This was originally going to be a post about the half marathon I ran on Sunday morning however the introduction to that post quickly took me off in such an alternate, frankly slightly ranty direction I thought I’d split it off into its own post, which is below.
Whether the phrase of the day is Stay At Home or Stay Alert or you can play golf now or whatever, most things remain unchanged here as it is no doubt for everyone reading this.
There’s not been much positive to report towards getting running events back again so it was a bit galling to read a post from England Athletics saying please keep supporting your clubs right now with your membership renewals. Rather ignoring those of us who are primarily members of a running club because of the discount we get for taking part in licensed events.
Quite frankly that just felt like a particularly shameless beg for charitable donations with a thinly veiled sheen of guilt-trippery. While I’m sure there are many making use of your online videos or whatever I’m not one of them. When you offer services of something I will make use of I’ll be back no doubt and in the meantime I’ll accept that this year I haven’t really got value for what I did pay, because that was just the dreadful circumstance we’re all in.
So, sorry but I’ll pause a little before throwing more money your way thanks. Perhaps you might also reconsider which posts you put on your website which openly suggest we give feedback. I did but be grateful you didn’t get both barrels which I’ve saved for here.
Not to say though in any way whatsoever am I not wholly supportive of the decisions being taken not to hold any events at the moment. It’s the only thing they can sensibly do to keep the organisers, volunteers, us competitors and locals around venues as safe as possible.
That’s all ok for sure, but I look forward to the days we can safely have group races once again.
I think the reason the England Athletics post triggered me so much is the attitude I’ve encountered from some event organisers.
Incidentally a similar attitude that hotels and travel companies have tried to get away with. I’ve accepted a couple of vouchers here and there but I think it’s just dishonest to not automatically offer refunds when you’re no longer providing the service.
However, I reserve a particular level of distrust for profit-making race organisers who stand behind clauses in their terms and conditions that say there are no refunds in the event of their cancellation. I hear arguments like “well they’ve already incurred lots of costs you know so you’re only contributing to those” and “those were the terms you signed up to”.
Whilst those are undoubtedly the terms we signed up to – because the alternative is not taking part at all – I still think the argument is absolute nonsense and guilt-trippery at its finest.
So, if the race organisers pay out refunds they’ll be out of pocket because of various expenses they’ve paid upfront. Ok??….
And this is my problem how exactly? It’s not as if the organiser will be sharing the profits with me when they do well for an event. Why are they using my cash to underwrite their potential losses? Isn’t that just a risk of the business they have chosen to be in, or have they decided the general fee-paying public can take all the financial risk? Totally unacceptable for me.
And that brings me to virtual events. I understand why they are A Thing right now. Indeed I myself am currently running 50 miles during May for charity. It’s essentially the only game in town.
But I don’t really see them as a general replacement for race events in much the same way as watching blokes playing FIFA isn’t the same as watching actual football.
And I quite resent the suggestion from race organisers that they are a suitable replacement. In the real world I don’t see how me running a half marathon on Sunday qualifies me for a medal with the Olympic Park on it. I’ve accepted a virtual run as a replacement for an in-person event on few occasions, although that is because I have literally no better choice. It was a case of accept this virtual run or we’re keeping your cash to underwrite our losses (paraphrasing a tad here perhaps but that was the outcome of it).
But it’s just not the same. Believe me, I’ve tried in these current circumstances but running hard on my own is less positive, less productive and just plain less fun than running hard in a group. They aren’t the same thing so please don’t sell them as if they are.
Anyway, about that half marathon…..