What are we paying for?

I was fortunate to be present in a dialogue last night February 11, 2012 between RunRio’s Rio dela Cruz and majority of manila’s bloggers. A question was raised regarding the rising cost of runrio’s race. This in itself has stirred the active running community, for manila at least.. from those questioning the increased price with a sincere query (kikay runner noelle as per her blog; a number of concerned runners too), to those justifying it, to those who took it personally and sadly even to a cheap few attention seekers with tastless humor who have taken personal attacks on Coach Rio.

Runners. Totally addicted to run, if theyre not running, theyre out cross training to supplement their run and fitness lifestyle, shopping in sports stores, eating in guise of carbo loading, working, time with family, and FACE BOOK-ing… at least bumo booking. And news travel fast in facebook, in group pages, in personal walls and tsk tsk.. sometimes in other people’s walls.. Its good to be stirred once in a while, but then you would see harsh comments threading and you cant help but be affected. Sometimes a comment gets ballooned into ridiculous proportions, bashing starts, exchange of what could have been health discussion turn into tasteless bantering and personal attacks showing the “Worst In Us” at times, no , often times, we dare not “think before we click anymore”.  [ Side story: case in point. I have a friend who posted in his FB status that his Dad just died. 34 comments of sympathies of condolence. Around 6 likes.  WTF!!!! likes!!!!!!???? do the effing math on how morons think before they click. Inelaborate pa ng isa…. “ay sori pow, i mean dislike, i mean, condolence hehehe =)   tangna namatayan na nag hehehe pa and smiley] Face to Face has clearly rubbed on the running community.

Back to the forum.  I notice how people get to be incredibly polite, civil and likeable in person. We would have this online persona in which we get to be more confident sometimes brash and vulgar online. [Side story: almost got into a literal fist fight with a member.. details for future blogging] I was wondering how the discussion would turn out. Akward silence.  Its that millisecond pause  others refer to “may anghel na dumaan” and it wasnt eternity until the question was bound to be raised “..bakit po ba nagmahal ang registration fees”

I was just the host and also acted as a moderator, I was a witness last night and Ill elaborate to the best of my senior clad memory as to what I can recall .

Rio answered that starting out as a runner himself.  He would notice room for improvement in earlier races 2007 below, [ill jump the gun later on, on this] and he dreams of organizing his races with topnotch SAFETY, QUALITY  and FUN that runners would enjoy and non-runners look forward to joining. Simply put,  to organize his races, it will incur  costs.

No detailed costings here but generally these are as follows:

MANPOWER. Rio employs staff with each specific task at hand. Marshals. Hydration staff. Logistic staff. Medical crew. Escort crew. Just to name a few, and this doesnt include the PRE-RACE work that has to be done like marketing, REGISTRATION, and POST-RACE work like that of one of the dirtiest jobs on earth Mike Rowe has to apply for – RunRio Helpdesk staff / moderator … These people have a task at hand and like every team, each member of the team has to work in unison and has to be at his post. .. corny as it may sound LIVES ARE AT STAKE here. Runrio races may have a signature of having a fun vibe, but still, once the starting gun is off, and as long as the LAST runner has not crossed the finish line, it is runrio’s task that each gets safely back and cross the finish line.

“eh bakit ibang organizers ganun din naman ah, bakit saiyo ang mahal mahal.. ”

Volunteerism vs Paid staff. Whats the diff? here’s the diff. Ask any runner out there who have in any way volunteered as marshal hydration or stage work.. kung MAGKANO NAGAGASTOS ng VOLUNTEER. Ive been a volunteer and still do volunteer work Yup sabihin na natin andun yung passion natin sa running, pero reality is, gagastos ako sa kaka text tawag sa coordinator [caching], pamasahe o gasolina papunta sa napakaraming pre event meetings at race day [caching caching], pagkain at inumin [caching] tangina kasama ko nagpalibre [caching], ay yung panahon na dapat nagtratrabaho ako kumikita, o kasama ko asawa ko o kalaro ko anak ko, o oras para sa sarili ko na sana enjoy ako sumali nanalang sa takbo [CA–CHING!!!!]. Bukal naman sa kalooban namin pero ika nga mahirap kung madalas.

