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Discussion: Even dead people pay more to run than orienteers

in: Orienteering; General;

Apr 18, 2012 6:20 PM # 
TomN:
Zombie Runs These guys recently won a prize for the best business plan in a Univ. of Maryland competition. And it's easy to see why: at these prices, they're printing money. For their first race, they paid people to be zombies, but they quickly discovered that people will pay as much or more to be zombies as they will to be runners. There's a race near you, for a mere $77 entry fee. Or you can just watch, for $22. Enter now, they all sell out. I guess what we needed all along is a few zombies in the woods to put orienteering in the big league. And they'll gladly pay to be there!
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Apr 18, 2012 6:30 PM # 
JanetT:
What, Vampire-O isn't enough anymore?
:-)
Apr 18, 2012 6:58 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
I feel guilty telling new folks it's ten bucks for non members at our local meets, in case they don't like it and feel cheated. Then I think about charity 5ks, zombie runs, and mud runs and feel better.
Apr 18, 2012 7:07 PM # 
andrewd:
that is an outrageously easy way to make money, I'm in the wrong business
Apr 18, 2012 7:42 PM # 
blegg:
I feel guilty telling new folks it's ten bucks for non members at our local meets, in case they don't like it and feel cheated.

That sentiment might might have less to do with cost, and more to do with how effective the standard W/Y/O course selection is for creating a fun, engaging, and appropriate beginner experience.
Apr 18, 2012 7:44 PM # 
guskov:
@MrWonderful what, even after going fishing in the swamp for the lost SI-box on a weekday?
Apr 18, 2012 8:05 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
I wore some knee high waders. I only once feared they would go under, like they did picking up #40 after all you guys said it was wrong.

RE: W/Y/O, for me, I think map walking O/G/R with an experienced friend would've been a better intro. I wanted epic terrain and a nice afternoon in the woods.

The local adventure racing outfit and o club are having a hands on clinic attached to our next o meet. We will have to see the rentention rate from that versus "hey, try white!".
Apr 18, 2012 8:34 PM # 
haywoodkb:
In our club, one price buys the map, and you can do as many courses as you like. We ask that all newbies do the white course as an intro. After that experienced hikers and AR folks can go up to orange, or as much as they can handle.
Apr 18, 2012 8:47 PM # 
yurets:
@haywoodkb

That is incorrect. I checked with your President for the meet last December in Sweetwater park: The fee is charged separately for each course.
Apr 19, 2012 1:00 AM # 
haywoodkb:
Attack Point!
Apr 19, 2012 4:18 AM # 
tRicky:
We had complaints when our summer series events went up to A$10. I'm mildly confident you can run more than one course in our state without paying more, provided you make it back from the first one in time.
Apr 19, 2012 6:14 AM # 
GregBalter:
@yurets :It looks like every time you catch people misleading the public or openly lying, they start screaming that they have being attackpointed :)
Apr 19, 2012 1:12 PM # 
Bernard:
zombie runs are a fun novelty. Something you do once or occasionally. So you deal with the cost. For the many where orienteering is a lifestyle, some of the insultingly high local meet fees and eye-popping A-meet fees add up to way more than you will ever pay for the zombie runs.
Apr 19, 2012 1:56 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
What do you consider insultingly high for local meets and for A meets?
Apr 19, 2012 2:36 PM # 
Bash:
And what's an appropriate insultingly low value to place on volunteer time - after the mappers and any permit fees have been paid, SI gear has been updated, maps have been printed and insurance has been purchased?
Apr 19, 2012 2:56 PM # 
Tundra/Desert:
insultingly high local meet fees and eye-popping A-meet fees add up to way more than you will ever pay for the zombie runs

Let's see... in California, I can do a Zombie run for $77 (advance-reg price), or I can do an entire season of local orienteering events for... $77! (at member prices; no advance reg). I'm sure the situation is similar in most of the locations where zombies and mudders roam; perhaps the local-event season would be slightly more than a single mudder, but not much more. What is it about $7 that is insulting and who is being insulted indeed?

