Thursday, May 5, 2011
AN OPEN LETTER FROM A RUNNER
The last few years, entry fees for road races have escalated by 2 folds. Gone are the days when one can run a road race for RM10 with a cotton t-shirt. Yes, the t-shirt’s quality may have improved to micro fiber material but does that really justify the high entry fee? What about the quality of the event? The safety precaution and the very essence of sportsmanship – ethical and fair competition.
Below is an open letter from a runner to the organizer of Shape Run 2011. Shape Run started off with a registration fee of RM20 few years ago and this year the fee has been hike up to RM50! So, what does a runner really want? Is that goodie bags really worth RM300? How many of you really redeem the voucher at the fitness centre? Those little bottle of shampoo, conditioner and some other supplement foods/products expiring in matters of few weeks or a month . . . . aren’t runners being used as ‘dumping ground’ by these marketing agent in the name of sponsorship?
Read what one of the runners wrote to a road race organizer voicing out his sentiment.
Dear Merina/Michelle,My name is Calvin Chan and I'm a regular participant in local and international road races. The reason I'm addressing this email to you is because I do not know the name of the person in your organization who is in charge of the Shape Run.
As an avid runner, I really do appreciate the initiative shown by your organization in promoting running locally. However, there has been growing dissatisfaction within the running community regarding the Shape Run.
To make it simple, please allow me to put my comments in point form.
1. The entry fee of RM50 this year is 25% higher than the RM40 charged this year. The increase is exorbitant.
2. No doubt that your organisation is using the Shape Run to promote your brands and that, I believe all runners can accept. However, runners are starting to feel that we are paying too much to help promote your brands and are getting too little in return.
3. You keep promoting that runners will be getting goodies worth more than RM300 in the goody bag. In actual fact, most runners feel that the goodies are not worth that much. You may include the market value of those items (including True Fitness trial vouchers etc) to arrive at RM300, but to us the items are not even worth RM100 as we won't spend our hard earned money on most of the things you are giving away anyway.
4. To organise a run, you should first understand what runners want. Actually we runners are not difficult to please. We just want a well organised run, sufficient water stations and a finisher medal. Every runner would like to go home at the end of the run with a momento in the form of a finisher medal to preserve their memory of the run. You have to understand that 12.3km is not a fun distance. Runners do have to put in a lot of effort to complete the run, even those who need to walk to complete.
5. Since Twenty First Century Sports is your co-organiser, why not seek their view on finisher medals? Almost all races organised by them provide runners with finisher medals.
6. It is true that the total number of medals for this year's Shape Run have increased to 450 from last year's 375. But almost all races charging RM30 and above and for distances of 10km and above are providing runners with finisher medals.
7. I have attached herewith a summary of races for the past 2 years for your reference. You are welcomed to cross check the accuracy of my list with anyone who is a regular participant in road races. You will find that in terms of fees charged, the Shape Run gives runners the worst deal. Please remember, we don't want the shampoo, the energy bar nor do we want any of the vouchers.
8. I am guessing that you have in the past consulted FTAAA on medal allocation. Why? Because FTAAA are the most stingy when it comes to medals. But then again, FTAAA normally charges registration fees of RM20 and below. That's why runners tend to understand why there are fewer medals given.
Thank you for spending your valuable time in reading my mail. I would really appreciate if your organisation can seriously consider the points I've mentioned above.
It will be to everyone's benefit if the Shape Run continues to be held annually and all participants of the run can go home happy.
Lets take a look at some of the road races that Calvin mentioned to back up his claim on some the the events that are reasonably priced. I will just take a summary of the long list.
Event /Entry Fee /Race Kit
CICM Responsible Care Run (10km) : RM25/RM30 - T-shirt, Medal, Cert
Bareno Run(5km/10km/15km) : RM15/RM35 - T-shirt & Medal
Setia Eco Half Marathon (5km/10km/21km): RM30 - T-shirt, Medal, Cert
Saucony Pacemakers Network Run (12km) : RM30 - T-shirt. Medal
BHP Orange Run : F.O.C. (11km) - Top Prizes Only
NB Klang Pacers Run4it (12km): RM30 - T-shirt, Medal
Centro Klang (10km) : RM30 - T-shirt, Medal