I was looking through my Facebook statuses this morning, and I was saddened to see that the BB&T 8k and ½ marathon had been canceled.
Last year, I ran this race and had a great time battling back and forth with Caitlin for the entire race. I was hoping to get a second chance again this year. Now, I guess I will have to look elsewhere for my racing during April.
Having gain some experience with our Charlotte Running Club’s Winter Classic 8k coming up in a few weeks, I certainly know that putting on a race is a lot work. Most race committees, I suspect, are a lot like our race committee. They work for free. They have a vision of something they want to make happen.
I have also learned that there are three major factors in any race: the runners, the race committee, and the money.
Runners have come to expect at every race that they get a race tech or standard t-shirt, a chip timed race, well marked course, and post race goodies and food. Music is a plus. Other activities are a major plus. For the most part, any race having these attributes will get a positive review.
But to make the above happen it needs a good combination of the other two factors. I firmly believe that every good race needs a strong race director and a great supporting cast. Yeah, small races can be a one or two man job, but as races grow, the race director needs lots of help. He needs a great supporting case to cover all of the “i” and dot all of the “t”. He needs cast members who will focus on specific areas of the race whether it is buying shirts, selecting awards, obtaining food and water for the race, race setup, porta-johns, chasing down sponsorship, or handling volunteers. The list of tasks seems to have no end. A race director with good organization skills and willing helpers is well on his way to a successful race.
Perhaps, the “white elephant” in the room is money. We all know the cost of everything has risen through the years. Very few races have a registration fee less than $25 these days. This cost has gone up because the cost of everything else has gone up from the cost of the cups at the water stops to cost of the shirts to the cost of insurance to hold the race. Then, there is the location cost if you are running the race on public streets or on a greenway. If the race is chipped timed, the race needs to block out at least $1500 and more if they expect more than 500 runners. Everyone seems to have their hand out these days for a piece of the pie.
Without money and especially money gained through sponsorship from companies, most races could not exist. I mean without sponsorship of races; most runners would face entry fees closer to $50 or $60 dollars for their local 5k race. Having a race would just not be financially possible. Thus money drives everything including our ability to hold races. I wish things were different but such is life these days.
I don’t know the exact reason for the cancellation of the BB&T 8k in Greensboro, but if it were from any of the above factors, I can certain empathize with them. I certainly hope that our Winter Classic 8k continues to have the strong leadership and supporting cast that this year’s group has displayed.
Sharing one thought at time,
The Cool Down Runner