The $500 Marathon
|January 25, 2013||Posted by Lauren under Running|
In case you haven’t heard the news, today is the deadline to choose your Resolution Option for the New York City Marathon.
After giving us a very long window of time (read: 2 weeks) in which to make this decision, NYRR has ominously declared that if a participant fails to choose something today, he or she will forfeit all claims to one of these options. There’s no default choice for those who don’t respond — you either pick something by the deadline, or you’re out $250.
Seems a bit harsh, but hey — this is an unprecedented situation. And despite all the restrictions around it, I really do appreciate the fact that we were actually given options instead of being told that we had to accept one resolution.
In case you haven’t been following the news or aren’t a misplaced NYCM-er yourself, here are the 4 options we were presented with. Basically, you could get a refund, defer your entry to a later race or use the fee to guarantee your spot in the NYC Half. The key thing to note here is that the 2012 entry fee holds your spot only. It does not apply to the costs of any of these future races.
I really want to run the New York City Marathon. I want to be a part of that 26.2 mile celebration through the streets of one of my favorite cities. I want to know that I am out there racing with (okay, fine – behind) some of the world’s greatest marathoners. I want all of that…someday.
But not in 2013.
Yesterday I officially selected my resolution option. Truthfully it was a pretty easy decision. One that didn’t require a second thought.
I asked NYRR for my money back.
And at the same time, I signed the following waiver,
giving up all right I have to ever running the marathon again, along with my first born child:
The key line: “I hereby waive any right I may have or claim to Guaranteed Entry into the 2013 or any future ING New York City Marathon as a result of my cancellation of my entry in the 2012 Marathon or the cancellation of the event itself.”
Which I’m assuming means that I simply expressed my understanding that by getting the refund, I do not qualify for the guaranteed entry resolution option anymore. However, the inclusion of that “or any future ING New York City Marathon” line sort of seems to suggest that this decision may disqualify me from ever getting a guaranteed entry (i.e. time-qualified) into NYCM. Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but it just seems a little strange to tack on such an ominous (and ambiguous) sounding phrase at the end. (thoughts??)
Either way, I will not be running NYCM this year. It seems as though they will not be accepting time qualifications for 2013 in order to make room for all these extra entries (they’ve taken down their guaranteed entry page). So even if I ran really fast all year and significantly dropped my half or full marathon time, I wouldn’t be unable to guarantee myself a spot.
That is all just fine by me. And here’s why:
1.) No matter how you look at it, $255 is a lot of money for a marathon. I shelled out the cash originally because, well, it’s New York. A race that is on many runner’s bucket lists. A race that I want to do at least once in my lifetime. Plus, the fact that I spent half of 2012 injured may have had something to do with my motivation as well…
Had I selected to defer my entry, that $255 would not go toward an entry fee — it would simply be reserving my spot. When the time came to register again, I’d have to shell out another $250+ (prices will only continue to rise each year) in order to receive a bib for that year’s race.
So when all is said and done, I’d be spending over $500 to run a marathon. That’s just not an expense I can justify, no matter how prestigious the race.
2.) Maybe (maybe) if I lived in New York and had put in a lot of time, money and effort to qualify through the 9+1 program, I would have been persuaded to defer. I know people who devoted an entire year of racing in order to get into NYCM. It would be really hard to face the fact that I had essentially done all that for nothing…and would have to go through the process all over again if I wanted guaranteed entry. I don’t know how much those races end up costing in the end, but I suppose the cost a member of NYRR pays to enter the marathon could be worth it to hold a spot.
[Edited to add: I’m an idiot. NYRR canceled the “3 times, you’re in” lottery option last year. I apologize. I should have been better at checking the facts before I wrote about it. I’m not going to delete this next point in order to preserve the integrity of my original post, but please feel free to disregard it. Thank you to those who updated me with the correct information!]
3.) Even if I don’t ever qualify for NYCM’s time standards (whatever they end up being after this year), there’s still the lottery option. It costs $11 to enter the lottery. So according to how things have been done in the past, if I entered for 3 years in a row and got denied all 3 years, I’d receive a guaranteed entry the next year**. That’s $33 (and a few years of waiting) for a guaranteed entry spot, which, last I checked is way less than $250.
**This is all assuming that they continue to offer this option in future years. Maybe not a good assumption, but I guess only time will tell…**
4.) Finally, to be completely honest, NYRR isn’t exactly at the top of my list right now. Most of my love and excitement for this marathon has faded over the past several months. NOT because the race was canceled (I don’t want to bring that up again, but in case you’re interested, I discussed my feelings on that here), but because of how they handled everything around the decision. I realize there were a lot of politics and logistics involved in the cancellation and resulting resolution options but that doesn’t mean that NYRR couldn’t have made it a priority to communicate with the thousands of individuals who spent tons of time and money preparing for this race.
From not canceling the marathon until the Friday before, not sending out an official email announcing that decision until the next morning, and then keeping the runners in the dark for months, NYRR seriously needs to work on their communication skills. No matter how much crap and politics surrounded each decision, there’s something to be said for open, honest, and timely communication with the very people who support your organization. The lack of such has left a bad taste in my mouth — and has made me hesitant about forking over close to $300 to run the marathon anytime soon.
Anyway, I realize not everyone will agree with me. And, as I said above, I realize that NYRR was not required to give us a choice. It may not have been the best for their already tarnished image, but they could’ve kept the money or simply required all of us to use our fee to hold a spot in a future race. I’m thankful that I got the opportunity to request a refund.
Which is why I want to hear from you! What do you think of these options? Fair? Will you be running NYCM 2013? Some of you may not have even thought twice about using the $250 to guarantee your spot in a future year. I’m very curious about what most people decided to do and why.