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Over the years we have all see people seeking or offering 'race places' for whatever reasons. This might become more frequent as the cost of entries increase.
Rightly or wrongly I have always thought that numbers were not transferable to avoid 'touts' and/or the administration costs of transferring/refunding (especially smaller local races).
All big races will be using computers that could easily handle returned numbers and refunds.
Most big races will even boast of the comparatively small number of DNS.
Generally runners/tri-athletes are known to get injured occasionally(!) so why perpetuate a rule that was perhaps more appropriate when race administration was all done manually.
Most businesses nowadays are into 'no quibble' refunds when taking goods back as a Customer Service initiative. Do big races believe that they are so popular they can afford to ignore Customer Service?
I am only thinking of BIG races and clearly not if a race is cancelled because there are always costs to be met. Though at the back of my mind I am thinking big races must already have certain insurances that are already reflected in their costs.