On UTMB’s franchise model and why it can get away with making mistakes
Excellent insights into how the sport works, as usual. My four clarifications:
1) Yes, joining the bandwagon and becoming “(trail race) by UTMB” has bumped every race that has signed on from hanging in there to selling out, so becoming a UTMB franchise has been a win for every race owner.
2) Yes, the brand name/credibility of any franchise is very important.
3) Yes, the Poletti’s have moved very slowly toward more progressive policies.
4) And finally, regarding “...as the largest organiser of the sport UTMB will need to get their act together.” I would clarify and say, we would “love it” or “encourage” them to get their act together, because that would be great for us and the sport. But frankly, they do not need to. Baring death, sex scandal, or a plague of locusts, they have a very sound business formula that does not rely on the 'approval’ of social media comments to successfully continue. Social media is a bubble - people who are active participants think it is the whole scene, which it is for them but no one else. A Venn Diagram of the importance of social media would be a fascinating convo for another time; for now, this is a fun discussion of a rapidly evolving sport landscape.
Great Read! Im going to write about the UTMB group in my next Z Letter coming Friday.
Interesting that IRF would delete the article you referenced here. It's still cached, at least.
Would be nice if an RD who went in with UTMB was candid about race organization. There have been two races this year where many runners complained about inadequate support for the new influx of racers. It comes across that it means the races themselves are still being organized by the local RD.
Re: Buzz's comments
Were all of these races "just hanging in there?" It doesn't seem that way from the outside.
With the inside stories of how UTMB treated women, "slow to be progressive" is quite a generous description. Maybe that could be applied when Michel claimed to have never heard of gender identity issues until last year...
Very right that most people just don't care, though. Tens of thousands of people only care about being able to say they ran UTMB, Leadville or States. Trailrunning isn't their community; it's their resumé.