For A event costs, I would suggest guesstimating the number of work hours required to put on the weekend, and then do the same for a zombie/mudder. You'd get an order of magnitude difference. I would then suggest looking at the cost of a gas tank for a roundtip to a neighboring-state A meet.
Apr 19, 2012 4:37 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
The zombie run I priced was $95, for which I could do either the spring or fall season at my club at non member prices while renting a compass and e punch.

For the Pig, I drove down and camped, and spent more on transportation and lodging than I did for the four A meet races.
Apr 19, 2012 4:41 PM # 
Sergey:
It is required 20-30 high quality orienteering starts per year to grow into an elite athlete. Cost of one start in the USA including traveling costs is ~$500. Amounts to $10-15K/year.

Solution: Move to one of the European orienteering center with proximity of high quality events, ex, Scandinavia or Switzerland.
Apr 19, 2012 4:49 PM # 
Sergey:
Orienteering family with 2 kids is trying to enjoy local bi-weekly events at $12/start. They spend additionally ~$100 on gas and other travel costs (typical for some big club areas). Cost for the family 26x(4x$12+$100)=$3848. Given that we don't spend more than 5% of our income on hobbies (althougn some will do) -> their family income should be >80K/year.

Conclusion: Orienteering is too expensive for the majority of the USA population.
Apr 19, 2012 5:08 PM # 
jtorranc:
Which club is this that charges $12 per start for junior members (or is it $15 for adult members and $9 for juniors or something like that to average 12?) and holds their local events, on average, $100 in round trip driving costs away from their members? Assuming a reasonably fuel-efficient vehicle, you can go pretty far for $100.
Apr 19, 2012 5:37 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Cost for the family 26x(4x$12+$100)=$3848

That's for all four people, including two adults. At $9 per junior start (using Jon's numbers), that's $884 per kid, orienteering 26 times per year (per Sergey's formula).

For youth sports, that is ridiculously cheap. Consider this.
Apr 19, 2012 5:42 PM # 
Sergey:
@John
I always thought that travel costs include in addition to gas at minimum car amortization, repair, and maintenance.

For example, BAOC regularly puts events 1-2 hour one way drive and charges on average $10-12/start. Higher for non-members. Juniors at 1/2.

I should, probably, add in 4 pairs of O shoes, 2 O suits, 1/2 of compass, and 1/2 of SI stick per year to add ~$600 more.

Not that clubs charge outrageously high for their events. I believe they charge way too low. But the real costs of doing orienteering in the USA is prohibitevely high for majority of the population. This is reality of O that requires substantial travel.

Without government subsidy orienteering sport will continue the same pace in the country.
Apr 19, 2012 5:47 PM # 
Sergey:
@Pink Socks
Yep, yep! "A healthy income is required to literally have some skin in this game."
Apr 19, 2012 6:06 PM # 
jtorranc:
@John
I always thought that travel costs include in addition to gas at minimum car amortization, repair, and maintenance.


I didn't say otherwise. I just think those are pretty minor on a per mile basis compared to gas, assuming you don't own the car exclusively for the purpose of orienteering-related transport.

Anyone care to argue, BTW, that downhill skiing and golf aren't too expensive for the majority of the US population if orienteering is? Going by their participant numbers, we'd have a whole lot of room for growth if orienteering being expensive was the only difficulty.
Apr 19, 2012 6:29 PM # 
Sergey:
@John
Ownership costs are way outweight gas costs per mile basis. For example, see
http://www.piercetransit.org/rideshare/costs.htm

At average $0.70/mile $100 will give you 140 miles round trip or 70 miles one way which is typical for BAOC or any other large urban area.

And I do beleive that most of non-intramural sports are too expensive for families in the USA, including orienteering. Fortunately for intramural sports they are subsidized by government.

BTW, both skiing and golf are subsidized by both municipalities and government.

