Give me a cheap race with accurate results, a PR possible course, and some good competition and I am a happy woman. I agree that we should support the simple races in order for them to survive in the changing marketplace.
As the sport of running grows it also changes. Many people I know do train for their races and run most days but they have no intention of putting in the work needed to get to the next level. Their age group placement and time is important but equally important is that their race be a junk laden feel good experience. The market place has caught on to this and is more than happy to provide expensive junk laden feel good experiences. We all know that some race directors have realized that they can afford to alienate serious runners to satisfy the demands of the masses. This fall I had an e-mail exchange with a race director of a half marathon I was thinking about racing. I was concerned that the timing of the new 10k Stroller Derby event would impact all half marathon runners under 1:40. He replied back that he did not think it would be a problem as there were only 25 to 30 strollers (along with the regular participants of the 10k). I replied that yep, no problem at all to dodge 30 strollers during the last 2 miles of a half marathon. He then replied that I should most likely not sign up. I told him that I was sure most of the fast runners would not sign up next year either. I felt a little bit bad bothering him with my concerns as I know as a race director just how hard it is to make everyone happy but I felt like I was standing up for my sport.