Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 149 Feb. 2022 | Page 14

SAYS sport man says by MANFRED SEIDLER


SAYS sport man says by MANFRED SEIDLER

No , Races Are NOT Too Expensive

I am probably going to take some serious flack for this opinion piece , but I think this is something that needs to be said … and it has been coming a long time , irrespective of whether the COVID pandemic had happened or not .

Road races entry fees have been climbing over the last few years , resulting in a regular outcry from the road running community , especially on social media . In recent weeks , runners have been particularly vociferous and scathing about the entry fees for the 2022 Totalsports Two Oceans Marathon and Comrades Marathon , with the phrase “ rip-off ” featuring very prominently . But is this outrage and outcry justified ? In my opinion , not at all !

It is a hard fact of life that prices and costs go up . And before the response , “ But it doesn ’ t have to go up by so much !” is fired back at me , it is important to note and understand that race organising costs are dependent on what the suppliers charge the race organisers . There are various standard costs that apply to all races . Paramount amongst those are :
• Road closures ( partial or full )
• Metro / traffic officers
The Comrades Marathon is being heavily criticised for its high entry fee , but many runners may not realise the huge costs associated with putting the event on
• Paramedics
• Venue hire
• Refreshments
• Portaloos
Those are your big line items . Others may include scaffolding , staging and fencing , medals , sound equipment and MC , parking venue , etc , depending on the race , but the above-listed ones you cannot get away from . And their pricing is determined by either the municipality or the city , or the individual service providers . In some cases , it is not like you can look around for better quotes – you just get told what those services will cost . And if you don ’ t pay , you do not get to host a race . Simple as that .
Currently , you also need to add the extra COVIDrelated safety protocols that have to be implemented , and keep in mind that these protocols are not added on by the races to make extra money , these are enforced by government . Again , no COVID compliance , no event , end of story . No debate , no negotiation … It ’ s no compliance , no event .
Size and Distance Count
Another factor that needs to be taken into account is the size of the field ( number of entries ), and the distance being run . These factors will affect the duration of time you need the services of Metro officers and paramedics , and how long road closures are needed . The longer these are in place , the higher your cost . Bigger fields also mean more facilities and supplies are required , such as toilets , fencing , refreshments , medals , etc . With these line items , you may be able to negotiate a sliding scale of costings , i . e . the more you rent or buy , the less you pay per item , but the costs still rack up .
What has also changed for some races is that some or all the marshals are no longer volunteers , and this can also affect the bottom line of the event .
14 ISSUE 149 | www . modernathlete . co . za