RunRio has to EMPLOY, why? eh kung Tamarin hindi gumising? Eh kung topakin Umalis yung marshal sa pwesto? Mga marshal na tuod walang kabuhay buhay at parang nagmamadali na utang na loob natin makapiling? Mga finishline marshal Eh tinamad ilista yung number wala sa focus kasi enjoy enjoy lang naman with tropa laru laro lang, imagine the horror stories ? Im not saying that volunteerism equals to degredation in quality of work. Im saying that in volunteerism, NAKIKIUSAP ka and its HARD really to IMPOSE at times even with so much motivation at hand. Vis-a-vis when you employ someone to do the task at hand, he/she really ought to step up to achieving quality work. Let me share my own horror story, I helped my wife’s fun run and had volunteer baranggays as marshals, the call time was 4am. Nag gun start na yung iba wala pa sa pwesto, pagdating, san daw pagkain, pamasahe at Tshirt. Ayuz. LESSON: in stepping up to QUALITY, you need RELIABLE staff who does not fail you. And if you keep having races, the marshals get trained and work efficiently and better.

HYDRATION. So we’re done with marshals and their roles in safety. What about hydration? Na experience mo na ba mawalan ng tubig? O bigyan ng tubig na nakatabo? I personally dont know the ratio of sponsored hydration as regard to those paid for, but definitely setting up a hydration station incurs cost, its one of the most neglected part in race organizing but definitely the most vital. Even trained staffing, or having prepared  COLD hyrdtration incurs cost. In upcoming runrio races, theres word that COLD hydration in some stations will be prepped up which will eat up another 1 to 2 days of prepping.

VENUE and RACE ROUTE. Kung masaya na kayo sa 2.2 loop sa UP then gow. What im saying here is that VENUE and RACE ROUTE have costs. With the upcoming RunRio Trilogy and Philippine Marathon there are fresh run routes. Permits, alignment with baranggays, MMDA, police. The more roads you close the higher the cost. Plus you have to work with local city restrictions as to which roads can be closed partially or fully at certain times. Eh ang runner pa naman kung makahirit…YAN na naman race route? nakakasawa na? . SO in making Race Route’s more interesting, challenging and downright FRESH for upcoming RunRio Races there are NEW RACE ROUTES. Cost wise the more turns the more resources and cost. Even worse and logistical nightmare for race organizers if your RACE ROUTE will cross to different cities and municipalities…. GOOD LUCK!!!! RunRio is able to pull it off. However costly, expect  RUN RIO TRILOGY races to have FRESH NEW RACE ROUTES. Choosing a race route is not all as simple as copy paste previous races then BANG. A lot go into selecting route, you have to comply to restrictions, traffic, how running friendly the route is, etc. Then organizers actually RUN the route and simulate.

MICRO ECONOMICS. Before I give a statement on pareto optimal graphs. This is the part where I know little of. As shared by Coach Rio, client sponsorships and support vary. The liquidity mix as to how much cash is infused by client varies. Lets look at the other races.  Other big races subsidize and lower registration fee costs because race organizing is not their line of business but form a minute speck of an event in their multibillion operations, take nike, addidas, or milo. I remember Hyundai run even offering free registration.  But for these companies, they have a SINGLE running event in a year. With the inflation or rising cost of goods in the mix, certainly adds cost.

LOGISTICS. Cost would spiral if certain variables are tweaked. For example having a starting line at point A, with a different starting line at point B would raise a lot logistical issues for the organizer. Transporting the runners back to and from is one of them. No less than 10 Airconditioned buses will be rented out. Other costs is having 2 of everything. 2 stages, 2 event areas. Hopefully one host…joke.. anyway you go the math and get the point.

Now that the COST thingy is laid out, Id like to share to you one more thing about RunRio races.. VALUE FOR MONEY. Coach Rio thinks long term. Runners are evolving, getting fitter, getting better, seeking newer challenges, going longer, running barefoot, hitting the trails. If you look at the GRAND PLAN, the Run Rio Trilogy is a process, that takes you to one of the pinnacle or running events which is the MARATHON. Yes, the RunRio Trilogy leads up to what may be their first Full Marathon RUN RIO style. Expect the Safe and Quality Run Rio race you have experienced and bring that to a Full Marathon distance event.

With this Coach Rio in the Run Rio Trilogy has FREE RUNNING CLINICS aimed at training runners to complement their training leading up to the their race. This is ofcourse available for Free for those that register.

Among the freebies I see is an original branded Calf Sleeve with a retail value of almost P2,000, running belt and a creative medal to die for. The medal is designed to be one of 4 parts, similar to those Adventure movies found in Raiders of the Lost Ark wherein you get pieces of it, until it forms into one BIG MEDAL.  This is on medal you will surely frame.

