The FAQ’s are here to help our athletes understand the realities of the ‘behind the scenes’ event management for ours (and most) races. We would like to stress that these are some of the realities of an INDEPENDENT race director/small business. Not a non-profit or charitable organization, nor a large sport management corporation. Our events typically have no more than 200-300 athletes, and in the rare case up to 1000.
As a race director with 25 (yes, 25 years in 2020!) of experience, WE ALWAYS think of the athlete first. We know that in this situation it’s hard to see, as we are all directly impacted by the corona virus.
We founded Multisportscanada to spread our passion for sport and a desire to bring people into running, triathlon/multisport and cycling. We, and the team that works with us, love providing athletes the chance to follow a path of a healthy lifestyle with like-minded people. To allow participants to remain fit and healthy, help with mental wellness and wellbeing, encouraging others to get fit, providing opportunities for those who have thought they would never be able to run a half marathon/10k, etc, the opportunity to do so.
The current situation has made us realize that our athletes need to be educated on the realities of our business.
We are working continually on make the best of the situation for everyone. You can view specifics in the ‘Can I have a credit’ section below.
We hope you take the time to review these FAQ answers. If you have additional questions, please contact us and we can update this page as needed.
Races make a lot of money
There seems to be a common misperception that if a race has a lot of entries it equates to a lot of profit going into someone’s pockets.
This seems to be the basic math used by many athletes:
Race Entry x Number Registered – race specific costs = LOTS OF PROFIT!!
This is simply not the case. One example of ours is the Vancouver Triathlon. One of Vancouver’s longest running triathlons. Over 600 athletes each year. Say an average fee of $100 and that’s over $60,000!! WOW. All that for one days work. Now wouldn’t that be nice.
Take a deep breath and start to think of the race expenses. Race expenses, NOT salary. Operational expenses (park closures, police, roadway closures, traffic & bus rerouting, chip timing, EMS, fencing & toilets, permitting etc, etc) account for approximately 70% of race revenue. Then we have annual storage equipment fees, insurance, travel, part-time staffing and the usual costs associated with running a small business. We haven’t yet touched the race specific items of tshirts (and related upgrades), medals, swim caps, banners, arches and more. Oh, and taxes!
Many of these items have to be ordered, and paid for, months in advance. Many other service providers such as race venues, municipalities and equipment rental require a non-refundable deposit.
Then we look at event communications. 600+ athletes. Athletes have questions. Email communication, newsletters, website updates/revisions, phone calls, REPEAT. Literally hundreds of hours. When you are at work and replying to emails, making phone calls, talking with clients and work colleagues, does your employer pay you for that?
One way to think of it is this:
Your employer has you work on a program/contract/proposal for upwards of a year.
Just before completion, the contract is cancelled.
Your employer then comes back to you and wants all their money back.
What would you tell them?
We would suggest that many race directors have an annual salary or income that is far below what is assumed by many to be high. There is NO COMPLAINT from race directors simply because that is their choice to do something that they love.
Okay so you don’t make that much from race entries, but what about all those sponsors
Our business model has never been built on sponsorships. Many of our events draw around 200-300 athletes. Sponsors don’t see much value in small numbers. While we may be able to draw some cash sponsors from small businesses, they are few and far between. The motto ‘cash is king’ is great, but we find that many businesses are apt to give product instead. Know of a business that would like to get involved – contact us!
If an independent race or series of races were to lose a year of race revenue, they would be bankrupt. Some may say, well that is the cost of doing business, they would be right. However, if you think beyond that, it also means possibly not being able to compete in the local race as it would not exist. Another organizer may come in to ‘replace it’, but that would likely take several years to startup again.
What about insurance
I have had some discussion with athletes that say there is insurance for this.
Our registration provider (Race Roster) does offer a product for ‘upgrade’ to athletes. This is typically coverage for illness and death.
It excludes ‘ Epidemic or Pandemic’. And really, who would assume you’d need coverage for that!
There is ‘special risk’ insurance available but obviously has a very high cost associated. Those costs would have to be included in race entries.
I know that you have had some expenses, can I get a partial refund
If you’re read the questions and answers above, you’ll have your answer.
A small percentage of these costs can be reallocated to an event credit, but not recovered. When you registered, the distance you’ve registered for, any discounts that may have been applied, makes it a challenge to determine a proper formula. A $15 credit, less time to process, and transaction fees, would eat up any real tangible refund. It think it’s fair to say that it is easier to offer a credit.
