Road Runner’s Club of America Issues Statement Regarding Racepass

"This service presents a violation of the RRCA's insurance program requirement to obtain waivers directly from all event participants."

From RRCA.org

The Road Runners Club of America is the oldest and largest national association of running organizations dedicated to growing the sport of running since 1958.  RRCA membership ​includes running clubs, training programs, running events, runners, walkers, coaches, sponsors, and supporters.

The Road Runner’s Club of America (RRCA) has made the following statement regarding Racepass: I have bolded the sections in red for emphasis.

 

RRCA Position Statement on RacePass

You may have read or heard that a new service called RacePass has been launched. Your races might be listed on their site without your knowledge or approval. They claim to offer a race entry subscription service for runners, but this is not an event specific race registration provider. Think of them as being like a travel agent that books an entry on behalf of a participant through your race registration site.

At this time RacePass is not affiliated nor endorsed by any officer, employee or agent of the RRCA.

We have been in contact with Star Insurance to review this new service on behalf of our members. This service presents a violation of the RRCA’s insurance program requirement to obtain waivers directly from all event participants. Use of an official online registration provider contracted by an RRCA member is acceptable for the purposes of collecting waivers from event participants. Accepting a waiver for a participant that was agreed to by an unrelated, third-party does not comply with our waiver requirements for the insurance program.

Upon legal review of this service by RRCA legal counsel at Webster, Chamberlain & Bean, concerns have been raised that the RacePass Terms of Service do not explicitly grant a proxy for RacePass to sign waivers on behalf of their subscribers.

To help protect race organizers and to help comply with RRCA insurance requirements, it is recommended that race directors include two option boxes on their online registration forms, one of the boxes must be checked or the entry can be rejected. Option box one would contain a statement that the individual completing the race entry form is completing the entry for himself/herself. The second option box would contain language clearly outlining that a third party is registering a participant.

The following sample language could be included for the second option box, “This entry form is being completed by a third party agent, and the third party agent agrees to indemnify and hold harmless (YOUR RACE SPECIFIC NAME) for any misrepresentations on this form, including failure to have the legal authorization and/or proxy to provide information about the race and to agree to race waivers on behalf of the runner, and for any other liability associated with the runner’s participation in the race/race activities and the third party’s services on behalf of the runner.”

If you do decide to allow for a third-party registration for your event, you will need to develop a mechanism to collect waivers directly from the event participant during the bib assignment/pick-up process to be in compliance with the RRCA’s waiver requirement for the liability insurance program.

Please direct any RacePass listing questions to support@racepass.com

UPDATE: See Blog link below for Racepass’s response

My Thoughts

I previously posted Racepass’s answers to my questions. They steered clear of providing details to most of my questions. There are a couple sections I want to comment on:

As part of our journey to build Racepass, we have spoken to hundreds of runners, running shops, races, bloggers and other companies within the community.  A handful of running enthusiasts and influencers were invited to test out the platform prior to our public launch. We call this a beta test and it gives folks an opportunity to test out a product before it is available to the general public. We incorporated much of their feedback ahead of our public launch

They would not name a single one of these influencers. Nor have I heard from anyone that claims that they were contacted prior to launch. I would hope that if they spoke to 100’s of people in the community, that this would include the races. To date, none have stepped forward to say that they have partnered with Racepass and Racepass has not named any partners . I have not heard from a single runner that claims to have purchased a pass.

When I asked how many runners signed up they responded:

We do not disclose sales information publicly. What we can tell you is that immediately following the public launch the number of site visitors to racepass.com  quadrupled which is an strong indication to us of interest. 

I checked their site stats. There are many services out there that I have found provide relatively accurate traffic stats.

According to similarweb.com, their total daily visits peeked at just under 1000 following their launch and corresponding coverage of their press release.

 

I do not believe that Racepass is a scam. What I do believe is that the founders saw the success of services like ClassPass and thought they could create something similar with Racepass. But,  I believe that they failed to properly research before launching their site. I do not know who they spoke with prior to the launch. But had they spoken with enough races or people at companies like RunSignUp or RRCA they would have immediately realized that they needed to have the races on board through formal partnerships before offering their passes for sale to the public.

Racepass is not affiliated with Classpass.

 

From their press release

Racepass was founded by Chase Rigby, Tom Hammel and Thomas Hanson, three Googlers and running enthusiasts who were frustrated with how complicated and expensive it was to sign up for distance races and recognized a demand for syndicated sponsorship in the industry. They built Racepass to bring down the barriers to entry and get more people running more races.

I struggled to find much in the way of running history from these running enthusiasts.  I  have never heard a single runner that is frustrated with the entry process. The information that is collected is necessary and varies from race to race. Are some races expensive?  Yes. But, I do not see Racepass fixing that if they are paying full price for entries themselves.

It is my opinion and recommendation that Racepass needs to take down the available passes until they can guarantee that the races will accept entries. I am doubtful that races would ever get on board with Racepass on a large scale.

