Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Taking Advantage

I've paid a lot of money and run a lot of races in my day, and I'm glad that most of the race fees have benefited some kind of charity.  I personally don't donate a lot to charity, not because I don't want to, but because I work for an underfunded non-profit and can't really afford to.  I figure that I do the time in that I'm in an altruistic profession, and paying race fees to support local and national charities is something that I can afford, and that I'm happy to do.

Race fees are pretty standard, but some races are more expensive than others and unless it says explicitly somewhere in the race info why it's a more expensive race, I usually just pass on them.  After all, when you do a lot of races, these seemingly small fees add up quite quickly.

Then, you come across races like the Nike Women's Marathon Virtual 10k, which is just the most obvious ploy to extract money from runners that I've ever seen.

First off, it's a virtual race, which means that no matter where you are in the world, you can run this race.  That's awesome, but it also means that the race organizers don't have to pay for permits, food, medical and police support or any of the other incidental expenses that make running a race expensive.  That should make it significantly cheaper for the people who want to  run it, right?

The race costs $40.

According to the race's FAQ page:  
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), founded in 1949, is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. LLS's mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
HOW MUCH MONEY FROM THIS EVENT WILL GO TO LLS? $10 from each registration will go to LLS.
So, runners pay $40, $10 of which goes to the actual charity, and $30 of which goes to Nike.  Oh, but runners get a t-shirt and there are prizes for the winners--though those prizes aren't detailed on the website.

This kind of thing just burns me up.  I love running races--it challenges me, it's fun, and I'm willing to accept the cost of doing them because the experience is worth it. But this is just taking advantage of runners, and Nike really doesn't need the money.  Plus, the thrill of a probably ill-fitting t-shirt is just not an incentive.

Anyone who is intrigued by this race--just run the distance and donate the whole $40 (or more) to the charity of your choice.  If you need the accountability, report back to me your time and I'll post it on the blog.

Shame on you, Nike.

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