Has the BTF money grabbing finally gone too far with a £12 Race Pass

It’s getting harder to use any GB/UK affiliation in France. The last few times I’ve enquired about UKA affiliation equivalence for run events and it’s not been allowed. I’m not sure if it’s a post-Brexit thing or the french federations getting stricter. I still had to submit a med certificate for the swim I did in Nice in October.

I think Ironman used to provide doctors at registration to complete medical certificates for international entrants, but I also remember back in 2010/11/12, that they did accept BTF affiliation at French races. They do still recommend visits to cardiologists every 2 to 3 years for elite level and athletes over 50. We had to get quite comprehensive medical sign-off for those racing the FFTri division 1.

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A GP friend specialises in reviewing pro athletes for licences and sees the occasional AG athlete for race entry sign off…

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Seeing as the guy who invented the marathon dropped dead on completion, anyone who completes an endurance event and lives to tell the tale clearly didn’t put in the required effort.

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Understandably, the BTF have had a fair amount of push back over this
This isn’t just about revenue increase through Race Pass / Day license sales, this is more about data collection so that they can then start spamming everyone with sales pitches for their own races
Unfortunately, I think they’re shooting themselves in the foot with this as it’s only going to push more and more events into organising them independently to the BTF. After all, what does an event exactly get by being BTF registered

The race pass got reduced down to £8, of which £2 goes back to the organiser (it doesn’t actually go back as a cash payment, and it just contributes to offsetting some of the BTF’s accreditation fees) but I can see them pushing on to get it up to the originally touted £12 at some point
Like has been said above, this puts a massive price increase onto the Gateway type events that people enter to dip their toes in the water of the sport (think £25 pool tri’s etc) so will limit an already declining new Triathlete Market

Can you tell I’m not a fan :slight_smile:

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do you not get insurance cover? or is that just for club events through their club membership?

When I set up a club aquathlon back in 2014 iirc we were “pioneers” in non paper day memberships. I asked how they would check how many we had sold , “just let us know a number” there was no licence number for the individual like on the paper “tickets” so people could have just forwarded them on. Bit of a mess, and an admin overhead at that time trying to keep track

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yes…edit for clarity - participant insurance - but that is also available elsewhere…

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the point is that when you are trying to get a race fee down to 15.00, you don’t need a 12.00 day licence adding on…

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No, they don’t provide insurance and you have to source your own PI and EL insurance
The day license/race pass provides the competitor with personal liability insurance, which would cover the competitor if, for example, you slid out mid corner and took someone’s wing mirror off, or had a collision with another competitor
Like has been mentioned above by someone else, in order to avoid conflict of interest, the BTF’s legal side will only act on behalf of the defendant and the claimant would have to source his/her own lawyer - typically no win no fee type organisations, which themselves make for a very difficult and drawn out process
This actually happens far more than people realise, and competitors taking other competitors to court over accidents (generally on the bike) happens very often, and sometimes multiple times per event
It’s the side of event organising that most people don’t comprehend, and something that can become almost as time consuming as organising the event itself
For a relatively small series of two circa 1000 competitor middle distances races that I do, it’s quite a ball ache, so I’d hate to think how much resource is tied up with this stuff with the bigger organisers.
It can also take years to go through, and we still have a claim that one competitor made against another open that dates back to 2016, in what was a really clear cut fault situation
This was before we knew to insure the legal fees, so 113 events has nearly £30k tied up in legal fees that will eventually (hopefully) get recovered once the case is closed and finalised

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Thanks for the insights. As you pointed out a lot of us got started on small local events and almost doubling the entry would have deterred some people.

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We have a small working group of the larger organisers in the UK for Middle/Long distance races, and we’ve put that to the BTF, but if fell on deaf ears unfortunately
Although there’s been a bit of a shift in the last 5-8 years of people jumping straight into Middle or Longer distances, the small, cheap sprints are still the gateway to the sport, and most people start off doing Sprint or Supersprint races relatively cheaply, which then get them hooked for longer stuff.
It’s these races that are going to really suffer this race pass price increase, as instead of, say, paying £25 for a sprint race online, and then couching up your fiver on the day for a day license (a later expense most people won’t care about), you’re now going to have to pay £33/37 for your entry with a race pass at the initial stage, which is a good chunk of money for something you’re just doing to see what it’s all about
The BTF’s direction appears to be a bit ‘lost at sea’ at the moment, and this is a short term fix for their income and appetite for a database, rather than a carefully considered move for a better future for the sport as a whole
Like lots of other organisers, I’m now looking at options of how we can potentially vote with our feet in year’s to come, and run our races independently from the BTF

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As you say, the BTF are shooting themselves in the foot on this. They worked hard until a couple of seasons ago to get EOs to work with the BTF for race permits as it brought (most of) the sport under one umbrella and for us TOs it made our jobs more interesting as we could officiate at a wider range of events (we are only covered by BTF’s insurance to officiate at permitted events). The Castle Series was one of the feathers for example. They seem not to even try now to get EOs onboard since losing a few key people.

