A scenario no runner wants to think about, but has likely been in before: It’s race week. You’ve trained hard. You’re ready. You may even have your bag packed with gels and compression socks. And then…BOOM. Runny nose, fever, aches – you can’t make it. You’re out the entry fee. You’re sad.
Runners have long been looking for ways to make a situation like this better, and for quite some time, entry fee refunds are not an option. If runners do want that option, they’ve got to purchase some type of entry insurance (like I did, for RnR DC in 2017).
Finally, a creative mind in the running community decided it was time to take some long strides toward a better scenario for runners who are unable to attend their race that cost upwards of $75.00. I had a wonderful time getting to know Jennifer, the founder of Race Bib Resale.
Race Bib Resale is a marketplace to both sell and purchase race entries. Sellers can expect a 24 hour turnaround for their bibs to be posted for sale, and buyers can purchase the entry instantly through an online checkout. Here’s the best part: The company works with the race directors to complete the participant transfer process, and in most cases, it’s a success (if race directors dictate certain transfer rules, Jennifer is sure to disclose this to buyers and sellers).
AN IDEA IS BORN
Jennifer got the idea and inspiration for her company when she had her eye on a half marathon this past spring. When her prospective race was sold out, she tried to find an entry in different venues. While she succeeded, she realized there was no centralized location for these transactions. It was then that the creative wheels began to turn! “It became clear to me during my search that there [was] nothing designed yet that would facilitate this type of [secondary] transaction. As a long-time runner, I know that this type of action happens all the time and I wanted to create a singular space for the online connection of race bib sellers and race bib buyers,” she explained.
Once the idea was born, it took off quickly: Jennifer & Race Bib Resale placed in the top 5 at an entrepreneur’s conference, and within 36 hours of launching the business, transactions were already happening.
One of my first questions for Jennifer was “how does this actually work?” I was curious how identities are verified and bib transfers are finalized.
Jennifer explained that sellers must follow an identification process: “When someone contacts me to assist them with helping to sell their race bib, I do require them to forward me the original email confirmation from when they signed up for the race. The name on the registration needs to match the name of the person attempting to sell the bib. This protects all parties involved specifically the end-user: the race bib purchaser,” she said. By creating an ad with the seller’s choice of price, and through leveraging social media, Jennifer works hard to spread the word about which bibs are for sale. Buyers have it very easy – they simply purchase!
Of course, I also wondered if there is any pushback from race directors. Jennifer made it clear that she wants to work with, rather than against, race directors: “ I am proposing a process that can reduce that risk to race directors and actually create opportunities for them to bring in more money by allowing the resale/transfer. It is my long-term vision to partner with the race directors and make this successful for all parties involved!”
I know what you’re wondering: Does this work for Disney races? Not just yet, but just from briefly getting to know Jennifer, I doubt it will be long before she begins conversations with Disney race directors about how she can work with them to make their races even more successful!
THE FUTURE & GIVING BACK
A year from now, Jennifer hopes to be fully immersed in her business and possibly employ others. She said it best: “We want to help everyone who finds themselves in the unfortunate position of not being able to participant in a race they paid to sign up for.”
In addition, Jennifer hopes to use her success to benefit non-profit organizations that support underprivileged children. She believes that the sport of running, along with a concrete education in literacy, empowers children everywhere – especially those in inner-cities. “The key to success in life is an education, and a solid education has its foundations in basic literacy. I would like to ensure that as many children as possible get those foundation pieces so they have as many opportunities in life as they can dream of!”
BE ON THE LOOKOUT!
When your running buddies call you 48 hours before a race and beg you to run, be sure to check out racebibresale.com to see what your options are! You can follow this innovative company on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.