Rugged Individualist. Certified USA Triathlon Coach & NASM Personal Trainer, Men's Self Improvement Coach. President of Go Farther Sports. National Ranked Triathlete & 100 Mile Grand Slam Ultrarunner, only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thoughts - February 22 - Races Being Squeezed to Death

After my run yesterday afternoon, I went over to the Staten Island Athletic Club's Men's Team meeting to see what they had on their agenda.

Aside from the problems with the New York Road Runners club scoring this season (races are being capped), which I probably will mention in future posts, and the problems with the Staten Island Triple Crown races, there was a bit of talk that was relevant to what I saw going on in triathlon that also seems to be going on in road racing as well.

Most road races do require a police presence to keep the roads free of traffic so that the runners have a safe course to run. This is in no doubt similar to most triathlons, where both a police presence AND a phalanx of certified lifeguards are needed to keep the athletes safe.

Seems like the cost of these services went up...A LOT!

So much so that some venerable races that seem to be doing very well are now in trouble coming up with the money for these services.

A lot of townships and states in this country have huge budget shortfalls that are starting to get very troublesome. The response? New fees and increased fees that could stagger any business in those jurisdictions.

In normal times, a business such as a race organizer can get away with passing those costs to the customers, or in this case the athletes.

But these are not normal times.

What if the race organizer decides to pass along these costs, but the athletes don't come because it's too expensive?

We're seeing that with a lot of other businesses folks, not just with races.

Race organizers along with other businesses are now forced to eat these costs. And what happens if the race or business doesn't generate a profit off of its service?

Most races will shut down. Just like businesses are now.

I do have my theories on what is exactly happening, but since I aim to keep this blog aimed at fitness and not economics, I'll not talk about it here. If you are curious though, drop me a line and I'll point you in the right direction.

As for my predictions, I did mention the Fat Ass races on this blog last week. These are INFORMAL races that are usually free for everyone, although a small donation is recommended to the race director to keep him/her motivated to run the event the next year.

As permits and police get prohibitively expensive, expect informal races such as these to EXPLODE.

The bottom line is that business will always continue to happen with or without the government's permission. So it is in each government's best interest to keep the fees reasonable or they will eventually price themselves out altogether.

Running races and triathlons are only a microcosm of a much greater trend. When each legitimate business "officially" closes shop and goes underground just to survive, what would you think the various governments will do then?

Food for thought.

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