It’s not often I get to add in a snap commentary on the fly, but I just saw this and decided to comment.
I just signed up for Warrior Dash as part of their Cyber Monday deal (which is pretty darn good if you ask me!) and I noticed something interesting when I went to check out: a 4-dollar parking fee. Now, I’ll be honest: my initial reaction is it wasn’t a big deal.
For all but one of the races I’ve done so far, I’ve gone by myself, and parking has usually cost 10 bucks, so for me, this is a steal! Well, after signing up, I went to Facebook to share something related and went to Warrior Dash’s Facebook page, to be met with this:
There you have it: someone upset that there is a parking fee. In a comment responding to this, a representative of Warrior Dash responded to the person directly and answered that they hoped it cleared things up. Well, it wasn’t enough as more people added to it, wanting to know the reason for this change. Warrior Dash later had to add the comment to the thread, and here is their response:
Hello everyone. We’d be happy to explain further.
In 2016, it is our goal to continue to provide you, our Warriors, the best possible event experience. One of the ways we aim to do this is to make the parking experience as smooth as possible so you can get to the start line as quickly as possible. Instead of a $10 parking charge per car (paid on-site on race day), we are adding a $4 per registration parking fee paid in advance during online registration.
This ensures the quickest ingress possible for you to the event because each car no longer has to stop, start, and pay, causing potential traffic back ups.Many Warriors forget to bring cash to the event, and instead rely on their credit card. This often causes additional delays for Warriors as they have to scramble to find $10, often putting them behind their own race-day schedule.
On average, 2.5 people carpool together to Warrior Dash. So, by dividing the $10 price by 2.5, we came to $4. This keeps the parking charge consistent with what has been in place in the past. In addition, spectators no longer have to pay for parking, and are still encouraged to join us in the festival free of charge.
Hope this further explains everyone.
So, there you have it. Now, even after that, there were still complaints from users on Facebook about the charge, especially that last part which says that spectators don’t have to pay for parking. So, what does your friendly correspondent think of this?
Well, as I mentioned above, I typically go to these events alone, so I personally save money by paying the fee upfront instead of paying cash on the day of the event. I see the point that those who carpool four or five people make though. It does seem a little irritating five people spend 20 bucks between them when they could’ve spent 10 bucks at the event. But what we have to remember is that Warrior Dash is an event put on by a company (Red Frog Events, LLC). They have to look at what makes the most sense for them as far as making a profit and still putting on an event that people are going to want to participate in. They ran the numbers. That’s what businesses do. They found an easy solution in this fee. Maybe it makes no sense for you who is driving with three other people, but to the guy like me who is usually alone or the pair that ride together, it’s a bargain. And they ran the numbers; it makes more sense to do the fee.
When I hit Savage Race and Rugged Maniac, which were held at the same venue in Florida, the setup was as follows: you’d have four to six people waiting at the entrance of the parking lot taking cash, then perhaps another four to six guiding drivers to their parking spaces. By not having cash collected at the front, you’ve four to six more sets of hands to do other things, like help with parking, help with registration, help at the festival area, and so on. The parking situation will still be taken care of, and there are now more possible ways for the event inside the gate (which is where it really matters) to be improved.
And on the spectators not paying for parking, well, that’s obvious: they want people to come watch it, so that next year, they might want to pay to run in it! Red Frog Events knows that most of their spectators are there to support their friends and family, and maybe they’ll spend a little bit in the festival area, but for the most part, no obstacle race aims to make a bundle off of spectators. It’s the racers where the money is made, and what better way to get people interested than to let them come and watch for free and get inspired?
Lastly, as in any business, there’s a little bit of give and take. Yes, parking may be charged upfront, but now Warrior Dash is offering transfers with no fees. Since this is my first Warrior Dash, I don’t know what the fee was in the past, but now, if you need to change your wave time, your date, or even give your spot to a friend because you can’t make it, you’ll only pay the difference (like from a standard wave to a preferred wave) with no other charges.
Look, I’m not made of money any more than any other mud run enthusiast is, but I’m looking at this from a different perspective. I do these races for the experience, and since Warrior Dash is the first obstacle race I’d ever heard of and I finally get a chance to do it, that’s what I’m looking at: the experience of it. If paying four bucks a head is “too much” for you to enjoy the experience, then sadly, that’s something I can’t offer help with. And neither can Warrior Dash. I’m excited to get my fuzzy helmet and my medal and add another T-shirt to my expanding collection. And believe me, four bucks for parking won’t deter me from it. And really, it shouldn’t deter you either. But that’s just my take.
Want more information? For a great read on this topic, check out this article from Christopher Stephens on Obstacle Racing Media. This has some great in-depth information on why certain companies charge fees at their obstacle race events.