NB Power Run: with coach Rio

Final Thoughts On Rising Registration Fees

It’s taken me a while to decide on what to say about this matter. As with anything concerning matters of passion and pocket, it’s difficult to separate emotion from fact.

Let me be clear on one thing, though. This is not a matter of warring PERSONALITIES (Kikay Runner vs. Coach Rio), as some may have painted it to be. I consider Rio a friend and I respect his accomplishments and what he has done for the running scene. Rather, this is a matter of clashing PRINCIPLES which needed to be addressed (keeping cost of entry into running low vs. offering bigger, better innovations).

I’m very thankful that Rio used the Run United blog conference to hold a dialogue with interested parties and address questions about how RunRio operates. He didn’t have to pay attention to me or what I say on this blog, but he analyzes all blog entries about his races, sees people’s comments on Facebook, and reads every private message to him even if he can’t reply to each one.

Races aren’t basic commodities and race organizers don’t have to show us their budgets and costing, but Rio offered to show it if I signed a nondisclosure agreement and agreed to organize a race on the same magnitude. However, that was not my intent. I have no desire to be a race organizer. I’m simply a runner, who has a blog, who is asking a question: “Why?”

I asked because I believe that running should be for everyone. When I heard of people stopping running and racing because the cost was getting to be prohibitively high for them, I sympathized with them. When I talked about races, people asked me why reg fees have become so high, and I didn’t have a definite answer to the question.

Rio said that last year’s registration prices had not been enough to cover his costs per runner. RunRio’s logistical expenses are: hydration, manpower, security, safety, venue and route, marketing and promotions, to name a few. I had no reason to doubt what he said, and thus no reason to probe the company’s expenses.

When Rio explained that he wanted to make races that would be excellent and internationally reknowned and competitive, I realized that the main target market of RunRio races are those people who can afford to go overseas and attend races there. They are those people who expect a certain quality at the races and can pay for it.

At the end of the day, RunRio is a business which has overhead costs and employees, and I respect that.

I think other race organizers have their own reasons behind why they organize races, and it reflects in how they price the cost of entry. It’s up to runners to decide what they are running for, and what they are willing to pay for.

I just spoke up because I thought it was the right thing to do. Not every Juan dela Cruz has a blog, right?

NB Power Run: with coach Rio

Kikay Runner with Coach Rio in 2009

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About Noelle De Guzman

Noelle De Guzman is a freelance writer and recreational athlete with over 12 years of experience in wellness and endurance sport. She believes sport and an active healthy lifestyle changes lives.

25 thoughts on “Final Thoughts On Rising Registration Fees

  1. Kikayrunner, I love your review. well for my part why we make simple things be complicated. You right “It’s up to runners to decide what they are running for, and what they are willing to pay for.”

  2. JayRUN, that’s what I’ve been saying all this time. But runners also have a right to make an informed decision. Getting the information and the reason behind certain circumstances is the key.

  3. I believe running events, like other activities, have different target participants nowadays just like cars that do the same thing (transport) but come in different packages.

    There was a time when running was just for the “pure runners”. Those who run for the love of it. But as the sport bloomed came the casual and even the curious ones.

    For a pure runner, what is important is that you get to start and finish the race safely with enough hydration stations and accurate timing. They really don’t care much about the loot bags, raffles, and program after.

    But for starters and casual runners, you need something else to entice them back. So that you still have something to look forward to after a thousand people overtook you.

    And I believe this is the market Runrio events target. I think the bigger issue here is that there are very few events now that caters primarily to the pure runners. Coach Rio has a dream for running here in the Philippines. It just so happened that it comes with a cost.

    At the end of the day, I just wish Coach Rio organizes “barebones” events once in a while because not everyone wants and can afford a BMW. Alot of us still prefers to use ordinary sedans. As long as it serves it purpose, we wont ask for anything more.

  4. “It’s up to runners to decide what they are running for, and what they are willing to pay for.”

    Correct. Let market forces dictate prices. Lets trust the public to be more discerning.

  5. Events can definitely be made more affordable. But as long as people run at the prices being charged, organizers will charge what the market will bear. Rio earned the right to charge more than a number of organizers. I don’t think anyone can just step up and match his events, charge the same amount and expect the same response.

  6. Running now is more commercialized, more complex and profit generating business.. I used to remember 2 to 3 years ago, Fun runs used to be for all walks of life . Registration fees is around 300.00 ( average ) for 21 k and above despite of small turn around of sponsors.

    With the advent of publicity and backing of big companies to boot, fun runs now is marketed to elite and wealthy people..


  7. Running is still for everyone but races are not. Running is free and will always be free (just go to UP) but races are not.