EDIT: Racepass is still offering the passes, but has suspended accepting registrations.

View story at Medium.com

Upon talks with members of the RRCA, it was clear that they could see the value of such an offering but the legal hurdles and insurance risks are just too high. Because of this we decided to change our approach to registration, and ensure every runner signs their own waiver instead of Racepass signing on their behalf.

 

If you would like to make a contribution to support the site, please choose an amount below and click on the link.

Contributions go towards general site expenses related to running the website and the investigations. They also go towards compensating those that help pull race data, etc.

-Derek


One Time Contribution

 

 

Categories
Racepass
15 Comments on this post.
  • Banrion
    18 May 2017 at 11:17 am

    This is just the silicon valley ‘disruption’ model in practice. It is easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. No one from RacePass is going to be on site at these races to deal with runners. When runners show up and find out that the race never accepted their registration, it is the race directors and the races themselves that are going to be the focus of the bad PR and pissed off participants. RacePass has no skin in the game, so they don’t care how race day happens or doesn’t. They got your money, their job is done.

  • James
    18 May 2017 at 11:53 am

    I’m surprised that ClassPass would launch something like this without thinking it through properly or at least getting the race organizations onboard.

    Close to me the site lists three New York Road Runner races that all happened in the past and one of them is by ballot and qualification only (NYC Half). What’s more, if you had entered all three via NYRR directly it would have been cheaper than using this classpass site.

    • derek murphy
      18 May 2017 at 11:55 am

      They are not affiliated with Classpass.

      • derek murphy
        18 May 2017 at 12:11 pm

        There is no affiliation. The owners of Racepass have no connection to Classpass. There certainly are similarities with the name, concept and logo..but no connection.

  • James
    18 May 2017 at 12:04 pm

    I’m not so sure Derek. Same naming convention, similar concept, comparable website design. It is not coincidental.

    Maybe an ‘independent’ offshoot at most.

    • randy
      18 May 2017 at 12:43 pm

      No, it’s NOT a coincidence; these RacePass chumps are just run-of-the-mill hacks

  • ShowMetheMoney
    18 May 2017 at 2:49 pm

    ” I have never heard a single runner that is frustrated with the entry process.”

    You need to get out more!! There are two challenge series in Southern California where if you run all three races you get a challenge medal. The three races are separate organizers and each has their own entry process. But, they do not have an option where a runner can sign up for all three races at once! That is timing consuming and just a waste of time.

    • randy
      18 May 2017 at 3:45 pm
      • Running Momma
        18 May 2017 at 6:44 pm

        I got stung by Active about 4 years ago. The money came straight of my credit card as it was a USA based transaction it stood out like a sore thumb. I phoned them up and they gave me their sales pitch, as I’m in Canada none of the specials they were pushing were valid in Canada. I stood my ground and told them I wanted my money back for I was reporting it to my bank as fraud. They gave me my money back.

    • Urban B
      18 May 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Yeah, I have to agree. Some races are no trouble. Some are god awful.

  • Urban B
    18 May 2017 at 9:37 pm

    I’m surprised they got to launch before they realized each individual would have to sign their own waiver. If they find a way to fix that problem, though, I think it will survive.

  • Tarq
    19 May 2017 at 8:32 am

    derek murphy,

    I like your enthusiasm, but when I read a line that is this ignorant – “I have never heard a single runner that is frustrated with the entry process” then I question your informed opinion. My job is to focus group runners, be at running events, talk to runners of all ages and globally, and YES there are several runners that complain about entry process and services from races ranging from cumbersome, having to log through facebook or Google Plus, how to keep anonymity, etc.

    I think you need to get out more and be a bit more open minded. Just an FYI, runners “complain” about EVERYTHING.

    • derek murphy
      19 May 2017 at 8:53 am

      Maybe I overstated. But, I can only speak to my experience. I receive emails about all aspects of racing. The online registration process is not something That I ever recall receiving a complaint about.

      I’m sure if you ask runners or deal with this process directly through focus groups, etc that there are criticisms. But overall, I don’t think that is a complaint that is near the top of most runners’ lists.

      • joeconn4
        19 May 2017 at 11:38 am

        Derek – I can back up what Tarq is asserting. We produce 4 races annually plus a kids running program. We receive negative feedback about this on a regular basis from entrants. We also deal with a lengthy “abandoned registration” file once we get past the first couple of pages of an online registration. We’re all asking for more info these days as we get more sophisticated in the things we need to ask for. I long for the days of a simple 5 line paper registration form.

      • Urban B
        23 May 2017 at 5:21 pm

        Derek – To be fair, registration isn’t what you’re known for. You’re not the guy I would call to complain about that. Also, registration is the most removed aspect of the events. But I assure you it can be a pain.

        More importantly, it’s enough of an inconvenience for people with extra money to pay someone else to do it. Think about it… I can book an entire vacation from my desk in less than an hour, but travel agents still exist (and can do well). There is no level of convenience, no matter how small, that people won’t pay for.

    RELATED BY