shuttle buses, multiple PA systems, etc.

Do all of these and pretty soon you can get down to $10 HM races! For example:

https://sites.google.com/site/wrrclub/re
sults/bvhm


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TWISTEDALICE's Photo TWISTEDALICE SparkPoints: (954)
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9/10/13 5:41 P

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Running a HM has become a big deal for a lot of people who've never run before...its almost like its a trend or a fad right now. The Bling is a big deal for those who are new to racing and I feel like marketing for the big races is targeting this trend. I've just now (being one of those "trendy" runners a couple years ago) started looking at smaller locally driven races just so I can have the experience and not necessarily the medal. Its partially because I feel like running and mostly because I cannot afford the costs of those larger races like RnR. I think the overhead on some of these races must be brutal because of the number of goodies they hand out.

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PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,866
9/10/13 2:05 A

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TIMOTHY, I always enjoy your race reports. (Loved your description of the experience at Isle of Coll HM!) And you clearly have plenty of experience with a wide range of HMs. Yet I recall you said you did 5 RnR's last year and you were even going to consider the RnR Tour Pass again for 2013. So I'm left wondering how you justify it while at the same time being so critical of RnR.

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TYKXBOY's Photo TYKXBOY SparkPoints: (41,821)
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9/10/13 1:16 A

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RNR is, as was said before, run for profit, so they may be making money off all their races, but not enough. Or maybe, based off their business model, they are making money, but not making a profit. It also seems, based off the original comments, that RNR expects the cities they run races in to provide them with monetary or other support - like how the NFL expects cities to build stadiums for their football teams. Even though the teams and their owners make enough money to build their own stadiums, they refuse to do so knowing that if one city won't do it, they can always find another that will. RNR seems to possibly operate on a similar model - they expect cities to give them stuff with the idea that in return RNR will bring in lots of out-of-town visitors who will bring their wallets with them and spend money on food and lodging and souvenirs, and sales tax, etc, etc. - and if RNR doesn't get what they want, they take their ball and go home. To some that sounds like greed. To others it's a viable business model that makes money.

"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man." ~ Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)


TIMOTHYNOHE's Photo TIMOTHYNOHE Posts: 4,317
9/10/13 12:42 A

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I second that it doesn't have to be expensive to be good.

Even Rock 'n' Roll Dublin was €36 for early registration and only €55 at the expo. The exchange rate at early sign up made that $42. At the Expo that €55 was about $75. Consider that Expo sign up for RnR is usually about $150. And it was typical for a Rock 'n' Roll. Not horrible, but not great either. No-name wannbe band at the finish.

Then there was the Isle of Coll half in Scotland. 200 people live on the Island and they put on this race for about 300 people. They do not hire the event out to some company. They do ti themsleves. For £25 (About $37.50) you got a well organized race, wonderful scenery, a challenging to tough course, really nice folks, and for and additional £10 a ceilidh the evening of the race. Oh. And a shirt and a medal. It was fun. I loved it.

Then there was the Rockapulco Labor Day Half in Rockaway Beach NY. Flat. Boring. No bling. Cotton shirt. Nothing to write home about, but the folks were fun. $25. Not bad for NYC.

File this under what Tim did for summer vacation.

Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible -- St Francis of Assisi

Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon, Dublin, Ireland, 8/5/2013
ie.competitor.com/dublin/


PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,866
9/9/13 8:11 P

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TKX, RNR doesn't have a monopoly on expensive races, music races, gimmicky races, bling races, or any other kind. (I'll avoid calling them Cadillac races as you do since different people may interpret that differently.) But I'll assume you simply meant "big expensive races". (Not sure if you also wanted to imply quality.)

For instance, in the DC-MD-VA area, there are 7 HMs priced equal to or above RNR's HM. (The most expensive is Nike's HM. $160. It was brand new this year and sold out.)

And it's not just a DC-MD-VA thing. I know people who travel hours to get to a "desirable" race and the cost is just not as big of an issue in context of all the other expenses. (Meals, hotels, etc.) People justify it as a "destination race."

I know very few organizations that are dropping big races. The only one that immediately comes to mind was when Hot Chocolate cut their DC race - that was due to incompetent planning. From what I've heard of RNR's cancellations, it sounds like the common thread. Not just simple market forces (despite what the company claims).

Yes, RNR may not make as much money in some cities but I suspect RNR is looking at overall net profit, not individual race profit. And for the foreseeable future, the market is hungry for more of their races.

PS: You should read about the club HM I did last weekend. 3000 runners and live music on course. (Is 3000 not enough?)

