Saturday, January 05, 2013

Fair Play: Readers take on Cebu marathon fees


I GOT a couple of reactions from my previous column on the Cebu Marathon, one highlighted the drop in numbers, while the other offered suggestions on how to keep the registration fee down, to entice more participants.


Bobby Lozada compared this year’s list of participants to the number of finishers from last year and noticed a drastic drop.  He wrote, “Per Cebu Marathon website figures, in 5K 908 (2012 finishers) vs. 495 (2013 registered runners) (-45 percent). The 21K division had 940 finishers last year vs. 650 registrants this year (-31%). The 42K fared better with 1,194 2012 finishers compared to 968 registrants this year (-19%). Perhaps it's the registration cost. What do you think?”

I think the registration fee is one of the factors in the drop, but I don’t think it’s the factor. Perhaps some of those who would have signed up for the marathon are no longer into running or are into more challenging things like the Cobra Ironman, Xterra or even the ultra marathons.

As for the drop in the 5K numbers, I think that can be explained by the move of the organizers not to tap students.

Another reader who didn’t give his or her name e-mailed,” Each participant who registered has the right to complain to the organizers (CERC) on the account to where there money goes. It is the burden, responsibility and duty of the organizers to source out funds from other sponsors/donors not from each participant’s pockets. To sacrifice for a costly registration fees would mean fewer participants and thus it would not add excitement and participation from all those who are not elite runners and all running enthusiasts from our locals.   Organizers must think again that the rule of thumb is, better to have more participants with lower registration fees because it generates more participants, visitors and tourists and thus generates more revenues and income.”

I don’t think that by signing up, participants automatically get the right to demand where their registration fees go.  They are paying for a running event, not their taxes. 

The writer also offered a few suggestions on how to cut the registration fee.
    1. ) Singlets is an option but not the race track numbers, 2.) Freebies is an option (finishers may opt to have a massage, snacks, pictures and etc.) but not the certificates, medals and the water stations, 3.) Lessen the roadshows that showcase dancing and singers (divert it to have additional water supplies, have additional banana or chocolates/candies supplies specially near the end of the race, 4.) Lessen the use of firetrucks (divert it to deploy traffic personal even after the cut-off time traffic - usually at 9 a.m. --since most runners are running after the cut-off time), 5.) Photographers should be placed at the front of the finish line and all participants who just crossed are photographed and they can avail of their pictures via the website of the cebu city marathon or right away using a webcam.

Here’s the point, the organizers set about to hold a running event that could be considered the country’s best, that’s why they have all the hoopla surrounding the event, cutting on that would defeat their purpose and makes the Cebu Marathon just your ordinary weekend run.

It’s not that because I know the organizers that I don’t think they are wrong in raising the fees, it’s just that every time you want to join the best or experience something unique, paying for it is always part of the package.

However, by raising the fees, the organizers have set the bar high for themselves are the participants would be gauging their experience in the run whether it was worth it.

Also, I think the fees this year should be the ceiling, raising it by P200 again next year might not be a good move, or with the reactions this year, they might decide to bring it back to the 2012 level.

At least, that’s what I think, what do you think?

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