Like Scott Douglas, Pete Magill expresses a running ethos that closely reflects my own. RT also posted the link on facebook and drew some interesting response there: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151306298467090&set=a.76658742089.100505.23403427089&type=1
Yes, of course we, the consumers, vote with our purchasing habits and we can vote against rip-off races by avoiding them. But what about when the competitive (and unregulated, in this case) market pushes the low-cost, no-frill races to the margins and then completely out of existence with their marketing tactics? There may be more races to choose from now than there were twenty, thirty, or forty years ago, but is there really more variety in race experience or is it becoming largely homogenized towards the charity penguinpaloozas? For instance, if I would want to race a marathon within a few hours' drive of where I live, I have to accept some combination of: paying gobs of money, possibly to an organization I would prefer to not support, entering months in advance, putting up with amateur hour organization, dealing with the traffic and parking hassle that comes with the charity mob, and running a course with mucho hills/turns. If I want to avoid that, it likely means an overnight trip up into the mountains (and thus a course at even higher altitude with more hills) or out east to one of the plains metropolises. My current preference is the latter, as much as a 'protest vote' as anything else – if I am going to be paying out hundreds of dollars anyway, might as well go down in altitude and choose a race that still favors competition over all other considerations.
The bit about the national anthem strikes me as odd, too. I am not against it, per se, just have a hard time seeing why it should be played before any and every freaking fun run. I have a hard time recalling when, if ever, the SSB was trotted out before the start of a track or cc meet in high school or in college. For example, I know it was not played prior to the Rocky Mountain Shootout (which, incidentally, is one of the top two competitive races in this entire region) when I ran it earlier this autumn, yet it was played prior to a subsequent road race I competed in.