Race Director Financial FAQ

Races are all about variety and what sets them apart, but it turns out that there is one thing that all races agree on: they want to get paid!

As a payment facilitator and a PCI Level 1 Compliant Service Provider we take payment setup seriously, with a process designed to get our races paid accurately and on-time while preventing fraudulent events. We have a Financial FAQ for Race Directors to help all events complete Payment Account Creation and decode their payments.

The FAQ covers the race Refund Reserve, Payment Account Issues (such as changing payment info, switching from check payment to direct deposit and upgrading a payment account), and Payment Issues (such as when payments are made, what a payment is for, and receiving both checks and direct deposits).

View the Race Director Financial FAQ

Active Sues RunSignUp for “Couch to 5K”

IMG_2542Active has recently filed a lawsuit in US District Court in San Diego against Bickel Advisory Services, LLC (dba RunSignUp) and Bob Bickel personally and one of our employees for the infringement of their trademark “Couch to 5K“.

When we were notified of the suit, there were 9 training programs listed on RunSignUp with that term. Additionally a total of 30 events, of roughly 45,000 total events, had listed with that term over the past 7 years of RunSignUp’s existence. A total of 1,540 total participants had signed up for those training programs via RunSignUp over that time.

RunSignUp never used “Couch to 5k” itself, was unaware of any alleged trademark infringement by those listing on our site, and took immediate action to work with a number of running stores that had used the term “Couch to 5K” to refer to their training programs that were listed on RunSignUp. All references were removed from the RunSignUp site within 2 days of notice, and a process is in place to make sure that listings do not infringe going forward. RunSignUp takes trademarks seriously, and we will work with any trademark owner who simply notifies us (you need not sue us) to remove any valid infringing trademarks on our site.

As a web hosting facility for the endurance community, RunSignUp only has an obligation to protect against trademark infringement of events that post on our website if we are notified, which we did promptly. This is well established, including in a case where Tiffany’s took EBay all the way to the Supreme Court.

In addition, the term “Couch to 5K” has been very widely used since it first came into use in 1996, and Active registered the trademark in 2010. We discussed the background of this term with the original developers of the training program, Dave Camire (Cool Running Founder and Yankee Timing owner) and Josh Clark (who worked with Dave on the Cool Running website). Before Dave sold Cool Running to Active in 2007, the term had become very widespread. In fact, two of the running stores we contacted that had multiple training programs on our site said that they had used the term since about 2003 and 2006.

Using the Wayback Machine to look at internet archives, it is simple to find websites like Beginner Triathlete that had a Couch to 5K Training Program in 2004 – https://web.archive.org/web/20040404180509/http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/Programs/couch_to_5k_overview.htm.

The term is so widespread, there is even a course at Wellesely College called “Couch to 5K”.

Doing a quick Google search shows 622,000 hits on the term “Couch to 5K”. Here is a quick set of examples:

https://secure.touchnet.net/C21156_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=512&SINGLESTORE=true

http://elmhurstrunningclub.com/couch-to-5k/

https://www.orymca.org/single-post/2015/07/09/Couch-to-5K-Challenge

http://gocoaches.org/about/coaches-council-missy-price-ph-d/

https://courses.wellesley.edu/display_single_course_cb.php?crn=1494&semester=201502&pe_term=201502S2&skip_graphics=1&no_navs=1

http://www.wellesley.edu/athletics/physicaleducation/curriculum#shBJDZx5DpMKv0y0.97

http://eventcow.org/pplus_event/registration/brooketerra/5

https://southwestcounseling.redpodium.com/off-the-couch-5k

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Brosna-Couch-to-5k-1554582808128998/posts/?ref=page_internal

http://www.heartbreakhill.org/couch_5k.htm

http://saltlakecity.eventful.com/events/up-and-running-couch-5k-/E0-001-100072088-3

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/article/Area-programs-can-help-athletes-of-all-experience-6574807.php

https://app.racereach.com/images/jer.pdf

Summary

While we think we acted responsibly and consistent with our obligations, in order to avoid unnecessary legal fees, we offered to settle with Active by paying them our entire Processing Fee revenue from these events ($279). Unfortunately Active has rejected our settlement offer so we will defend ourselves in court based on prior case law. Hopefully this does not inspire Active to sue the many running stores and coaches and colleges and others who have inadvertently used the term “Couch to 5K”.