Im sure youre bound to know a runner who’s done a full marathon., and im also sure you know someone else who do marathons abroad. Please, ask them their experience, ask them how it compares to RunRio races here. Ive dreamed of doing Singapore marathon, but after hearing stories of such na mahaba ang pila at ikaw pa nakikiusap humingi ng tubig… wag nalang. Baka great wall of China marathon nalang or something scenic. You may not know it, but what you are experiencing now in Run Rio races are up to par and world class.

I know I know I can already hear whats in your head, sinisigaw mo pa kanina pa..rinig ko na nga eh..

“eh di magtipid nalang at wag ng maarte”

well… thats us.. talking..

Take it from the standpoint of a dreamer. He dreamed of having good quality and safe races. He’s there . notice that Rio tries to mix it up and give something grander, bigger, better. We can go on and debate over this. But its his dream and its his call. The good thing with Coach Rio is that he welcomes feedback and deals with it head on. Some clamor for different race routes, for better hydration, for upbeat active positive and listo marshals, better freebies. RunRio tries its best to give you these.

Palit tayo. Ikaw dito.

How would you feel if you have the pressure of 1x,xxx thousandseses runners on your shoulder ? Their safety is relying on you. 1 mistake is all it takes. That is why RunRio overcompensates. Yep.. true OVER nga si Coach Rio, and this was so evident I remember when I worked with him back in 2009 at Timex, I swear yung dami ng marshals nun grabe, parang sila na naging cones!

So I guess to SUMMARIZE (Caps for those lazy enough to read the first 1,682 words above, read this instead)..

Coach Rio is a dreamer. He dreamed of having races that would have better hydration, better, marshals, better set-up, events that are more fun, events that are WORLD CLASS  that the country can be proud of and hopefully bring in and boost tourism here. Have fees increased? Yes. Bakit ka galit? Kinocompare mo kasi passed fees on passed race, the race this year has changes and improvements. I believe this year baka mas payat ng konti yung host … daw. New exciting race routes, even if hydration is good imagine this year to be better. Like I said with cost in logistics, manpower, hydration and inflation (wierd, it rhymes) registration fees has gone up as well. Coach Rio is hoping that with the fun, exciting , safe and quality race RunRio is known for, this year’s Run Rio Trilogy will give value for money for you as a consumer.

On a side note, hands down to Kikay Runner Noelle for sincerely voicing out this issue moreso for braving the issue head on too as well.  We, the running community,  will have more discussions on so many issues in the future im sure. Debates and discussions have been formed but hopefully its my utopic wish that there be no personal attacks on either camps, in this case personal attack against what Kikay Runner has to say or personal attacks on Coach Rio. After this blog, mostlikely may personal attack din sa akin. After the forum last night, it was on a good note. There may be questions still unanswered for some, but clearly the gesture from all sides in improving our running community is a but a positive sign. Clap clap. Everybody happy. Running, more fun in the Philippines.

On a side side note last na talaga I promise. After figuring out what the hulabaloo of all this rising fees is all about? is that for most, the issue has become personal, any issue on a runrio race, or about rio, or about his or her running is personal. Hindi sa nag hehero worship ako, but get to think of it, in some wierd way ikaw, ako , lahat tayo may pagka rio. In some way we dream and start small. Here is a guy who did just that and became successful in doing so. Lets give it to the guy, mataas man reg fee ngayon grrrr but lets hand it to him, pasalamat tayo ng konti, kahit wag na pasalamat respeto nalang and be happy for him and his upcoming marriage. Somehow he has elevated the running scene, improved the quality of races, and encouraged so many people to get into the active lifestyle of which running is a start. Malamang for some malakas ang tampo kay Coach Rio, but its all good in my book…pinersonal kasi, Coach Rio has become a friend. Nung tumaas kuryente nangupal din ako but I couldnt care less, di ko naman kilala si Meralco si Coach Rio oo.

And if I may quote what Coach Rio said “Running, ito lang ang sport that you can run with the best, run the same route , experience the same race as the best in the sport.” – – oo nga naman, yung mga yapak na dinaanan ng Kenyan at ng mga elite runners natin, dadaan din natin.. sa starting line baka katabi pa nga natin. So again hopefully, Runner Ka Kung.. everybody happy para Running.. More fun in the Philippines.

This is your Running host. And this is another story behind the mic…

 

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18 thoughts on “What are we paying for?

  1. //sir Boy, this is a very good piece…high quality service has its price. with runrio events, runners get the most of what they paid for…

    congratulations for coming up with your blog..!

