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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

One Stop Shop?????

I opened the newspaper this morning and almost choked on my roti.

The SAA is proposing that it be made the sanctioning body for all road races here in Singapore. This came about after complaints were made about the poor organisation of the Sundown Marathon and other races. Steven Yeo, the CEO “believes that if this is done, policies to ensure a runner has a reasonably good race experience would be set in place”. 

Yah like real! Mr Loh Lin Kok, the President of the SAA has previously been reported as calling all the other races here “Mickey mouse races”. So why will the SAA wants to get involved in “Mickey mouse race”?

The only reason I can think of is that the SAA is dead broke or going to be soon with the continued withholding of funds from the SSC and this is a good ploy to suck money from the race organizers. Other than enriching the coffers of the SAA, I don’t think anybody else will benefit from it.

If this happens, race organizers will have to pay a sanction fee which I can guarantee won’t be cheap. Consequently, this will translate into higher registration fees. Also, the red tapes associated with getting the approval will increase and some of the smaller races like the Mizuno Wave, the Newton etc will probably stop doing it depriving runners of more choices.

But if the SAA really gets it wish and is the sanctioning body for all races, I am sure the current slew of runs will come to a abrupt stop as frankly, I don't think SAA is capable of doing any thing right and all the applications will be stuck in somebody office waiting for a rubber stamp that may never come.

My suggestion is that the SAA comes up with an accreditation scheme much like Casetrust. Carries the SAA mark and be assured of like Mr Yeo said "a reasonably good experience". And for the non-accredited races, caveat emptor although I still don't think the SAA can improve on anything seeing that it is a helluva messy organisation itself!

And what does a “reasonably good race experience” means? Does the SAA mark guarantee a better experience? I certainly don’t think so, judging from the chaos at the last 2 SCSM. And who was the organizer of the last 2 SCSM? No prize for guessing!

With increased registration fee every year, runner's expectation has also increased and it is not surprising that there will be complaints - from poor quality of the t-shirt, crowded routes and inaccurate distances.What the runners should do about poor organisation is to continue to give feedback and boycott the next race organised by these parties. That will sent a message loud and clear to the organiser. But if the public continues to sign for all races in record breaking time, well I guess things will just remains as it is. After all, what is the incentives or rather disincentives for the organiser to change a winning horse?

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