Tuesday, September 20, 2011

*INTERVIEW* with Ken Baldo, Company Founder - 365Competitors, LLC

(Editors Note: If you are a racer, you have experienced a time that you needed to withdraw from an event, due to illness/injury. I was first introduced to Ken Baldo, Company Founder of 365Competitiors, LLC a few months ago via Social Media. He has graciously agreed to participate in this interview. The information he provides is timely for all race directors and participants)

Charlene: Please give me a personal background on yourself and what led you to establish 365?

Ken (K): I’ve always wanted to make a career out of something that I’m passionate about. Over the past 5 years I’ve run 12 marathons and participated in 50 other races. As a family man with financial responsibilities, I choose what races I register for very carefully.

Occasionally, I have had to miss an event because of injury or illness. None of the events ever offered a refund. The heartbreak over not being able to participate along with losing my registration fee gave me the idea for this business. 365Competitors was created to help athletes recoup their investment and give races a new way to make their event more attractive to potential participants. 


C:  With Running increasing in popularity - why are Event Directors so apprehensive about a refund policy?

K: I think there are a few reasons at play.

One of the main reasons is that once an event collects registration fees from all participants, it’s difficult to give refunds, as doing so means loss of revenue.

Another reason most races don’t have a full refund policy is that doing so demands administrative dollars and manpower that most races don’t have, especially if they’re not-for-profit events. That’s where we come in.

365Competitors handles it all. We’re not asking races to change their refund policy, but offering this insurance is a really great way to show a great care for athletes who support their events every year.

C: What are some of the key benefits to the Event Directors to offer a Refund Policy?

K: The key to offering our Registration Reimbursement Insurance is that it protects ALL participants who register for the race. Doing so offers peace of mind to athletes and helps them register early knowing their investment is insured.

The race event benefits in numerous ways, too. Our product creates a positive buzz around the event and shows the event’s good will to their participants. It helps race events collect registration fees faster and earlier. And our policy often converts the undecided who may choose another race. It can also reduce the DNFs since athletes don’t feel pressured to run injured or sick.

365Competitors really is a case of what’s good for the race is also good for the runners!

C: What benefits have you seen by having this policy into their race program?

K: Since we have just recently rolled out the product, I can tell you why it’s catching on.

One of our clients described it the following way: “In order to take advantage of better race pricing, and guarantee themselves a position in the race, athletes have to register months in advance. Through 365Competitors, we are now able to include an extra peace of mind for all athletes entering our events months before the race. If they get injured or ill their race fee is fully refundable."

C:  How many races are covered by 365 this year?

K: The product was made available through us in mid 2011 and over 40 races are embracing the product for their 2011 and/or 2012 events. We’re starting to look at 2012 now when we’ll have the benefit of working with race directors on implementing the product for their entire calendar year of events.

C:  What can runners do to educate and encourage their local Event Directors to offer a refund policy through 365?

K:  We’re doing all we can to get the word out. But we’re also relying on runners to let their race directors know that there is an insurance program that gives 100% full refunds back to them if they can’t participate because of injury or illness.

We encourage athletes to talk about how great this would be through traditional methods, as well as social media like Facebook, Twitter and Running Blogs.

C:  Are there any drawbacks to offering this policy to their Events?  Who pays for the refund request?

K:  The only drawback we see is not offering it.

Almost every other industry provides buyers some sort of insurance including travel, Broadway show tickets, NASCAR event tickets, and others. We’d like to see our program become a standard just like finishers’ medals, race shirts and all of the other benefits race participants usually receive.

C:  Any additional information you would like to offer to runners and/or Event Directors?

K:  I’d like to underscore that implementing our product requires no additional administration or people-power on the part of the race staff.

All claims are processed by 365Competitors including claim reviews and payouts.

Also, I’d like to add that in most cases, for the price of an energy gel, race directors can protect each athlete with our product. The cost is easily offset in many different ways including a boost in registration sales and additional sponsorship opportunities. There is no other company out there that offers such a program. And the best part is, it’s easy to put into place, low cost and a great way to increase early registration.

C:  What is your website for Event Directors to inquire?

K:  www.365Competitors.com 

C:  Thank you so much for your time and valuable information, Ken.  I hope more and more race directors learn the value of offering a refund policy underwritten by 365Competitors, LLC

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(c) C. Ragsdale 2011
Celebrate Your Finish,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Certified Sports Nutritionist, Running Coach & Public Speaker
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