Running up a bill: Tenley Tiger Run

Noah Gross and Noam Jacobovitz

When the azaleas and cherry blossoms start to bloom, Tiger faithful know that the Tenley Tiger Run is around the corner. This year, the run boasted a new a high in participantion, clocking in at 536 runners. Their profit, however, is expected to be $12,000—$3,000 less than expected due to DC Government regulations.

Every year, the Wilson Track Boosters pay around $15,000 to fund the race. This year there was a $3,000 to $5,000 increase due to new city fees.  

Any time an organization wants to use city streets for an event, they have to engage the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). This is non-negotiable. The Boosters gives MPD a map of the route and they decide which locations (usually intersections and alleys) need to have officers and cruisers on site. Each officer is paid at their union rate of $70 an hour for a minimum of four hours. This usually ends up being nine to ten thousand dollars.

Organizations must also pay the District Department of Transportation for the use of city streets according to a Traffic Control Plan. This year, the fee jumped from $800 to $2,300 unexpectedly because of the Clear Routes Initiative, a relatively new MPD program requiring the whole route to be cleared of parked cars. And, if there are cars left on the road, then organizations have to pay Department of Public Works (DPW) for tow trucks to remove them—each truck costing $500. The city scheduled one truck for the Tiger Run but two more had to be ordered in order to tow all the leftover cars. The owners of each towed car were assessed a parking ticket—or sometimes two. The Track Boosters are working with neighbors and the city  to get them waived. There is also a set but unanticipated DDOT technology fee that contributes to the overall cost.

The final fee also goes towards DPW to pay for dump trucks filled with sand and placed at vulnerable locations to prevent someone from crashing their car into runners. DPW set four trucks along the 5k route. The total price for this was $1,280. DPW has waived this charge and the charge for the tow trucks.  

While these government fees certainly cut into the total profit, the program will still make  a nice profit. This will go towards subsidizing costs of regional and national meets in order to give team members the opportunity to compete for medals and college scholarships and coaching clinics and equipment.