Monday, December 08, 2008

Race Fee Rant

Sent to drs...

I've been quiet lately, but I just have to vent this one out. Yesterday I signed up for the Cleveland Marathon, which is in May. The current fee is $65, but they sent me an email with a coupon for $10 off. Being naive, I thought I would be able to register for $55, assuming my math skills haven't deteriorated as much as my running skills over the years.

The website informed me that the current $65 fee is the online fee, and that the mail-in fee is $75. I can understand why a race would want to discourage the effort that goes with paper entries. I prefer to register online anyway. EXCEPT, that is, when adds on their exorbitant fees. And dad-gum it if they didn't do it for this race. I had to pay something in the neighborhood of four clams to get the $65 fee. Lees the coupon, I paid about $59.

What upsets me is that although they advertise the current fee as $65, it is completely impossible to register for the race and pay that amount. Why don't they say the fee is $59, which includes a ridiculous fee for Not long ago, whenever I would see that was involved, I'd invariably send the thing in the mail, even though it was more trouble. It seems like just this year (the same thing happened to me at Erie), they add $10 or so for mail-in entries. I want to shake them and tell them that NOBODY is able to register for the race at the posted rates!

Follow-up exchange the next day:
Geof Newton writes:
> Active allows race directors to:
> - charge on-line registration costs to the event
> - split registration costs evenly between the event and the participant
> - charge on-line registration costs to the participant

Good information. It makes sense.

> I think Active is ok but some of the race directors may need some
> guidance. I've setup on-line registration for directors who felt
> strongly both ways about who should be responsible for Active's cut. At
> the end of the day, the director decides how much goes to whom from
> where ...

Regardless of how the race director decides to handle this, IMHO,
the Active fees are excessive. I understand that they
provide a service and should be paid for it. Just not so much! As a
runner, I would be willing to pay them the cost of a postage stamp,
but they charge in excess of 10 times that much.

Another complaint: They make you enter all your personal information
before they tell you what their fee is, or even that there is a fee.

Active is the Ticketmaster of racing registration. Methinks they need
much more competition!


Mr. Pythagoras said...

Here! Here! The Ticketmaster analogy is certainly what comes to mind regarding Active. For small races that won't sell out, I will register that day, gladly paying extra, just so Active won't get any of it. I try my best to not support monopolies. Are you suggesting we create some competition?

Tom said...

We recently rolled out a new online registration product for race directors. A cost comparison of our online solution vs. the "other solution" indicates that a race director managing several races would save over $2500 per year on the service fees. As you mentioned the registration service fees are often passed to the athletes. One thing you didn't mention that is equally frustrating is that not only are service fees high, but on top of this you're subjected to constant solicitations and magazine sales during sign up. That's just wrong. Check out

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