B2B sign-up woes part of 'industry-wide phenomenon'
CAPE ELIZABETH — A few hundred complaints about this year's TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K race registration have been resolved, according to race President David Weatherbie.
The online registration on March 15 filled up in a record 105 minutes, meaning some runners trying to register didn't have time to compete the form before the field's 6,000-runner cap was met. Weatherbie said race officials received a few hundred calls and e-mails that Sunday afternoon and the following Monday from registrants who either weren't able to sign up or weren't certain they'd been registered.
While a few hundred people were unable to complete registration in time, about the same number had duplicate entries — the Internet server was slow because of the high traffic volume, so when screens froze and registrants weren't sure what was happening, some re-entered their data.
The issues offset each other, Weatherbie said, so "every person we heard from in those two days has been able to get into the race."
Not all complaints heard after March 16 were resolved, Weatherbie said, because complaints received later were more subject to questions of validity.
"It's a blessing we were able to accommodate (the initial complaints), but on the other hand, it does raise concerns," Weatherbie said this week. "We need to re-evaluate how to go about the registration process in the future."
And, he added, because online registration problems have become an "industry-wide phenomenon," they need to be addressed by race officials nationwide.
The Peachtree Road Race, a 10K in Atlanta, recently closed its 45,000-person field in just five hours, Weatherbie said. And the Boston Marathon, he added, has seen more people qualify than can actually fit in the race.
Weatherbie said race officials have no intention of turning races into rock concerts. "We need to find a more orderly process to deal with the increasing demand for major road races in the country," he said.
In order to begin addressing these issues, race Director David McGillivray, who also directs the Boston Marathon and other elite races, has plans to meet with other top race directors in a summit later this year. Those directors may end up sitting down with the online registration companies involved "to figure out if there's a better way to go about it" so races don't close in mere hours, Weatherbie said.
Runners who were unable to register for the Beach to Beacon may still be able to sign up, despite the race being closed at 6,000 runners, Weatherbie also said. This year's beneficiary, Maine Handicapped Skiing, and eight prior race beneficiaries are allowed to raise funds from entries beyond the field size cap. More information about running for the charities can be found on the Beach to Beacon Web site, beach2beacon.org, under the "Charities" link.
Other runners who will be registered above the cap are the elite, world-class runners who typically headline the race. Which of the world's top runners will take part is often not known until a week before the event, Weatherbie said, because of changes in travel schedules and the runners' health.
Sarah Trent can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.