    What Rio is doing is organizing a race with the same standards as international races. Not all runners can afford to join Boston or NY marathon and I commend Rio for organizing races that we can all be truly proud of. Para ka na ding naka-experience ng Boston marathon, ika nga.

    Neil, AFAIK, Rio is also race director of Milo. It’s still P100 reg fee.

  8. “I realized that the main target market of RunRio races are those people who can afford to go overseas and attend races there. They are those people who expect a certain quality at the races and can pay for it.”

    That may very well be his pricing strategy. Nothing bad about it. Many premium brands do the same to convey the impression of quality and exclusivity.

  9. I love your review, and every one of us has the right to decide on which running event will join, pero totoo nagtataas na ang reg fees, I started to run in 2010 sa runrio event rin sa century tuna superbuds, and d pa ganun kataas ang reg fees nun… be wise na lng on choosing the races…

  10. Running in races is like attending parties. Some parties are free, some parties require you to pay a lot of money. Like all parties, it’s the company we keep and the moments we treasure at the end of the day. That’s what’s more important.

  11. “I realized that the main target market of RunRio races are those people who can afford to go overseas and attend races there. They are those people who expect a certain quality at the races and can pay for it.”

    Hindi din. Those who join Runrio races are those who wish to attend prestigious running events abroad but cant because of how expensive it is. At least, we get to attend races here sa Pinas na kapareho ng level sa abroad pero at a fraction of a cost.

  12. agree!!! liked all your response and opinion regarding the raising registration fees on fun runs / races…THANKS!
    Running is “free” but joining races are not… it’s a matter of choice…. (madami naman dyan….choose WISELY …)

  13. Thanks to bloggers like yourself for writing about rising registration costs. I believe runrio has to charge high for the RU trilogy to cover for the expenses for the on-race support of thousands of Unilab employees running for free.

  14. Re-post. Sorry but I originally posted this in the other earlier similar topic blog entry.

    Thank you Noelle for voicing out the concerns of runners on rising registration fees. I have to commend Coach Rio’s group for staging well organized, safe and efficient running events in the past. Of which i have been patronizing religiously since I find the event having a good value for money. At the old rate of PhP 750 for a half marathons, I think that’s good enough for the quality of event that I am getting.

    The staging cost might be going up bec there’s a lot of bells and whistles being added into the events which real runners don’t really need. People lining up in the Photo Vendo longer than the actual time of their run. I can’t understand that. Loot bags?? Are runners deprived of kiddie parties when they were growing up that’s why they want loot bags after their runs?

    I am skipping RU1, can’t justify the increase of reg fee to myself. Safe and efficient runs need not be too expensive.

  15. You are all free to choose which races you want to run. As for me, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

    The reg prices should stabilize, if competing organizers understand the sentiments of many runners. So make your voices (and wallets) heard!

  16. Oops, I misread your comment here. Yeah, I guess it was you who posted in PF. Would just like to confirm that Unilab employees pay for their own race kits out of their own pockets. Unilab is subsidizing by giving P100 off but that’s it. Also, the company does not require all the employees to attend RU races “para pampadami ng registered participants.” Employees are free to join or not join the race.

  17. Apologies as well for perpetuating the misinformation. I just thought that if Unilab employees were being given free kits, they wouldn’t be paid for from the reg fees of other participants. Rather, I believed the company would pay for them (coz they don’t get any % of the reg fee charged).

    I tried my best to correct my comment on the PF website but it wasn’t approved. Anyway I hope the spirit of my comment stands.

  18. Yes It’s a business nga. And running is for everyone but NOT racing. I mean, we are not required to join races if we choose to run. They (race organizers) did not ask us to run, and certainly not to join their races. It is our decision to do so. Anyway, ask yourself din mga fellow runners, did you run for a singlet? a medal? a loot bag? to drink pocari sweat or powerade? Di ba, for the love of running dapat (like Michael Jordan’s For the Love of The Game)..

  19. Totally agree with you voicing out your opinion on the rising registration fees. I know for a fact that a huge chunk of these fees (if not all) goes into the costs of the race organizers. In fact, most companies have to shoulder a large chunk and charge these to themselves as marketing expenses.

    Unfortunately, despite the rise in prices, people (myself included) still suffer from the “if you build it, they will come” syndrome. These races with rising prices still get a high number of runners. Nevertheless, that does not justify the price increases.

    I don’t think we need to have internationally-renowned races since our local running community is big enough to keep these races going and growing over the years.

    Really hope these companies hear shout-outs like yours and find alternatives to spare runners the additional expenses.

  20. There used to be a time when i joined a race (almost) every week and afford it! Anyway, thanks for the voice out noelle, many are thinking about it but your one of the few who thought “loud”. i totally agreed with you on this one!

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