Plus orienteerers are not friendly crowd :)
Apr 19, 2012 6:35 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
5ks aren't subsidized, cost 2x a non member e punch start, and yet I have my pick of a half dozen within an hour drive this weekend. Half of those probably are off from 5.0 km by more than the total misplacement of all forty flags at the o meet this weekend.
Apr 19, 2012 6:43 PM # 
Sergey:
5Ks are not subsidized? They use paved roads that cost upward of $1mln/K and maintained by municipalities using taxes :) Per km2 of subsidization orienteering is many orders of maginute less subsidized than road races.

That is why urban rogains are so much better in generating income and attracting bigger crowds :)
Apr 19, 2012 8:18 PM # 
jtorranc:
@Sergey

I stand partially corrected. However, quoting the link you gave "Taxes, depreciation, finance charges, registration, insurance and license fees are ownership costs and are incurred regardless of how often you drive your vehicle. Operating costs including gas, oil, maintenance and tires are incurred for each mile you drive.". The $0.70/mile figure you're quoting isn't the marginal cost per additional mile driven. For that, the relevant figure is the Average Operating Costs Only per Mile, which is dominated by the cost of oil and gas, though not quite as much so as I would have naively guessed (gas and oil being about two thirds of the total).

Also, regarding "...140 miles round trip or 70 miles one way which is typical for BAOC or any other large urban area. ", only one QOC-owned map* is 70 miles driving or more from Washington, DC, and we haven't held an event on it since 2008, largely on that account. Talking a quick look at our web site for venues and Google maps, it looks as though ~90% of our active maps are 37 miles or less one way from DC. Distances are bigger out west, I know, but you should keep in mind that isn't the case everywhere.

* There is another about 75 miles driving away but it's technically owned by DOD and we held an event on it in 2011 but not in 2010 nor is it on the 2012 schedule, partly because it got hit pretty hard by Hurricane Irene so apparently the woods are full of downed trees.

Addendum: just to make sure I'm not being blinded by east coast parochialism, I checked out several OCIN maps I've run on in Flying Pigs. As far as I can tell, I've never been more than 50 miles driving distance from downtown Cincinnati while running at Flying Pig.
Apr 19, 2012 8:36 PM # 
jjcote:
I wonder how much it would cost to become an elite zombie runner. Or an elite zombie.
Apr 20, 2012 12:48 AM # 
tRicky:
I was going to ask how much it would cost to drive to all twelve Zombie Runs advertised in the link but I don't care much for this thread anymore.
Apr 20, 2012 3:32 AM # 
blairtrewin:
Probably quite a bit if you're starting from Perth, especially if you count the cost of making your vehicle sufficiently amphibious to be able to cross the Pacific Ocean.
Apr 20, 2012 4:03 AM # 
tRicky:
Don't be a fool, Trewin. I'd swim there and carry the car on my back, that's how awesome I am.
Apr 20, 2012 4:19 AM # 
MrRogaine:
I wonder what a complete newbie would make of all this "discussion"?
Apr 20, 2012 11:53 AM # 
Becks:
My credit card has been taken what I consider to be a bit of a pounding from O' fees this month, with West Point and West Mass 5 Day just entered.

BUT!

I have still spent less for 8 sure to be really fun races than my lab mate just spent on the one Tough Mudder he's running in two weeks and has forgotten to train for.

Considering that Georgia has been the only significant travel expense (if we weren't orienteering other weekends we'd be driving around those distances looking for fun places to hike anyway) this season, I'd say it was all very much worth it. Perhaps I live in a lucky place for O'.
Apr 20, 2012 1:57 PM # 
Tundra/Desert:
140 miles round trip or 70 miles one way which is typical for BAOC

That's off by at least a factor of 1.5 unless you don't live in the Bay Area proper. If like the majority of BAOC members you live in the South Bay, only the farthest-out Bay Area maps are that far, so it should average to about 80 miles roundtrip (including only Bay Area events, not Tahoe).

This discussion thread is closed.