In Which Jenn Has Thoughts On runDisney Registration Dates

runDisney logo

runDisney recently released the dates for the 2017-2018 season – including registration dates. Guys, they have gotten BONKERS.

I mean, yeah, it was already a little nutty, signing up for a race in, say, March that wouldn’t actually be happening until November (to use Wine & Dine as an example – my records show public registration opened on Tuesday, March 29. It was actually supposed to be a week or two earlier but they pushed it back to accommodate race detail changes). Well, prepare to think of that as the good old days: this year you’ll be signing up for W&D in January.

That’s the new pattern across the board – all races now have a registration date that drops approximately 11 months in advance. Which is interesting because, unless I’m even further out of the loop than I realize, this is basically the opposite of what the runDisney community would prefer. It’s hard to know your schedule that far advance, and a lot can happen in a half year’s time. A lot of people also have to budget carefully for these trips and may not be prepared to drop the dough on registration that early, especially when those dates fall post-Christmas.

I casually tweeted my bewilderment about runDisney’s decisions and got a comprehensive response from DopeyRunr:

runDisney numbers

Aha. Money again. Hardly a surprise. And, okay, runDisney is a business, not a charitable organization. But I find the move odd nonetheless given the recent slowdown in race registrations as a whole.

In the past year, the only race I can remember selling out completely within hours is the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, which is boosted by its after party and gift card bonuses, plus in this past case those wanting to run an inaugural race challenge. By comparison, at the time of this writing the WDW Marathon Weekend – a race weekend that is happening in scarcely more than a month – still offers available registration for the marathon, Dopey Challenge, AND Goofy Challenge. The Star Wars – Light Side Half Marathon and 10K two weeks later are both still available. The Dark Side Half, 5K, and Half + 10K challenge? Still available. Tinker Bell? Half and challenge are yours for the running. Princess is sold out, but I don’t remember if that was immediate – perhaps a reader can tell us.

I remember when you couldn’t get into ANY half or challenge without hunching over your computer obsessively refreshing at the exact moment registration opened. And yet at the Marine Corps Marathon expo, the runDisney booth was offering discounted registration fees if you signed up for the marathon and its challenges or Avengers Half on site, with a free sling bag to boot.

I dunno, runDisney. Things trending as they are, you might want to rethink this one. Make that money, sure, but you might find it harder to do if you only focus on income and not what your customers actually want.

What do you think of the registration dates? Am I being too nitpicky? 

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  1. I don't quite understand all the money stuff in that twitter reply you got, but I can understand it being about the money. However, I think this would hurt sign ups more than help. Especially for people who might like to do the same race weekend each year. If you did Princess in February and then sign up was in July for the next year, you had to time recover (both physically and monetarily!). With sign ups being not too long after you get back you might not have the money to sign up right away.

  2. I completely agree – apologies if that wasn't clear in the post! If anything, I think it would help if they SHORTENED the window. I can kind of see why the full marathon might require six months out since some might be starting their training from scratch, but for the halves I feel like 3 or 4 months would suffice, and people would have a better idea of where they'll be in that time frame. I don't think this is a good move at all. 🙁

  3. Absolutely ridonkulous. Especially as you no longer have the option to defer should something happen. I've pretty much just come to accept the fact that runDisney really doesn't give a cat poop about the runners anymore. I get it, it's a business. However, you won't HAVE that business if you never listen to your customers. Peace out RunDisney, I'm done. At least until you come to your senses.

  4. Paid for Dumbo this week against my better judgement. They are pushing it. Spending that dough a week before Christmas….grrrr. If we were not perfect Dumbo's we might have refrained. Then beyond that we were planning on W&D this year. Well we get to return from WDW marathon weekend to pay another chunk??????

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