Commitment to raise £200
Have just been reading entry requirements for next year's Brathay Windermere Marathon (a fave race of mine and my marathon PB course) and am feeling a bit disheartened about the new entry commitment for racers to raise a minimum of £200 in support of the charity. I do too many races to keep asking people to sponsor me and I certainly wouldn't pay £200 to enter a race, so I guess it's one race I won't be doing next year. Am I being tight? What do others feel?
I guess the Brathay charity must be confident of getting enough people to enter on this new basis, and I appreciate that it's cheap compared to VLM "golden bond" charity places, but I still feel that it's going to make it a "no-goer" for a lot of people in these financially-difficult times. Or am I missing something?
This has been mentioned in previous years but I think the organisers were always requesting that runners raise money rather than making it a requirement. I haven't read anything about next years event, but what you're suggesting seems a logical next step. I do have a lot of sympathy for the organisers, as they are a charitable organisation themselves and are probably as desperate for funds as most charities are at this time, so maximising their income in this way seems like a good idea.
That said, I'm afraid that I'm with you. I've done this race twice and would be more happy to support it again, but not to the tune of £200. I've raised sponsorship previously for the local hospice (more than £200), and may ask for sponsorship in the future, but it will be for a charity of my choosing. Good luck to Brathay and I hope that next year's event is a success, but it will be interesting to see if the entries are as high as in recent years. Or maybe we're both missing something.
stilldreaming - you're not alone in your views and I have some sympathy for them. I know of a number of 'serial marathon runners' who have reached the same conclusion. I also agree with those who are concerned that the likely significant reduction in numbers entering will have an adverse impact on the race atmosphere.
That said, I also fully accept Brathay's viewpoint - this is the only UK marathon organised exclusively by a charity (as it has been since its reintroduction to the calendar in 2007). To them it has always been, and must always remain, a means to the end of fundraising rather than the end in itself that it has become for many runners. I have, recently, spoken to a couple of people with 'inside knowledge' who have told me that the relatively small proportion of runners raising funds for the Brathay Trust in the past couple of years have brought the event to a point whereby its viability is threatened - without a change in direction with regard to fundraising, the trustees will have no option but to conclude that the return on the investment they make in terms of time and preparatory costs is too small to justify continuation of the event. They are also understandably frustrated that a significant number of runners have chosen to use the event as a vehicle for fundraising on behalf of other charities. The hope is that a smaller number of runners each contributing a larger net sum to the race income will result in an increased overall turnover.
The decision as to whether to run or not, of course, rests with every individual runner. It is a shame that many who have enjoyed the race in the past feel the increased emphasis on fundraising is an imposition too far - a view which I respect and have no right to challenge - but I sincerely hope that many more will step up to the challenge and do what they can to keep this exceptional race on the calendar. Again, as I was reminded recently - there are actually many more 'marathon virgins' (who half expect to be sponsored for their first marathon) out there than there are serial marathon runners.
For myself, I shall be there - it is a great race and it is on my doorstep. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to manage the fundraising - I, like many, cannot justify asking for sponsorship - but, if push comes to shove, I am prepared to put my hand into my own pocket and hand over the cash saved by not going to Edinburgh (or any other spring marathon for which I would have to travel and incur accomodation costs) instead. In making their individual decsions, I would like to encourage everybody to look at the total cost of their options not just the race fee in isolation.
Hmmm, a lot of genuine views and concerns here. I too looked at this race/event with an interest to taking part,but was put off by having to raise £200+ sponsoship as a pre-req. All the packages Brathay Trust were offering were also a good option,i.e,pasta partys,overnight stays.
Only a certain percentage will be able to afford the packages or cope with raising the sponsorship,so I think its a case of `foot` and `shot` for Brathay.
If this was the only way forward for them,then as far as the race itself and I sincerely mean,the race only,is concerned,then maybe some club or sports event organisation could take over this race,maybe 2:09 events who organise the Salomon series of events,could use this as part of their marathon series.
Just a thought
CumbriAndy - thanks for your comments and I'm in agreement with you really. I think the Brathay Trust is a brilliant charity and I take on board your comments about the overall cost of doing another event (I have rellies in Cumbria, so no accommodation costs for me on this one!), so will give this some serious thought for next year. It's very easy to miss some of the key issues and I'm grateful that you have given us some of the background in Brathay making this decision. In a way, it's a shame that they haven't put this info on their website, so that people could be more informed about the changes.
Food for thought ...........
Firstly, I really appreciate all the open debate about the event, and the great support and goodwill shown by those on the Runners World forum over the years.
Before I respond to the subjects raised I’d like to thank everyone from the forum who’ve supported us since the event started in 2007 – whether by promoting our event and charitable cause; raising valuable funds to support our work with vulnerable children and young people; or simply participating in the event. We really do appreciate everything that is done to help us achieve our charitable mission. Particular thanks to those runners who have represented our case on the forum, and supported what is a particularly difficult challenge for the charity.
As a runner myself it’s great to see the hundreds set off from Brathay each May knowing that they‘ll enjoy what we believe to be one of the most inspiring marathon courses in the UK. Everyone at Brathay gets caught up in “marathon fever” and we all enjoy reading the comments from runners who take part. However, from a professional point of view the event’s objective is to support Brathay Trust’s mission. That is: 1). raise funds to allow us to change the lives of even more underprivileged young people; 2). promote Brathay’s cause across the country.