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public
_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5479635

The worst experience I had this year was this $85 HM:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public
_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5384889

In 3 weeks, I'll be in a $10 HM that I've done before and is higher quality than the $85 race I just mentioned. Check out my race report from last year:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public
_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5077934


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TYKXBOY's Photo TYKXBOY SparkPoints: (41,821)
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9/9/13 6:51 P

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I like to run an occasional "big race", like an RNR, but I feel they are way overpriced. Obviously not everyone agrees. And I'll be running Las Vegas again this year, but it's been 3 years since my last one.

But, it seems like simple market economics. It's not necessarily that they have too many races. You ran hold a LOT of races and get plenty of people out to run. And they aren't mutually exclusive. People obviously will run more than one race in their area. However, RNR races require a lot of people to pay large fees to run. I can run at least 3 more local races - more if I go for the cheapest ones - for the price of one RNR.

It's like an MLB team coming to town. A town can have hundreds of little league and amateur and semi-pro pro teams playing in the same area with no problem. But, the resources are immense for supporting a single MLB team and not every area is well situated to run one. Even large cities like Miami have a problem supporting a single MLB team. Why? it's debatable. But, RNR is similar in scope. One local race promoter puts on nearly 12 races a year, but only needs about 500-1,000 to hold a successful race. The local track club has 2 races a month, but they don't mind if only 50 or 100 sign up. RNR wants 20,000 or more. Las Vegas RNR gets 40,000 - 60,000. That's what RNR sees as successful.

As RNR continues to try to expand into more and more areas, they are going to be successful in some, but some areas may just not have the resources and support to allow RNR to be successful. Now, whether that is because of RNR greed, or being overpriced, or just simple market economics for the area, I can't speak to. But, it is true that when you try to put on the Cadillac of events, you are going to out-price certain segments of the population which reduces your customer base. And if I just want to go out to eat, I can eat at McDonald's a few times each week, but if I take the same amount of money and try to go to the fancy joint down the street, I may only be able to afford to go there once every couple months, that is if I even feel like blowing that much money on one meal.

If RNR cancels a few smaller races, that doesn't say much other than that they maybe overextended themselves into a few places that don't have the resources to support RNR and were unprofitable for the style of race RNR wants to put on. However, if they start cancelling some of their bigger and more popular races, then you'll know that RNR has bigger organizational issues to address.

Edited by: TYKXBOY at: 9/9/2013 (19:00)
"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man." ~ Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)


KKINNEA's Photo KKINNEA Posts: 2,156
9/6/13 5:08 P

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Interesting, big race organizations are hard to predict, aren't they?

The 13.1 organization had a single year here in the Twin Cities then disappeared. Same for the Lady Speed Stick.

Here I always think it's because of the long-established races and organizations that buffer out anything too new - Team Ortho runs the party bus races around here and they truly have a corner on the market.

Losing some RnR races makes it a small amount tougher for those of us working through 50 states in half and/or full but also allows the opportunity to find the community gems.

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HEALTHYCHIC's Photo HEALTHYCHIC Posts: 6,695
9/6/13 3:48 P

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Loved that I came over there today, first in a long time! Wow. RnR! I ran Providence last year, and I try to not give my real opinion, just to keep things positive-but..I didn't really like it. It wasn't as fun in terms of music and energy that I was hoping. I run ING Hartford Half every year and it was/is WAY more fun and exciting. Race organization and post race food is all so great. I thought RnR would be much better because it gets a lot of publicity. I was disappointed in the bling compared to the huge Hartford one.

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PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,866
9/6/13 11:27 A

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I don't agree that bling is a problem (as TIMOTHY suggests). Even though I personally don't like that my registration fee has to cover bling that I don't want, I figure that marketing studies must show that most people demand it, otherwise the big races wouldn't force it on everyone.

I'm not sure I agree about saturation either. I don't know about marathons but there are 35 HMs within an hour's drive of DC and all the commercial HMs hit their capacity or come very close. And perversely, the more expensive, the faster it fills!

Example: the two most expensive HMs in our area are the Nike's Women's HM and the Virginia Wine Country HM ($138 and $166, respectively) and both close out months ahead of time and have an extra cost lottery as well. I have to wonder if the parking issue at the St Pete HM was just a misjudgment on the part of the organizers. Had they simply bundled the price into a higher registration fee, might participants have just seen the increased registration as that much more of a sign of a great experience?

There are plenty of blingless shirtless HMs in our area that are under $50 (3 local HMs charge $20 or less!) that have no capacity limits because they'd never reach them anyway, many getting just a few hundred people.

What's going on? Why are people so irrational? Or are they? And how can we fault race organizers for taking advantage of people's behavior?

