Yesterday my wife ran a half marathon and I decided that rather than cheering for her and our friends from the sidewalk I would do so by running alongside them and self-supporting. I carried 24 oz of H2O, three or four GU’s and was very intentional about not using the services being provided for the paying runners… except for the public streets of La Crosse.
This pretty insignificant act caused a bit of fuss over the morality of running on a race course without paying to race. Some folks simply equated it to stealing, others thought paying for races is simply silly, and some said that the support of having a friend running with them made a difference in their day.
My thoughts? I was simply out for a run with my wife…and I’m okay with that.
Also, I need to be very clear that if there is a price for a race and you don’t pay it you should not use the waters, GU, medical assistance and post race consumables provided for paying runners. That’s just plain shitty.
Chris “Almanzo” Skogen did an amazing job articulating why we’re seeing race prices go up and up ($80 for a half marathon?), why we can do it for free, and how you can (and should) start your own race.
Here’s his post:
“While you’re certainly spot on in regards to what a lot of races (at least the organizers of those races) are doing to put things together, I think you’re missing an important part of what is possible in this grand world of ours.
As someone who has spent the better part of the last seven years of my life working tirelessly to create an environment that is free from the common barriers that surround the typical events like the one you’re referencing above, I can tell you that you’re missing out.
Nobody should need to pay to enter an event. Sure, if somebody wants a t-shirt full of logos and some orange slices, go ahead and pay. If you’re just there to run though, no charge.
Organizers are getting rich putting events together and at what cost? My best guess would be that the cost is an increase in general paranoia, inflated insurance prices, more expensive (and arguably unnecessary) equipment that is created, marketed and facilitated by the very companies that are making even more money than the people creating the events.
So why would I write all of this without giving you a possible solution? I wouldn’t.
Here’s my suggestion:
1. Create an event because you whole-heartedly believe in it, not because you want to pay your bills.
2. Invite people to come without charging them an entry fee because you want them to be there.
3. Start small.
4. Don’t talk about yourself in regards to the event, but rather talk about your experience as it relates to the things you love.
5. Grow the event through the people you first invite.
6. As the event grows from year to year, build on the credibility you gain through being honest and open about staying true to the principles laid down in suggestion number one.
7. As you grow, make the correct connections with people in the industry your event leans to.
8. Nurture the connections you make in suggestion seven and work with those to create a viable option for their involvement as your event continues.
9. Continue to build on all the relationships you make and never forget suggestion one.
Caveat: if for any reason you find yourself away from suggestion one, quit and find someone that can do number one in honesty.”