SBD/September 4, 2013/Events and Attractions

Competitor Group Ceases Race Funding For Elite Runners In North American Races

Competitor Group "will no longer pay appearance fees or travel expenses for elite runners in its North American races, effective immediately," according to Scott Douglas of RUNNER'S WORLD. Competitor "will still pay prize money at its races; many offer $1,000 for first place." Competitor President & CEO Scott Dickey said that the company "will also retain its relationships with a handful of well-known elites, including Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher." Dickey: "From time to time we will bring in runners who have some of the highest profiles." He added that the well-known runners Competitor will continue to work with "will not only appear at races and race expos, but also meet with sponsors, develop training plans, and/or develop content for Competitor's media outlets." Dickey listed Hall, Goucher, Deena Kastor, Meb Keflezighi, Frank Shorter and Rod Dixon as "current and past elites who Competitor will continue to work with." Douglas noted one "near-future race affected by the decision about appearance fees" is the Sept. 15 Rock ’n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. Competitor has "told runners' agents that they will be reimbursed for travel already booked to the event, and that already-invited elites are welcome to seek the event's prize money, but that appearance fees already agreed upon will not be paid." Dickey said that the half-marathon in Virginia Beach last week was "unaffected by the new policy" (RUNNERSWORLD.com, 8/31).

BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS? In Utah, Amy Donaldson wrote, "The truth is that CGI built the RNR series on the backs of runners like Keflezighi." Having elite runners in town "means a lot more media coverage." That coverage "attracts recreational runners," and having "thousands of people sign up for a race that they know they’ll never win is how a company like CGI makes millions." If Competitor is "really interested in investing in the back-of-the-pack, they should do more to put us in touch with and in the same room as the sport’s most elite athletes." Donaldson: "I don’t want more bananas and bagels; I want to an hour with Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor" (DESERET NEWS, 9/2).
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