December 28

Why Don’t You Have Waitlists?

5  comments

We often get asked why we don’t offer a waitlist for the races that sell out. We usually get asked that the week after a race sells out by people who didn’t sign up in time. Here is how we see it. We are open to change if we need to.

We basically see two options:

Option 1: Sell exactly the right number of bibs and then offer a waitlist. When someone drops out (up to certain date) then the next person in line gets in.

Option 2: Use historical trends to oversell the race and once its closed, its closed.

There are pros and cons to both options, but we think option 2 is the best for customers.

Option 2 allows

  1. us to offer a generous refund policy
  2. people the most time to plan their travel and to get trained for the race

Our primary concern with option 1 is that while someone might join a waitlist 8 months before an event, they may or may not be ready to run if their spot opens up only a month or two before a race. Further, most of our locations require some advanced planning, especially with regards to lodging.

We experimented with a waitlist at our Trailfest event last year, and while we had 150 people sign up for the waitlist, only about 15 actually signed up once they had the chance. And we get it, if you don’t get in to a race, you make other plans. We do the same thing.

Ultimately, we try and offer a great refund policy to help reduce the risk of signing up early. Basically, if you request a refund during the early bird period (typically the 9–11 months before the race) you can get a 100% refund, no questions asked.

You can still request a refund during the Regular Registration period (typically 4–8 months before the race) and you get all your money back except for a $10 fee to help us cover registration fees that we have to pay even when you get a refund.

Finally, while there are no refunds during the final 3 months before an event, you can defer your registration to another event in the series or you can sell your bib to someone else and get your money back.

Our policies are some of the best in the business, and if we went to a waitlist model, we would have to get rid of the deferment and transfer policy and we couldn’t offer refunds for as long as we do.

That being said, we would love to hear your take on things. 


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  • Maybe you could put on your website how full the registration is so far, so if people are thinking of doing it, they’ll know if they should sign up right away if it’s close to full.

    • Hi Dianna – While it’s difficult to estimate when a race will sell out we do try to let runners know on our Facebook and Instagram pages when a race is getting close.

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