Road Race Management had a cover story on bib exchange and refunds this past month – “Races Grapple with Number Switching”.
The comments from race directors seemed strange to me. They complained how runners were finding ways to work around the system – selling bibs on EBay, Craigs List and other sites, running as bandits, and not registering properly (“illegally” was used several times in the article). On the other hand, they were more than happy to take the runner’s money and lock them into running an event many months away.
Especially when races are sell-outs, there seems to me to be no downside to allowing refunds and bib exchanges. Race Directors still get their fees, and can even charge incremental service fees for transfers and refunds. Runners can sign up for an event and if they get injured they have an out. This all breeds more goodwill for races and keeps runners coming back and signing up! And the blogosphere is full of people who agree.
Of course the technology to allow this has been abismal in the past – requiring a lot of overhead on the part of race directors and timers to manage this manually.
RunSignUp has been incrementally adding all the features we have seen missing in this area for the past several months – Wait Lists, Refunds, Event Transfers and Bib Exchange. We have worked with several races in beta mode to refine the system. We announced this week that our entire Participant Management capability is now fully functional and ready for use. Here are some of the video How To’s:
We are sure we will learn more and make improvements as more races deploy these capabilities. So let us hear how you would like to see this work for your races!