But if they start losing these events due to this matter then it’s not good for the sport.

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as a small event organiser i have been ‘forced’ to take this path…

i have just fallen foul of the hierarchy for making similar observations and so all i will say is that it is surprising/unsurprising that a 40 odd year old organisation does not have appropriate data on ‘its’ participant base…

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maybe if they were willing to allow “outsiders” to have a say and help shape a direction things would run smoother, but even their working groups end up an echo chamber of people trying to further careers rather than improve the sport (look at regional committees for a start)

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Are ‘Go Tri’ still a thing? Our club hosted couple and I did one elsewhere but I can’t see
any info for them. They were meant to be free or very cheap to enter.

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I did a couple of evening sprint duathlons way back in the day of the £5 charge, and halfway through the series we got refunded as the organiser said there was an exemption on the fee for small events, or is was £5 for the series not per event, or something. Either way, it was a deliberate policy to not jack up the entry bar on small first timer type events.

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there is an emphasis on Swim Bike Run rather than Tri at a very basic level (not to say that there is no Go Tri) but they are in favour of separating out the disciplines as they think this is a barrier…

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When i was more involved the £5 wasnt even meant to be a fiver, only £3 went to the BTF, smaller events like us charged the £3 some bigger events rounded it up!. Also juniors were a pound!

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The BTF eventually made it £6, so we still charged a fiver as they decided to increase it a couple of weeks before our event when we’d already published it at £5 !!
They used to send us books and books of the numbered licenses, but their control over it was weak at best and they relied on the honesty of people like me to actually tell them how many licenses we’d sold
We kept a record of all of them by number/competitor ID, and even sent back the unused ones and a spreadsheet of names.DOB’s against each license number, but I’d often ask for them the following year, and they just ask how I had left from the previous year, even though I’d sent them back 9 months before with proof of postage.

I suspect the question of honesty with some events was possibly part of the driver of it all going digital, as you could quite easily have sold 750, and told them you’d only sold 200, and they’d be none the wiser. We used to keep records and send them to them, but we didn’t actually need to to appease their requirements, I’m just control/admin anal over stuff like that

We also used to get quite a lot of people turn up with photo’s of day licenses that had obviously been doctored to avoid having to pay the fiver, either with photoshop or by having a smudge or similar over the date on it so as to mislead. They’d generally get quite offended when asked to prove that the license was valid by showing either a copy of their confirmation email, or their online profile. We’d then ask them to pay the £5 and if they came back to me after the race with proof, we’d refund it. They very rarely did. We can then check them retrospectively with the BTF, who, in the majority of cases, would confirm that they’d let their membership lapse a previous year and just retained an old membership card.
There’s been some really quite ingenuous lengths that people have gone to in order to avoid a £5 payment, and some of them I genuinely took my hat off for to recognise effort :slight_smile:

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I know we’ve discussed this point last year, but I genuinely think triathlon is dying a slow death (in the UK at least).

There are definite parallels with other minor sports in vogue in years gone by, certainly OCR. If you look at the people that still participate in Spartan races and the like, it’s the hardcore minority.

Seems that triathlon is dwlindling, with the governing body unable to arrest the decline. All the while, the latest minority sport in the spotlight is CrossFit/Hyrox.

Be interesting to see where triathlon is in 5 years.

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I think a few sports are the same. Cycling for one. There was a peak for those sports when the Brownlee brothers were winning the Olympics and Wiggo was winning the TdF then the Olympics and acting like a boss. That got people interested but they’ve slid away and the interest has dwindled.

Im noticing it as well with cricket. The numbers at our club of youths are down on previous years. Go back to 2005 when we won the ashes after 20 odd years and Flintoff and KP are turning up at Downing street still pissed after an all night bender the interest was much greater.

Each sport needs a constant stream of big characters winning consistently and in this country for cycling, tri and others doesnt have that.

Also the cost of triathlon has got bloody stupid. Few years back I was on a tri camp and we were talking about our jobs, someone said why are so many IT people doing try and the conclusion was they were the only ones who could afford to.

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