Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Your Call: Ridiculous Running Tech, or MOST Ridiculous Running Tech?

First, I can't not share the little bit of happy news I got in email today. As you may recall, my body decided that a week after I whipped out my credit card and clicked "Register" for CIM was a GREAT time to completely implode.

On the one hand, that $100 or whatever it was was gone anyway, whether I ran the race or not, so it's not like it was going to break the bank. On the other hand, it was maybe particularly painful considering that I just DNS'd a similarly priced marathon in August, and if it hadn't been for that, I probably wouldn't have signed up for CIM to begin with. On the other other hand, anybody who's been running road races for any amount of time just knows that 99% of the time, that's the risk you take when you sign up for a race. It happens to most of us sooner or later and what can you do but hope your hard-earned dollars will at least help put on a good event for someone else, so recently that's the attitude I've been trying to take while weeping quietly on the elliptical.

Then this morning I opened my email & saw this:

Which took me to this:

My first thought was, "What has happened to this poor man, and why is no one helping him? Or is he just that torn up at not being able to run CIM?"

My second thought, though, was, "OMG there's a chance the entire universe doesn't completely hate me!"

I believe this is the first year CIM has offered a deferral, and I only know of a handful of other mid-to-high-profile marathons that do (NVM, for example). Now, granted, you only recoup about half the cost, but in my opinion that's how it should be. Most races exist on such tiny margins that if deferral is free and too many runners do it, they could find themselves in financial trouble the next year. Also, people who can afford it already sign up for races "just in case" all the time, potentially taking a spot away from someone else who would have been committed to running, so making it free would let people "squat" like this on spots in desirable races with no consequences at all.

What I don't know is if CIM is planning to put those deferral spots back on the legit market, or just carry on business as usual, knowing some number of fewer spots will be available in 2016 due to 2015 deferrals. You could argue that one downside to a deferral policy, even one that charges a fee, is that it makes squatting on spots/registering "on spec" more attractive in that, if you use the deferral, you're only out the extra fee and not the full cost of the entry. However, if the race puts those deferral spots back out there (at full price or even a higher "super-late" entry price), they're doing something that might ultimately make people less likely to squat in the long term (particularly people who aren't concerned with the price).

The other option, I think, is making bibs transferable for a fee. I know some races do this, but then again I can also see it potentially jacking up prices since most races do all their budgeting & pricing knowing that a certain percent of runners won't actually show up.

I hope that if we see more races offering deferrals, people won't abuse it. I am categorically opposed to people with money to burn saying, "Eh, what the heck, I'll just save my spot for this race eight months from now just in case I decide I want to run it," but in a situation where you really do want to run a race but are a little on the fence about registering because there is some small chance you won't be able to (and you won't know for sure before it's likely to sell out), knowing you can defer and not be out the entire cost of the race makes it a little more palatable financially.

ANYWAY, I promised you some ridiculousness. Check it out:

(Be sure to click through for the OMG ridiculous video)

That's right; Lumo totally wants to get in your pants.


  1. Wow, super neat of them to allow a deferral, and unexpected in a race that large. I wish more races offered options like that. Most of my local races have offered me a deferral in trade for volunteering at the event instead of running, which is a nice trade.

  2. That's great news about the deferral option! Marine Corps Marathon has deferral and transfer options, which I used this year. They are clearly doing ok financially, because the entry fee was $125 to close a ton of major roads in the nation's capitol for 30,000 runners. I have really hoped other races would catch on -- sure, there will be a few assholes who try to "squat" on a registration spot, but they'll be in the minority. Most people, like you, would run the race if they could at all.

    As for that ridiculousness, my first thought was: "Those aren't shorts. "

  3. Agree, deferral at a percentage of your reg fee or transfer for a cost makes sense. Ironman started letting you transfer to any other OPEN race for a fee -- which just makes sense for them, since an open race hasn't sold out yet.

  4. That's great that you can defer. Pretty good timing on your behalf with it being their first year at allowing deferrals.

    That video!! Yes, your shorts waistband can now replace the trained eyes of a professional or the multiple points of analysis of a proper lab test. Seriously? Not exactly feeling inspired to invest in that form of tech.


    I had to DNF once for a sprained ankle and once for pregnant and neither offered deferral. It seems like a nice way of letting you get a least a little money back while, like you said, not rewarding entry hoarders.