Monday, January 19, 2009

New River Trail 50k Race Director Dilemma (How much will the entry fee be?)


Photo taken 9/08 looking north towards Fries Junction on the NRT 50k course.

I have been working on the ’09 version of The New River Trail 50k on and off for the past couple of months. My goal is to open online registration by February 1, 2009.

Registration can’t open yet as I am still waiting on details from event sponsors and I need to sort out my priorities. My 1st priority as an RD is to deliver a quality and safe race that is environmentally responsible. The 2nd is to give a generous amount of proceeds to The National Committee for the New River.

For it’s inaugural year in 2008, I was pleased at how things went. My biggest disappointment is that as hard as we tried we didn’t get the distance quite right, From differing gps units and other measuring devices out there I think the ’08 version was somewhere between 1/10th and 4/10th a mile too long. I want to have the course USATF certified as a 50k. I think it is an excellent course to record PRs and perhaps even American records-age group records at the very least…and one day would like the venue to be a Regional or National Championship Event.

Yet, already due to increased expenses with our post-race lunch, and cost of finishers shirts and pottery mugs the price will climb by $7.00 a person-from $50.00 in ’08 to 57.00 in ’09-not unreasonable considering last year we didn’t quite know how much everything would cost or come together.

Today I received the cost to certify the course. $1750.00. That would include timing (possibly chip timing depending...)

The certification would be good for 10 years.

This is what I am in a dilemma about. Our race cap this year is 225. I think we can well handle and attract that number, especially with a certified course-yet I am going to be very conservative and base my expenses on 150 entrants. That would mean base fee of 57.00 + more to cover the cost of certification. The difference is 11.66 per person. That means almost 70.00 per person-or over 2.00 per mile! And I am not willing to go there-sure Horton charges 65.00 for HL and Promise Land and Gill and Frannie 85.00 for BelMonte…and they fill up-but hey it’s Horton and Bad to the Bone-and I just don’t want to ask runners to pay that much!

Perhaps I can find a generous sponsor to make a $1000.00 donation to NCNR to cover part of the certification fee and then we’d just have to divide $750.00 between 150 folks = 5.00 per person more?

It’s a bunch of $$$ to lay out-yet the returns could be substantial. And these are tough economic times for all of us-I want to be in the position of providing opportunities for experiences-not making it harder to participate…
I expect I will still roll with a “swag opt out option” that would keep the registration to a bare minimum for folks who do not want stuff to take home…

Oh, what to do?

Please share your thoughts!

4 comments:

Jason said...

I hope to run the NRT 50k this year, wanted to run last year, but life got in the way.

Just moved to North Carolina's Piedmont region from Utah (big change) and I am looking for some good races and reasons to train. I've not done and ultra out year, but have a couple Squaw Peak 50s and Wasatch 100 under my belt.

Anyway, your dilemma is a tough one and, I assume, one that plagues many RDs. I think the swag-opt-out is a good option, or perhaps decrease the swag. I would support eliminating the shirt and stick with the pottery. Every race gives out shirts. Is there a possibility of spreading out the certification cost over a few seasons? If you cover the cost of the cert this year, does that mean the fee drops next year?

I think $70 is getting high for 50k and probably the sweet spot for 50 milers. I would pay $70, I think, but would love to see it more affordable.

Anyway, I look forward to the race as I heard and read great things about it.

Cool Down Runner said...

If you up for a little leg work :), buy your own jones counter. They are about 130 dollars. I easily installed my counter on my mt. bike. Then you can certify the course yourself. Your only other cost is the 30 dollars when you file the certification paperwork.

The whole process looks harder than it really is.

footfeathers said...

$1,750 is a bargain for cert. and timing the event. Certification for that course length would normally be $1,600 alone. You definitely don't need chip timing for that distance with that many runners. A clip board and stop watch is fine.

Measure the course yourself and you can call me when you're filling out the paperwork (it can be a little more difficult than you think and will save you from the unwanted call from the state certifier telling you it's wrong).

email me your address and I'll send you a Jones counter.

Talk soon,
Tim
tim@footfeathers.com

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