Racepass Launches Subscription-Based Annual Pass for Runners
Offering discounted fees and simplified registration for races worldwide
Last week Racepass launched, a subscription-based annual pass for runners of distance races. Starting at $195 per year, the entry level Racepass covers the registration costs for any three races out of a list of more than 5,000 races worldwide. In addition to discounted registration to make running races more affordable, Racepass hopes to simplify the online registration process for races. Racepass covers fun runs, 5K, 10K, half marathons and full marathons.
The company was started by three runners – Chase Rigby, Tom Hammel and Thomas Hanson – who wanted to reduce the barriers to entry for runners.
"As runners, it was obvious to us that the simplistic nature of running wasn't reflected in the racing industry. With Racepass we want to encourage people to run more races, help race directors lower the cost of acquiring race registrants and give race sponsors and athletic brands a more efficient advertising solution," said Chase Rigby in a statement.
At launch, Racepass offers three subscription packages for varying levels of runners:
- The Contender, $195 a year for three races
- The Athlete, $295 a year for five races
- The Pro, $695 a year for unlimited races, currently sold out
Racepass, available for runners 18 years and older, is currently a web-based application, but the company is working on a mobile app. The company does not offer a free trial, but subscribers can cancel their subscription at any time. Runners can find races near them online at Racepass.com.
On Racepass’s Medium page, Rigby said the company has hundreds of runners signing up every day, and they are getting good feedback as they plan additional features including a list-based search, a news feed of races, one-click registration and team creation, and tools for race directors and sponsors.
“We’re still a small and growing team, so bear with us as we try to get it right,” Rigby wrote. “We know we’re the new kids on the block with a lot of buzz, so we hope we can move quickly, act on your feedback, continually improve our product and not disappoint.”
Brent Knudsen, founder of Partnership Capital Growth, managing director of Financo and Racepass advisor commented on the new company.
“Racepass is poised to create a new racing paradigm. The racing industry is a multi-billion dollar market with untapped potential for a technology platform that can organize race information across the world and allow users to discover races and promote the sport,” Knudsen said.
One news outlet, Marathon Investigation, has voiced concerns about Racepass. Of particular note is the idea that, as a third party, Racepass is listing races and accepting registration fees for races without the prior consent or knowledge of race organizers:
“Race officials are taking exception with a third party accepting entries to their races. One race official whose races are on the site said “We wouldn’t accept registrations via third party”. Another posted in a Facebook group that they will be reviewing the language on their waiver to make sure that it requires that the runner fill out and agree to the waiver themselves. Yet another has already sent a cease and desist letter,” said Marathon Investigation.
A May 12 post on Marathon Investigation’s Facebook page contained 43 comments running the gamut from positive to angry. Here is a small excerpt of the comments, including Racepass’s response:
In Racepass’s Medium post, it admits that it launched its MVP – minimum viable product – so there is more work to be done. Based on the comments from Marathon Investigation, it seems like there are, indeed, some kinks to work out, namely getting the race organizers on board with the service. In theory, the subscription idea for an annual running pass is a good one. In reality, perhaps Racepass isn’t quite where it needs to be.
As always, we encourage full transparency. If Racepass is clear about what it is offering and how it will work, and if it gets buy-in from the racing community (sponsors, organizers and runners), it could be successful. It looks like Racepass has some warming up to do before it is ready for a longer race.