Registration Now Open for Fourth Annual RunSignUp Race Director/Timer Symposium

Moorestown, NJ – RunSignUp announced that registration is now open for the 2017 RunSignUp Race Director/Timer Symposium, to be held in Philadelphia July 17-19th. The Symposium, in its fourth year, brings together race directors and timers from around the country for industry educational sessions, networking opportunities, and training.  For the second year, the Symposium will be hosted at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in the historic Old City section of Philadelphia.

This year’s agenda includes a full day of dual-track presentations, with RunSignUp tutorial sessions running concurrently with presentations from customers and industry professionals sharing their broader race experiences and expertise. Industry presenters will include Tamara Conan, the National Director of the Healthy Kids Running Series and Erik Young, the co-founder of Sour Fish Events, the company behind events like The Great Pumpkin Run and The Hard Cider Run. The final day of the Symposium is timer focused, with a preview of the cloud-based RaceDay Scoring and interactive sessions on the leading timing software products, The Race Director and RunScore. Attendees can elect to participate in all 3 days of the Symposium, or pick and choose the days that are most applicable to them.

Unlike most industry conferences, the RunSignUp Symposium does not seek out sponsors or open an expo space; by electing to focus on content and networking instead of products, the Symposium is able to provide a real peer-to-peer educational opportunity. While the dual track format does offer training sessions for the RunSignUp system, the Symposium is not limited to RunSignUp users and presenters are encouraged to share experiences that are relevant to all event professionals.

In addition to presentations, the Symposium will include an Opening Reception, a morning run across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, a Networking Happy Hour, onsite breakfast and lunch, and one-on-one meeting slots with account managers. Early bird registration prices range from $49 for Wednesday only to $99 for attending all three days; attendees can also earn a partial or full refund of their conference registration (and even a 2 night hotel stay) for referring additional events to the Symposium.

Registration options and more details can be found here: https://runsignup.com/symposium

About RunSignUp

RunSignUp is the leading innovator of online tools for race registration, race day solutions, and running clubs. Services include RunSignUp for registration, fundraising, and race promotion, RunSignUp Go for RaceDay, RD Go for Timers, RunSignUp Clubs to enable membership management, and RaceJoy for mobile experiences. More than 10,000 race directors, timers, running club officers and running stores use these services today, including leading organizations like the Boilermaker Road Race, Crim Festival of Races, Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc., Fifth Third River Bank Run, Komen Race for the Cure Philadelphia, Mercedes Marathon, Kentucky Derby Festival, Leone Timing, KC Running Company, Compuscore Timing, Knoxville Track Club, Pikes Peak Road Runners, Gulf Coast Runners, Columbus Running Company, Playmakers Running Store and many more. In 2016, over 14,000 races used the system to register more than 4.2 million participants. Services are free except for processing fees when conducting monetary transactions such as race registration or club membership renewal. RunSignUp is founded by runners for runners, using technical capabilities to bring the power of cloud computing to benefit the running community. For more information, visit www.RunSignUp.com.

Participant Reports in a Disaster

One of the early disaster recovery mechanisms we built into RunSignUp is saving a full list of your participants in a CSV file once a day starting the week before your race. We send race directors an email link when this is first created each year. In the event RunSignUp is not available (knock on wood, we had zero downtime last year and only 8 minutes of planned downtime total in 2015), you can click this link to get access to your participant information.

We have added a link to this in the RunSignUp dashboard, which is useful in case you misplace your email and want to practice your own disaster recovery procedures. The report can be found from the bottom of Reports > Participants > Summary:

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If you check more than 7 days prior to your race, there will be no file:
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If you check 7 or less days before your race, you will see a link:

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