Sunday, July 1, 2012
Let's Compare the Big Race Registration Companies - Active.com, GetMeRegistered.com, and SignMeUp.com
Since I had recently decided on all of my races for the rest of 2012, I had to pull the trigger on the difficult part...registering for all of them.
So $210 later, I was registered for five races: a 5k, 8k, 10k, Half and Full. Unfortunately, I also got to experience pretty much every option on registration that you can have - from the good to the oh so ugly.
Let's take a look!
Red White & Blue Riverfront Festival Fun Run - 5k
In Store Registration
-This is why you should be racing locally. Sleep the night before in your own bed. Drive a couple miles, tops, to the start line. And fill out a paper registration form at Five Star Sports in downtown Corvallis. Save your money, save the Earth. It's a win-win.
Registration Fees: $0 (0%)
Seafair Torchlight Run - 8k
Active.com Online Registration
-And the frustration begins! Now I will say upfront, the Torchlight Run has been around for a long time and always offers quite a few options for in person registration at various locations in the Seattle area...which does me absolutely no good. But it's there for people in the Puget Sound, so that's cool. But it's a fact of life in 2012 that the huge majority of runners sign up online. It's so convenient that they bite their tongues on the "registration fees." Ah yes, "fees." It irritates me that so few races acknowledge these fees in any way. Look at all the information on the Torchlight Run website and it's clear that the race costs $30. And so it does...until you get to the last page of the Active.com registration and they let you know that they're taking a cut of $3.20, making your registration $33.20 in total. In case you're wondering, that's 10.67% added on top. Why not just a flat 10 percent? Hell if I know.
Registration Fees: $3.20 (10.67%)
Corvallis Fall Festival Run - 10k
GetMeRegistered.com Online Registration
-Now there was a paper form I could have filled out here and mailed in. And I would have, but now I was getting curious about these "fees." So yes, I took one for the team! Just make the checks out to "cash" and send them to the R's as thanks...and thanks. So the Fall Festival 10k is a very inexpensive race - they let you add the shirt in separately - so the actual registration is only $15. Not bad. But wait! GetMeRegistered.com would like to have a word with you. They'd like to remind you they're adding on $2.48 in registration fees. Well, cheaper overall than the Torchlight Run, but percentage-wise to the race cost, that's 16.53%. That's not good.
Registration Fees: $2.48 (16.53%)
Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon - Half Marathon
SignMeUp.com Online Registration
-I looked for a paper form here, but couldn't find one. It looked like online or nothing. So I registered online. The race registration was $55 and the "fees" were $4.58. That's 8.33% on the fees. The lowest so far, but let's face it, the race costs $60, not $55. Why does it say $55 all over the website if you can't get in for that price?
Registration Fees: $4.58 (8.33%)
California International Marathon - Marathon
Registration handled by race director on race site
-Here's how all races should handle their online registrations - CIM tells you a price, and you get out your credit card and pay it. End of story. No hidden fees anywhere. Now, I realize that some smaller races can't handle the online registration on their own and need to farm it out. That's fine. Just say right on your race website what the total cost will be...with all fees added in. That's all you need to do.
Registration Fees: $0 (0%)
Winner? It's not the runner. Race directors need to be a little more open and honest with what they're doing. If you run a good race, people will show up - be confident enough in your race that you can tell people how much it actually costs to register.