It has been a huge challenge to continue staging an event of this scale alongside other fundraising projects and the delivery of our services. However, we made a commitment after the 2007 marathon to continue investing in its development, believing that it has an important contribution to make to funding our future work. The biggest challenge to the marathon’s future is in encouraging runners to raise sponsorship on our behalf. At this year’s event only 12% of runners raised money for Brathay Trust – while many others used the event to raise sponsorship for other chosen charities. A significant number took part in the event without raising any sponsorship. I agree that marathon running is a worthwhile pursuit in itself, and should not always necessarily involve some form of charity support. However the Brathay Windermere Marathon is different in that, as far as we know, it’s the only road marathon in the UK that’s organised by a charity, using our own staff and resources, to help further our charitable objectives. (Continued in following message).
(Continued from previous message). Following this year’s event a broad and detailed strategic review has taken place to confirm the importance of the event in Brathay’s fundraising calendar, and also make recommendations to further improve the experience runners and spectators have at Brathay – in recognition of the support they give us. With the current level of funds raised by the event we have to challenge the amount of resource required to deliver it each year, and it can only have a future if the charity income is increased. Getting the wording right on the entry form is a huge challenge. We clearly needed to place more emphasis on the charitable nature of the event, but similarly don’t want to turn some of our valued supporters away.
Our cost/price model for the event is based on the following principles:
1. Entry fees need to cover all operational costs of the event.
2. The small surplus made from the entry fees is required as contingency for anything out of the ordinary that might happen, and for developing the event.
3. All funds/sponsorship raised by runners goes directly to supporting Brathay Trust’s charitable work and does not in any way underwrite the event’s costs.
Having spoken to other marathon organisers I’m aware that we have a number of significant additional costs that are not incurred by most road marathons in more urban areas. For example:
1. Due to the nature of our local road network there is not scope to divert traffic away from the marathon course (unlike a town/city marathon where the next road or street can provide alternative routes for traffic). As a result significant cost is required to cover professional traffic management services to control possible conflict between runners and other road users, and keep everyone safe.
2. Brathay Trust does not own the Brathay Estate. We have a close relationship with the landowner and strive to ensure that the event has minimal impact on the immediate environment around the event centre. Infrastructure such as temporary road surface is very expensive to hire. Again compared to more urban marathon courses, or even those in rural areas with convenient car parking and local transport, this is additional cost that we’re trying to reduce, but at the moment cannot avoid. (Continued in following message).
(Continued from previous message). When establishing our fundraising target for runners (£200) we looked at other charities – particularly those that target road running events. Many of the bigger charities are now asking for runners’ sponsorship/donations in the region of £1000 to £2000 - for events like London Marathon and Great North Run. We felt that this level of personal fundraising was too high for the majority of runners coming to our event and also accept that, for regular marathon runners, going back to the same network of friends, colleagues and family to ask for repeat donations is not sustainable. I also drew on my own experience here – in the past two years I’ve taken part in a charity race to raise funds for a partner charity. By taking part I made a commitment to raise £250 each year to support disadvantaged young people in London. I found this amount achievable and sustainable in both 2009 and ’10 – by following established online practice; setting up a page with justgiving and forwarding the link to friends and family – and asking them to pass it on to their contacts. I was careful not to send donation requests to the same people in each year, apart from a few who I knew had the capacity and inclination to support me and the charity. In both years hitting the target was the result of two larger donations (£50 each) from particularly generous friends, combined with a larger number of smaller donations. This year I hit the target with 10 individual donations (and a small donation from me to make up the difference). If I decide to do the race next year I’ll be happy to go back to those who made donations in 2009.
I’m keen to continue the debate about our emphasis on raising sponsorship, and will continue to read with interest all of your thoughts and ideas. Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to helping us position the event in a way that meets Brathay Trust’s objectives, while also continuing to offer a distinctive and enjoyable marathon for the running community. We will continually review the views of runners to our event – without you there wouldn’t be a Brathay Windermere Marathon.
Thanks and best wishes,
Scott Umpleby, Race Director
Ooh I was just going to ask on Fetch if you were going to post this on here
Hopefully people will see this and rethink about the fundraising, because it would be a shame for people to miss this marathon.
Excellent post Scott.
Don't rule me out just yet
Was contemplating entering this race as I took part in the 1989 event and still have good memories, and promised myself I would run it again one day, however I'll be honest while I'm more than happy to pay the entry fee I wouldn't be prepared to commit to raising sponsorship money.
Running is my sport, like other people have golf/football etc I don't take part to raise money for charity.
That may sound harsh but I think there are many other runners out there who feel the same.
Good luck with the event though I will be very suprised if your numbers are not well down on last year.
it's £200 - it's not millions - a pound a day until the event ?
London is an arm & a leg to run round the grotty docklands - frankly this is a bargain, a shame so many folks give up on trying to raise funds without even trying.
I thought the mentality of marathon runners was to embrace a challenge rather than give up on one put in front of them ?
London is £28 next year, not exactly " an arm and a leg"
Most marathon runners mentality is embracing the challenge of completing the course not raising funds.
Cool post Scotty
I understand the reasons for Brathays approach but I'm afraid this prices me & Mrs Costanza out of the race. This is a real shame as we loved it this year and had planned to do it again in 2011, but £400 out of our household budget is just not possible in this economic climate and it would be a big ask too, to raise this level of sponsorship.
I've just added to my Blog "Brathay Trust's Mission" with a case study of Dennis Gyfami, a young man living in Brixton, who has embraced Brathay's philosophy and made huge changes to his life and contribution to his local community. The link to "A Mother's Tear" is well worth following.
Brathay Trust's Mission
Thanks again to everyone who has helped Brathay in recent years to continue helping young people like Dennis.
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