Why can’t you just roll my entry to next year
It makes sense doesn’t it? You have my $x, just move it to next years event. I’ll refer you back to the previous question. On paper it makes sense (or in excel where you can just move it!). Unfortunately we have hard costs and LOTS of time.
The costs associated with your registration have already been incurred and they cannot be transferred to next year’s event. Providing free transfers would mean that the event would incur twice the cost for a single entry fee.
Can I have a credit
As event planning and preparations began almost a year ago, we have a high ratio of sunk costs. A small percentage of these costs can be reallocated to an event credit, but not recovered.
We are currently looking at ways we can accommodate you. Each race (running, triathlon, cycling) will have unique options. You will receive an email for the race you’ve registered for with specific details – when the time comes.
While not finalized yet, here are a few possibilities
Transfer a portion (20%-30%) of your race registration to the 2021 event
Use the portion of your entry as a credit towards any of our other upcoming events in 2020. Visit www.multisportscanada.com/events for a listing
We will also offer a15% discount on any of our other events throughout the 2020 season(*cannot be combined with the credit mentioned above)
Again, we will be reaching out to each athlete with final details when the time comes.
Why don’t you just reschedule to later this year
At this time we can’t determine when it will be safe to hold a large scale event in public. To pick a date now would be irresponsible.
There are also a number of other factors to consider when trying to pick a date later this year. They include:
- existing bookings with facilities/cities/municipalities
- existing bookings with event suppliers & contractors (ie. will our timing company – or any – be available!)
- rescheduling protocols have not been established with many jurisdictions. ie. which event gets pick of dates first
- your schedule – a new date may not work for you.
There are a vast number of variables to consider. Race directors are now just starting to realize the implications of rescheduling for later this year. Not only the above issues, but the potential for a massive ‘load’ of events in the fall. Where there may have been 1-2 events in a community on a given day in the fall, we could now see dozens. Each event wanting to support their athlete.
Why don’t you switch to a virtual race
Switching the event to a virtual race (race your distance on your own course, on your own time) is possible but takes away from the true meaning of a race. In some instances, like the Jasper Canadian Rockies Half Marathon, it takes away from our sponsors – the town and local businesses, as well as your enjoyment of the National Park.
We are exploring our options for this in some instances.
Where does all my race entry money go?
As answered in one of the prior questions above, we begin working on the next years events LITERALLY days after each race completion.
Wrap meetings and reporting, followups with sponsors, requests for renewals and so it begins. In most cases we are working for 6 months on the following years event – with no wage. Always a risky business as there is no guarantee on the attendance. When registration opens we hope that entries come in to help cover those costs, but typically most entries come in 2-3 months prior to race day.
As for ‘where does my fee go’, well there is a huge supply chain. It will include but not limited to (in no specific order):
- local applications & permits
Typically never just one application – Parks, Provincial Highways, Local community, local facilities, etc.
- communications plans
- medical plans
- site plans
- course updates/revisions
- engineered traffic management plans
- updated race branding, gantries, banners, bibs, medals, etc.
- procurement of race merchandise – tshirts, bibs, medals, upgraded items including hats, hoodies, etc.
- booking (and deposits) for timing, portable toilets, portable fencing, barriers, communications, EMS, etc.
- securing support groups (‘volunteers’) and education/training sessions
- securing event charities
- booking commentators/announcers
- confirming food suppliers
- sponsorship and exhibitor outreach, meetings, followup and relationship building
- IT Support (website updates, etc)
- Race registration design and layout
- communications programs for participant outreach, plus many, many more organisations, gyms, activity centres/companies, members of the public, trade associations, etc
- marketing/ad campaigns
- social media updates, reviews & communications
- event insurance applications
- race equipment procurement
- race equipment storage and maintenance
- event travel, food and accommodation for staff and contractors
- athlete correspondence (email followups & phone calls).
- race specific email campaigns
- race specific event guide revisions
- event reporting
- followup event meetings
- and the list goes on!
What about my event merchandise?
For those of you in our April events (Jasper Canadian Rockies Half & Edmonton First Responders Half):
Race T Shirts and Finisher Medals
Our orders were placed(and paid for) with suppliers overseas. We managed to place a hold on shipping the event tshirts which we have screened locally. Finisher medal dies were cut and ready to stamp. We will be retooling the artwork for next years event.
Upgraded Event Merchandise
Any additional race gear that you ordered, will be refunded.
You should have received a confirmation email of this in mid May.