Tuesday, August 18, 2015

SeaWheeze 2015 - Best yet or Biggest Bust?

This past weekend, runners flocked from all around the world to Vancouver to take part in Lululemon's 4th annual SeaWheeze, and this year, I didn't.

You can read about my first half marathon at the 2013 SeaWheeze here.

And my repeat performance at the 2014 race here.

If you read those two posts, you'll see that clearly I loved my time at both races, even despite chafed thighs and blistered heels. Plus throw in some post run heat stroke.

And clearly I love just about everything to do with Lululemon.

Plus why not go for a three-peat?

Well I made my decision not to run the 2015 race shortly after crossing the 2014 finish line. And why?

Well because registration for the August 16 race went on sale almost a full year earlier on Sept 10.

Based on my experience registering for the 2014 race, I assumed correctly that registering would be a nightmare of wait screens and long loading times. If I was lucky to get through and purchase a spot (at the non-trivial price of $128 dollars) before all 10015 spots sold out (which they did in less than 8 hours), I'd have to commit myself to traveling to Vancouver for the race weekend a year later.

Turns out I was right to assume it was better not to commit to something like a race so far in advance, as I ended up invited to a wedding for that same weekend, 4 provinces in the wrong direction.

However, for  2374 people who paid there $128 dollar dues, turns out they may have committed too soon. All they have to show for it? A pair of limited edition shorts mailed out a couple months before race day.

That's right, according race results posted at sportstats.ca, only 7641 people embarked on the race this weekend.  That's down by nearly 600 from 2014, and by over 2500 from 2013.  For comparison's sake the 2014 race registration opened (or tried to) in January, as did the 2013 registration, although it didn't sell out until a month later.

You see, for a race targeted at young women, registering 6 months before race day is probably reasonable. That far out, you likely have received save the dates for weddings you want to attend, any major vacations are if not planned at least in the works, and you should probably know whether you're not going to be 8 or 9 months pregnant on race day.

Plus 6 months out, in chilly January, is enough time before race day to get you but off the couch and start a running plan, but not so far in advance that you will be over the idea of running such a long distance before race day.

So it's no surprise that so many runners just didn't make it to the starting line on race day. With 11 months between registration and race day, that's plenty of time for some pretty legit reasons to not run to pop up, and that's before you factor in sheer laziness.

And furthermore, it's not surprising that Lulu is holding off on announcing registration for the 2016 race. With race day attendance dropping at this rate, they may need to shake things up.

But will they really?

Let's look at it from a business perspective. Lululemon essentially managed to sell a $54 pair of shorts to 2374 people for $128 bucks. Meanwhile, an event staffed and prepped for 10,015 people, only needing to serve a little over 3/4 of that, well you can damn sure bet those runners who did attend had a better experience than if all the race day line-ups were 25% longer. So surely they all went home raving about the SeaWheeze.

Maybe Lulu should just ride the hype of this years race (like they did last year), to sell out next year's registration spots (which have I mentioned? Are non-transferable/or refundable), as soon as possible. With any luck, only 5000 runners will actually make it to the race course.

Wonder what they did will all those left-over finishers medals? Maybe they ended up on eBay, along with the contents of the "exclusive" SeaWheeze pop-up store.

Yep, there they are now.

At the end of the day tho, I do really wish I could have run this year, the race day/weekend in fact is a blast. So who knows, maybe next year things will pan out differently and I'll run. One's things for sure, I won't be registering, and then not attending, and then paying some $40 - 150 (seriously if someone buys that one I'll die!) for a medal so I can make pretend that I did.

Until then, I'll leave you with some of that addictive Lulu crack that we all know and love, here's this year's SeaWheeze Race recap!

1 comment:

  1. It's definitely hard to commit to a race so far in advance. It's the same with the Mud Hero that I just recently ran. Registration is open at a reduced price for next year.

    I seriously can't believe finishers medals are on Ebay and that people would actually buy them!! That's nuts!

    To me, I'm not a fan of Lululemon. I lost a lot of respect for the company after the whole sheer pants incident and the comments that resulted from it and have since stopped buying their product. I can find just as good of quality fashionable workout attire, for a fraction of the cost so it's not the brand that interests me in this race. I've heard so many great stories about the race experience and the atmosphere, not to mention location that make me curious to run this race whenever I feel like I can fit half marathon training into my life.