We loved Battlefrog, back in 2014. They graciously brought several of our community to the New Jersey event (seemingly shocked that we didn’t consider it local) – and we managed to squeeze together the biggest team of the day. We ran the 15k, enjoyed the Seal demonstrations and some of us even got to go up in a helicopter!
The review was glowing – but in my own head, I was certainly concerned.
NJ 2014 was only their fourth race. The kind of money and expense that had gone into it was not in line with that young history. An extremely challenging, well done course. An active, well planned venue. Incredible entertainment and the unique helo rides.
Regardless of how well that event went – they had a huge, uphill battle ahead of them. They need more attendance, and they needed it bad. To support a race of that size, that scale – it wasn’t possible with the turn out we saw in NJ – and many of those seemed to be on comp, or heavily discounted entries.
My theory was simple – having a wealthy backer, and a three year plan is one thing (as staff frequently assured us) – but no one will simply hand money out, hand over fist for three years. There will be sales targets, there will be financial goals, there will be accountability.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen that they clearly have not been able to get up that hill.
The Seal demo’s didn’t pick up again in 2015, and the expensive Helo rides didn’t happen either.
Following that, reports of downsizing staff levels continued – before the biggest changes – Sundays were axed all together, then the 15k format was dropped and reduced to an 8k, with elites doing two laps to keep the difficultly happening earlier this year.
Just the other weekend at the 2015 New Jersey event, the signature “Tsunami” obstacle appeared to be a shadow of it’s former self – with reports from participants indicating it wasn’t the only change to the course. 40% discount codes became common place again.
Today though, after more cuts, including their Managing Director – Battlefrog have just let go their last remaining regional race managers – with speculation being that this means they no longer have a sales organization.
With a New England race coming up – and the New England race manager being “one of our own” – what does this mean?
Christine is now looking for work, and being the classy gal she is, she’s encouraging everyone to still go and have fun in the mud, and helping to answer questions about training events, codes, registrations – despite some comments and calls to boycott.
They need people – far more than they’re getting.
The company line is clear – they believe they are making the right choices for their longevity – shorter courses means more venue options. Fewer staff mean fewer expenses. Maybe easier courses mean more attendance?
Ultimately – the litmus test for me is simple.
Would I recommend you register for a 2016 New England event, if it’s significantly discounted Barre later this month?
No. I would not.
Lets wait, and see what happens next.