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home > community > viewpoint > jack fleming, baa press liason, addresses questions on the 1997 boston marathon

Jack Fleming, BAA press liason, addresses questions on the 1997 Boston Marathon
Are the costs associated with the Boston Marathon so high as to demand a fee of $75?

Jack Fleming, BAA press liason, addresses questions on the 1997 Boston Marathon

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By Don Allison
Posted Thursday, 12 September, 1996

Are the costs associated with the Boston Marathon so high as to demand a fee of $75?

Jack Fleming emphatically concurs that yes, the costs associated with Boston are huge. " Our race is unique, in that we run through eight towns, it is a point to point race, and we offer the marathoner a wide range of services. It is a year long operation, as it has to be, in order for us to put on the best possible race we can. " The move to $75 was absolutely necessary, according to Fleming. " We had to do it, " he says, adding " We held the cost down to a minimum the past two years. In order for us to ensure the future of the event as a going concern, we increased the fee to $75. We have to plan three and five years down the road, knowing we will be able to work within out budget. "

What about all of the cash sponsorship that Boston receives from corporate sponsors? Doesn't that help defray the costs?

Even with the sponsorship money, says Fleming, the costs are still high enough to warrant the fee increase. " The BAA is a nonprofit organization. Any money we take in from entry fees and sponsorship is put right back into the race, to make it a higher quality event. "

Some of the costs of the of the race might seem unnecessary to the average runner. Must Boston pay out $500,000 per year in prize money to the top finishers?

The Boston Marathon is in a unique position in this regard, according to Fleming. " We are a marquee race, in a position of leadership in the sport. In order for marathon running to become a major sport in the eyes of the media, some races have to attract the top international field. Prize money does that. " He adds, " We want the Boston Marathon to maintain it's position of leadership as a marquee event. All of the runners who run in Boston know it is a special race, and offering prize money has a lot to do with that. "

O.K. If Boston has to charge $75 to make it work, is it WORTH $75 to the runner?

Fleming insists the Boston Marathon offers the best value in running. Pre and post race meals, transportation to the start, T-shirt, finishers medal and certificate, complete results book, well manned aid stations every two miles: these are only some of what Boston offers the runner. And Fleming says the BAA knows that " We have to make all of these things top quality for the entry fee. "

Was there any consideration given to making the entry fee "a la carte ", by charging a separate fee for the race itself, the dinners, the T-shirt, etc?

" There was some consideration given to that " says Fleming. " The New York Marathon does it that way. We felt that though that every runner should be in the same boat. They all qualified, and are all doing the same things that go along with the race."

How was the 15,000 field limit decided upon?

Fleming says " We went back to all of the towns along the course for feedback on the 1996 race. They all said that 40,000 runners was too many. We think 15,000 should be a manageable number. We know that 15,000 runners can be lined up from the start line back to route 85. " He adds, " 9200 runners qualified in the 1996 Boston Marathon. Our numbers tell us we should get somewhere in the vicinity of 15,000 entrants. Any more than that would be a problem. If we get less than that, it would be o.k. "

How about the first come, first serve entry deadline? Isn't that unfair to marathons held late in the year, if Boston has already filled it's 15,000 quota?

" We will take a look at that next year if it becomes a problem. We can always push back the window of time in which runners can qualify. "

Is the BAA worried that due to the field limit and possibly the increased entry fee, that bandits will become a problem?

Not really, according to Fleming. " We really paid attention to the bandit situation for the first time this year, " he says. " We made very effort to control the numbers of unofficial runners and where they started. It turned out to be manageable this year. If we need to take some of the same measures we did in 1996, such as closing off Hopkinton at 6 am, we will do that again. "



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