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SEABREEZE64's Photo SEABREEZE64 Posts: 10,571
9/6/13 10:57 A

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I've participated in the St Petersburg RnR the last 2 years and had decided not to participate again. Too much money. Charge extra for parking and extra for transportation from the finish line back to the start line to get your car.

I thought there were A LOT of people there though, but who am I to judge.

There are many, many other races to enjoy!!!!

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JUSTCHELLE75's Photo JUSTCHELLE75 Posts: 9,169
9/6/13 8:34 A

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Very interesting points. People used to run because it was a way to test themselves and it wasn't an expensive sport. However, as popularity has grown so has the expense.

I don't blame them for wanting to make money.. but I also know some of the prices limit you to how many you can do.



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ON2VICTORY's Photo ON2VICTORY SparkPoints: (47,159)
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9/6/13 1:12 A

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Market saturation is a good point. Thanks for bringing that up.

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TIMOTHYNOHE's Photo TIMOTHYNOHE Posts: 4,317
9/6/13 12:46 A

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Well, it is a for profit event. They have a certain break even point and if they aren't hitting it, they will shut it down. I expect that they will also take a hit with added security measures in coming months and year.

I alos think that some market approach saturation and people just aren't going to run them all. Heck, LA had two RnRs ... I know technically Pasadena is not LA, but no, yeah, Pasadena is LA.

I don't see it as greed. I see it as they are approaching their market saturation. Where it gets to be too much is their excessive emphasis on the Bling. Get a medal for your race. With two you get the Double Play blink. Three --- a Triple Crown. Four --- Grand Slam, etc.

A couple of years ago, there was a bad year year for marathon deaths and RnR had something like six of seven weeks in a row where at least one runner died. Bad luck? or pushing people who should not be running Marathons?

Maybe it is time for RnR to pare back a little. I know they have offered to buy both Baltimore Running Festival (for profit event) and the Maryland Half Marathon (benefit event).



Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible -- St Francis of Assisi

Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon, Dublin, Ireland, 8/5/2013
ie.competitor.com/dublin/


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9/5/13 8:23 P

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PASTAFARIAN- thank you for the updates on this... I have been hearing alot of negative things lately about RnR and it really strikes me as alot of gross mis-management, greed, and misplaced priorities. It's too bad that something that could be alot of fun has to turn into something like this.

Thanks for the updates...

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LYNNANN43's Photo LYNNANN43 SparkPoints: (138,711)
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9/5/13 6:59 P

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They cancelled the Pittsburgh RnR HM this year. Transferred to Cleveland. Wondering if they'll cancel it, too.

~~~ Lynn ~~~ Pittsburgh, PA


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STITCHERFRIEND's Photo STITCHERFRIEND Posts: 1,023
9/5/13 6:08 P

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My first hm was the RnR in Va Bch last year. It was terrible. First it's Labor Day weekend so prices at the beach are high. Second the weather is so hot and that didn't help at all. It was so crowded that I felt I couldn't hardly run. There was not problem with the temptation to run too fast at the beginning of the race because things didn't thin out for at least 1 mile if not more.

Though I live in the DC area I have no desire to do the RnR DC race. I've done 3 halfs and the one I liked the most was a local one done by the Marine Corp. Not a small one but perhaps because it was shortly after the Boston Marathon it was very special.




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PASTAFARIAN's Photo PASTAFARIAN Posts: 1,866
9/5/13 5:08 P

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I've been reading about this week's cancellation of RnR's St Petersburg HM for 2014. Given the winter schedule, some people arranged Florida vacation trips around the race and are, not surprisingly, unhappy. (Registration fees will be refunded.)

What I do find surprising is that they'd cancel it due to "low turnout" and blaming it on too many other races. This year, about 4500 runners finished. Maybe that's too low for R'n'R's overhead? That's all I can think because otherwise, 4500 sounds like a nice figure for a race - at least from a runner's perspective.

But the city was underwriting the race (with $130K) and was unhappy that the race wasn't bringing in more visitors so the race organizer's costs were going to increase.

At the same time, the city was getting complaints because some other races in the city weren't getting any support and they were charity races unlike RnR which is commercial.

It's also reported that the biggest reason the attendance went down in its 2nd year was that $15 parking fees had turned off so many runners.

A lot of fascinating stuff here that ordinarily is never exposed to the public!

RnR says it may cancel more of its "underperforming" races (and has eliminated all sponsorship of elite athletes, a $475K savings). From the posts to their facebook page(s), sounds like many people may be reluctant to register for their races in the future - although I imagine their biggest most successful races will be unaffected.

Has the growth in races (or registration fees) finally exceeded the growth in people willing to pay for them?


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