The Staten Island Runner


Purchase this poster and others, click here.

S.I. Runner


Email Exchange

Race Calendars

Race Results

Trivia Contest





Runner's Calculator


 S.I. Runner Mall

 Bulletin Board

Runners Do Know, Jack
by Glenn Ribotsky

June 24, 2002 - In response to the latter portion of Jack Minogue’s column of 6/15/02:

Mr. Minogue, “where does the money go?” , in regard to the Advance Memorial Day Run, is a very legitimate question, especially coming from runners who themselves have experience in putting on races. These runners aren’t stupid; they’re just doing the numbers. They see a race of over a thousand participants, for which the least expensive entry fee (if you choose the early Triple Crown option) is $14, and then after subtracting costs for T-shirts, mass mailings, trophies, an adequate but hardly colossal post-race spread, the computer scoring, the musicians (which I bet most runners find superfluous), etc., they know there should still be money in the till—if things were obtained in the thriftiest ways.

I myself believe that the race does run a deficit, but that this indicates more about the inefficiency and lack of imagination of its fund-raising operations than the scope of its expenses. Mr. Minogue mentions that “the current sponsors, the Advance and Staten Island University Hospital, pay the entire tab”. I have plenty of race organization experience, and that seems like far too short a sponsor list to me. Are these the only sponsors? Does the Advance solicit others? I find it hard to believe that many of the same businesses that advertise in Advance every day would not pony up some cash to get their names and logos emblazoned across the race literature, shirts, and/or boardwalk—enough of these and the Advance wouldn’t have to put in a dime. Even for such items as bagels and trophies, advertiser/publicity exchanges are possible. These are certainly done at other races, most of which at least break even, or show a small profit; such arrangements make those events, which are often designed to raise a fund surplus for charity, possible.

Admittedly, the Advance is not a non-profit that can solicit tax-deductible contributions. But it certainly has a large publicity platform to trade on for race-supporting cash and merchandise. Has the Marketing division, which produces the race, looked into this with all possible vigor? If it has difficulties, I’m sure that it can get help from many of the race-experienced local running organizations, if it would only ask them (though the Advance’s record of asking for help with race organization/administration, and of taking offered advice, is not good).

Oh, and by the way, what “community service”, as Mr. Minogue puts it, is the race providing? It does not raise funds for a scholarship, charity, or service organization. The Advance’s prime purpose in holding the race is to promote itself and its circulation. That is not necessarily an ignoble goal, but we should be spared platitudes.

--Glenn Ribotsky/NYRROA