Thursday, January 19, 2012

Does TNT Fill Up Races Months Ahead of Time?

Wow, where do people come up with this stuff? I mean, seriously, where do they get these ideas and then talk about them as if they are the truth, getting others to buy in? So, out on a running board was this comment: "TNT people are what probably forced the Chicago Marathon to fill - screwing people who didn't enter in time so these fat asses get bussed to the 20 mile mark." And this comment: "They end up selling out races five months in advance even though many are unfit and can't complete training and many drop out cause they can't hit fundraising targets." I not only call BS on this one: I call double BS!

There is one event - the Nike Women's Marathon and Half-Marathon in San Francisco - that Team in Training might limit other racers in. This race is a major fundraiser for TNT, and last year, about 18% of the finishers were in the purple. But selling out the Chicago Marathon? Really??? That race does sell out, and it allows 40,000 entrants. In 2011, 426 of these participants were with Team in Training, raising $900,000 for blood cancer research and patient support and advocacy. There is simply no way that slots reserved for TNT sold this race, or others with the possible exception of Nike, out. Big races are popular and you have to enter early. That is just the way it is. Even the Boston Marathon, with its strict time requirements, has more qualified people wanting to run it than it has spots for.

Here's another one: the Shamrock Marathon and Half Marathon. The half sold out several weeks ago. I signed up a couple of weeks before. Yeah, I would rather have not put that $100 on my credit card just before Christmas, but it was either that or not run it. Everyone knows that this race fills up early. There are a total of 150 TNT people in these two races, which allow 7,000 for the half-marathon and 4,000 for the marathon. Most of the 150 TNTers are in the half marathon. So is someone who waited until January to sign up and got frozen out going to blame one of the 120 or so purple people from freezing him or her out of a race with 7,000 spots? If so, then they are just not talking sense.

Now, to the comment TNT folks taking away slots and then not completing training or dropping out for fundraising reasons, this is just not true. About 12 weeks before our race, we either drop or recommit. Until that time, LLS has not registered us for the race and we have not taken a slot. Once you recommit, you are going, even if you fill the minimum fundraising yourself. Even if you get injured after that point, you will still go, and yes, you would take a race spot as of that point. I have rarely seen it happen that somone is hurt too badly to not do the race. If you get an injury once you've signed up, you will take care of it and do everything you can to still do the race, even if you have to slow down. Someone who cannot complete the training will usually realize it before the recommitment point and drop well before they take up a race entry. I'll be discussing fundraising minimums and recommittment in a later post.

Well, so ends my latest post refuting these ridiculous claims that Team in Training is some kind of scam. No, 464 TNT runners and walkers didn't force the 40,000 slot Chicago marathon to fill up and screw all the "more deserving" runners who had not entered in time. Races are getting popular, and most races do a pretty good job of letting you know when they fill. If you don't enter in time - don't blame Team in Training as a convenient scapegoat.


TNTcoach Ken said...

Hey, we have a local event that is sold-out and it happens to be a TNT event! Pretty fishy to me........... LOL

Racn4acure said...

All you purple b*****ds messing things up for us real runners! LOL

Trevor said...

Not to mention that the BAA sets up the number of charity spots available for the Boston Marathon and dictates the minimum fundraising for each charity. No way TNT's 150 spots force a sell out. Also, several of those 150 spots went to Boston Qualifiers who couldn't get in otherwise. If anything, it opens up spots in what would otherwise be sold out races to runners if they really want to do them.