Pulling out of a race early.

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15/03/2013 at 14:19
I had a look at the link that Tom77 provided... Even the guy answering the questions, the Boston Marathon Race Director, concludes that the current state of affairs is poor customer service. Clearly it is do-able, it's not complicated or difficult, and shouldn't be expensive... I don't even think it's red tape that prevents it from happening, I think it's more a question of attitude... People who don't like change will always invent reasons why something can't, or ahouldn't, be done.
15/03/2013 at 14:35


Just as an aside,  on a slightly different note, my old club that I was the "races rep" for, used to do a XC race series that started at 11am.

A couple from my club really nagged that they didnt like the 11am start as it used up too much of the day (morning/lunch/into afternoon), so insisted I brought this up.

Brought it up with the organisers, told me that they started setting up in the pitch black as it was (races are Nov to Jan largely), so certainly weren't going to be getting up a couple of hours earlier!!

Just a small bit to think about for those on the outside of race organisation who presume an apparently small change is easy to do.

Edited: 15/03/2013 at 14:36
15/03/2013 at 14:41

The thing about UKA and not signing up to races as affiliated is not to do with insurance.

If you are not a "competing member", ie. if you have not paid the (currently) £5 per year to England (or Scotland or Wales) Athletics, you are not entitled to the discounted entry rate.

Being a member of a running club, even one which is affiliated to UKA, is not enough to claim the discount (although it used to be, years ago).

My club has two types of membership - competing members and non-competing, because some people don't want to do races, so why should they pay the extra?  Especially as this April it goes up to £10.


15/03/2013 at 14:43

You chaps who are saying "it's really easy to make a computerised entry system which allows......"

It might be easy for you, but not eveyone is as expert as you are.  Many races are organised by running clubs, who rely on people whose day jobs are in things other than IT.


15/03/2013 at 14:55


PhilPub wrote (see)
Tom77 wrote (see)

From RW.com - Ask The Race Director


As for races that don't allow transfers, I suppose a major reason why they don't is that, particularly for races that fill way in advance, they typically factor in a no-show rate when setting their field size limits. That is, they are accepting many more than they can actually handle knowing that a certain percentage will not show for any number of reasons. Thus, if they allowed transfers, then their no-show rate would decrease and they would have more runners than they had planned.


I'm struggling to see the logic in this explanation. Surely if there is a predictable "no-show" rate associated with races that don't allow transfers, there is an equally predictable no-show rate (including therefore non-transfers) in races that do?  So instead of allocating 30% more places, you only allocate 25% or whatever?

Could it have more to do with the insurance requirements of the licensing body that issues the race permit?

I think Tom's link gives the logical explanation.  I would guess that for a half marathon, with 20,000 places, they can rely on, say, 25% no shows. = 5000 people.   

Now my guess is, if the system allowed easy number-swapping, then (in a highly sought-after event) maybe 4000 of those 5000 no-shows would be replaced by friends/internet swaps.  Keeping is simple, let's say that they would need to reduce the initial place allocation down to 16,000 to avoid overcrowding.  At (say) 25 quid a head, that would be ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS down the drain - for nothing! 

There's your answer

15/03/2013 at 14:55

So how does a club, run by volunteers, who are a mix of quantity surveyors, nurses, truck drivers, office workers and so  on go about setting up this very easy computerised system (in their spare time)?

15/03/2013 at 15:00
You pay a computer twat to write it for you

And after the 5 race he might even have moved on from the beta version to one that works
15/03/2013 at 15:03

I'm a runner, if I enter a race and have to miss it due to injury or illness, i see that as hard luck, an occupational hazard.

It's happened twice in 11 years, so not something I see any need to change things over.

15/03/2013 at 15:05
Dave The Ex- Spartan wrote (see)
You pay a computer twat to write it for you

And after the 5 race he might even have moved on from the beta version to one that works


That's what I thought, and I guess that's why clubs don't want to do it.  

15/03/2013 at 15:06
David Falconer 3 wrote (see)

I assume it would probably be for the organisers to prevent being sued, so like for instance Im running along, trip and break my leg, I sue the organisers and then their insurance covers the legal cost for the action to defend it.

And I assume medically it would cover the cost of basic care? I really have no idea, bet most people have no idea.


I don't think the insurance would cover that kind of personal injury - The fact that you could trip and break your leg would be considered your 'own risk', and probably in the disclaimer when you sign up.

The exception might be if the organisers had been negligent in some way, eg. taking the route accross a busy dual carriageway, not making provision to stop traffic, and a runner getting hit. Or, say, the giant start clock falls on a runner (I'm struggling to think of the sort of incidents which could realistically occur!)

I 'believe', insurance is more from a 3rd party respect e.g. a runner ignores marshals or strays off course and knocks down a pedestrian / damages property.... and the pedestrian or owner of the property sues. That kind of thing.

I'm basing this on the type of insurance other organisations (Rotary club etc) tend to take out for their events. It would be interesting to hear from someone in the Insurance business.


15/03/2013 at 15:52
Wilkie -- I don't see anyone on this thread suggesting that anyone, let alone small running clubs, set up computer systems or anything else... Who do you think is advocating that?
15/03/2013 at 16:21

It's being advocated that events should have that kind of system, and many events are organised by running clubs.

Nearly all the events I do are organised by clubs.

15/03/2013 at 16:33
Stevie G . wrote (see)

I'm a runner, if I enter a race and have to miss it due to injury or illness, i see that as hard luck, an occupational hazard.

It's happened twice in 11 years, so not something I see any need to change things over.


You should be so lucky. Many who enter events are also carers and parents and are forced to miss races when perfectly fit themselves. Organisers need to look after their customers and I fail to see why official transfers cannot be made. I really don't go along with the idea that it causes far too much work. There is one organiser, for instance, on the Events thread who is adamantly 'no transfers' but seems to spend so much time on the Forum that he would have been able to transfer half the field if necessary.

15/03/2013 at 16:42
And 10 years to get it to do what it says on the tin
15/03/2013 at 16:57

Not everyone is as nice as you DF, to do it for free!

15/03/2013 at 17:01
The only time a software engineer gives anything away for free, is when they realise they would never get the public to pay for it !
15/03/2013 at 18:15

In fairness, a lot of what running clubs SAY about their races differs to what actually HAPPENS.

Example....no entries on day. My old club said this, but weren't daft. They knew people would try and just run it without a place otherwise, so they made sure they allowed it on the day on the low.

Most reasonable clubs will allow transfers, but again, they're not stupid enough to advertise the fact as it invites more work.

15/03/2013 at 19:15
Wilkie -- Your post today at 16:21... I can see the advocation of existing system modification, which clearly would not impact running clubs that do not currently have their own.
16/03/2013 at 14:25
DF3 -- I think we just need a few high spec systems... Running clubs, even the small ones, already have access to these types of systems via Full On Sport, etc... I don't see that every little running club having their own crappy low spec system as being the way forward
02/04/2013 at 22:12

IN the end the race had to be postponed due to weather. Entrants were then given the chance to defer to one of two races (amazingly one was the race which the organisers said they had nothing to do with), run on the renewed date or donate your entry fee to the race who would donate it to charity



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