So RW's got a healthy bottomline. That's no surprise. But are runners any richer for it?
Great question. I do think some runners are richer for it. New, non-competitive fitness runners can probably get a lot out of it, which can improve their health and lifestyles. For this, I applaud RW. It serves a great purpose in that way.
As for competitive runners and experienced runners who are following any pursuit, I think most of us know where we have been left. It's a shame but, at the business perspective, I can't blame RW for doing what they did. It's just smart business. The market for competitive/experienced runners isn't nearly as big as the market that RW now has cornered.
The only real problem I have with RW is the disservice they do to their readers when introducing topics on competitive running with articles like “run your best half marathon on 3 days a week training”. If you're going to discuss competitive running, discuss it honestly. Don't be afraid to tell people that success comes through hard work. If you aren't going to be honest with the topic of competitive running, don't even approach the topic.
In the end, I say congratulations to RW for making it 40 years in a market where start-ups frequently don't make it to their second issue and congratulations for the incredible success with subscriber rates in a market where most subscriber lists are decreasing as quickly as RW's is increasing. Their business model has been incredibly successful. I just wish their editorial integrity on the topic of competitive running was on equally solid ground.