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We're collecting questions from across the internet, and sharing answers we think might be useful. These are not all RunSignup-based, and not all answers are right for every race, but we wanted to collect concerns and solutions from throughout the community to help you all learn from each other.
Looking for a place to talk to other event organizers and compare strategies? These are a few communities you can join:
If you're new to a group and have a question, try searching first - the answer may already be there for you!
With gathering restrictions in place for the near future, races in March and April, as well as many in May, have been postponed, cancelled, transitioned to virtual, or reimagined in some other creative format. Here are some questions we're seeing from this crew:
We usually stick firmly to our refund policy...but this is a new situation. How should we handle them?
We know that refunding participants can be devastating, particularly if the majority of your race costs have already come in. However, if you refuse refunds and runners do a chargeback, you may be on the hook for both the refund and the chargeback fee, since your promised service was not delivered as expected. Here are some things you can do:
What about our sponsors?
Talk to your sponsors. The final decision on the race should be yours, but including them in the conversation will be more likely to bring them back next year. Depending on what your sponsor agreement says, and how flexible they are, see if they are willing to switch their race day committment to a committment to cover costs for mailing packets for a virtual run, for providing refunds to runners, or other expenses you anticipate with your changes.
If we offer deferrals, does the runner-purchased event insurance follow them to next year?
Runner-purchased event insurance policies can vary by provider. The runner should always reach out to the provider if they have specific questions about their policy. However, the last information that we got from our provider, Allianz, included the instructions that the runner should go to www.eventticketprotection.com and follow the guide in this PDF to update the date for their insurance policy.
Should we advertise? Should we take registrations?
The current approach for this is varied. Some. Scenarios we've seen:
How should we communicate with runners?
Communication with your runners can help avoid people requesting chargebacks under the assumption that the race won't take place. Some examples:
As of March 17, the race is still on as scheduled, although that is subject to change, based on outside developments and decisions from city officials. We hope to achieve more clarity in this regard by the end of this month.
In the meantime, let's all do our part to limit the spread of the virus by practicing social distancing and good hygiene. Stay healthy, keep washing your hands, and go for a run in the fresh air!
Can we still get race cancellation insurance to cover COVID-19?
It is unlikely that you can get race cancellation insurance to cover any issues related to COVID-19 at this time.
Nathan Nicholas from Nicholas Hill Group explained it this way:
There are many different markets for event cancellation insurance. Some options specifically exclude communicable disease coverage while others do not. If communicable disease coverage is a priority, then I highly recommend that events search out an “all-cause” policy. All-cause policies typically cover any peril that is not listed in the exclusions, which can make it very easy to understand. For example, The event cancellation benefit available to Running USA members (https://www.nicholashillgroup.com/running-usa-event...), which is underwritten by HCC Specialty, is written on an all-cause form. Unfortunately, policies purchased after the insurance companies learned of the Coronavirus outbreak will most likely include a specific exclusion for the current outbreak. However, once the threat is no longer a concern, some insurance carriers will choose to remove the specific exclusion for the illness in question.
If you purchased event cancellation registration prior to the emergence of COVID-19, you should check with your insurance company. Most cancellation insurance policies exclude pandemics, but there were some that may have covered them.
What do I need to know about shipping?
Collective experience indicates that first class USPS is your cheapest, best option for shipping under 16 oz. Most packets with a regular medal, shirt, and bib in a flat envelope will fall just under that weight, but you'll need a scale to check the weight.
If you expect a significant amount of shipping, there are multiple tools you can use, including ShipStation, Stamps.com, goshippo, or Pirate Ship.
What else do I need to think about? One experienced virtual race director recommends:
How do I post results?
There are a lot of options, from an honor-system "no results" to proof-required submissions. You can use the virtual text/email system built into RunSignup, but race directors also have some other suggestions:
With any results format, you can require a link to a Strava map or other proof if you are giving awards and want to verify accuracy.