  2. …very well said…and kudos on clearing one of the most intriguing questions being asked lately in the running community…=) this actually inspired me to go and complete the runrio legs this year…more power TsoBoy…=)

    • Noted. I guess my blog may have further confused the reader, the freebies are not the cause of the increase but rather are value added items as explained by Rio. By Value added, I mean, client Unilab shoulders the racebelt, unilab products, Rio has value added from his expenses.. the free calf sleeve, expenses incurred on free run clinics. Thanks for taking the time to read the blog.

  3. Thanks for the blog runninghost… my take here is that I pick my races. If a race fits my overall plan and fitness level for the year, I would go. Price is secondary in that respect. Price comes in by way of if I find simply the race too expensive (considering routes, brand equity of the race, my plan for the year, timing, etc.) I simply don’t participate. I don’t participate anymore in races where I am not familiar with race organizers, brand supporting the race or cause and priced too low. Naranasan ko na sa tumakbo sa isang race after running 30km nakikita mo tinatanggal na ang water station kasi nauubusan na ng water. After the race you heard news that someone had just died and discovered that the same guy was behind you before the 21km turnaround. Never again in that kind of race.

    All am saying race is a personal choice.

    This debate over “fees” is a good thing. I just hope that we don’t lose clear sight of why we all actually run.

  4. BTW, I don’t think people are complaining about the fees. They are complaining about the INCREASE in fees. It is understandable that expenses will go to permits, hydration, marshals, etc., but what is the reason for the INCREASE? Based on the cost of last year’s RU1, the total increase across all distance category is P550; assuming a total running population of 2,000 per category, that translates to an increase of P1,100,000 in fees. So what can account for the increase of P1,100,000?

    • I personally dont have the costing nor the actual figures, what was presented to us were justifications of costings. I guess my lengthy garbled the message that I personally wanted to get across. First and foremost I believe the freebies are not the cause for the price increase, the freebies are value added…I agree that is why its called FEEBIE. On your point of your assumptions, and I quote ” the total increase across all distance category is P550;” I havent the figures with me, ill check on whatever is posted and base it on last years. Your given assumption of 2,000 is plausible and good. So for the P1,100,000 increase you say? As mentioned in my blog, the race route has changed, logistically I would surmise it follows that increase in turns, distance would incur additional costs. As for the rest of the costing, forgive me but Ive no idea. Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and comment mon.

  5. Increase in quality and added features entails cost, it’s that simple. If after the race you feel that you’ve been shortchanged, then that’s the time to properly complain and not before the race. How can you intelligently state facts when you still haven’t seen or experienced the race. The race organizer is not required by any law to give you the details of the cost but I heard that they are sincere enough to share with anyone the company’s CE provided you sign an NDA and a contract that you can organize a race with the same features ang magnitude as the Run United Trilogy series and maintain your ideal reg fee. If you are so sure that they are overcharging or taking advantage of you, then by all means sign the dotted line.

    I was told that even your spokesperson didn’t even have the guts to look at the contract when it was presented to her. It’s just funny because the people standing up for this so called “cause” are all well-off and can afford to join triathlons which even costs more…I haven’t seen a “JUAN DELA CRUZ” standing up and make a fuss about the increase…Stop making baseless accusations and stand up for what you truly believe in, pool your resources and show us that you guys can give us the same quality of races that Runrio has…Stop bickering and walk your talk!

  6. Hi po… Very informative account but I heard that Unilab employees (around 15,000 running in RU1) are getting race kits for free (correct me if I’m wrong). So who’s responsible for their hydration? My retired Unilab employee mom just registered for the 3k category, her bib# is a little over 13,000 and I doubt if many of those runners are paying runners. She had to pay for herself. She’s over 60 and they don’t take senior citizen discounts :(. Frequent runrio event attendees ought to have some sort of runrio club membership and get registration discounts. Just my two cents

  7. Last December, we attended the Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon, perhaps one of the more prestigious running event the region. Given that premise I also expected it to be run at least at par with RIO organized events, but to my disappointment or perhaps due to RIO’s over achievement, SG Marathon is not that well organized at all! Since SG is not the coldest country in the region, common sense should tell you that you have to provide ample dehydration station, unfortunately somebody died on the 21 km…. And SG Marathon is 3 times more expensive than RIO’s.. So all in all, RIO is not really charging an arm and a leg, but take this payment as an insurance that the race would be at least safe to participants…

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