Sunday, September 22, 2013

Paying Too Much To Run?

People ask me all the time why I don't race more than a few times a year. The fact that I don't really care to "race" anymore is one reason. But the main reason is because it is just too expensive. With a wife and two small daughters, I just can't see dumping a load of money into a race, especially when it can go to my family.

Big races like the Boston marathon cost roughly $150 for registration. That's not counting hotel, food/drinks, expo spending, etc. New York City marathon is a whopping $255 if you are not a NYRR member. There are plenty of races that are steep in price, and I get that it does cost a lot of money to run a big city marathon. But it does make me wonder how many RD's out there are just jacking up the price because they know people will pay. That's where I have to call BS.

I ran an indoor marathon last year, yes, indoor. It was a local race, a first year event, and it was going to help out the college track team. It was held on a 200 meter track, which equaled out to 211 laps around. All of the help were volunteers. They may have paid the DJ, but he was terrible and played mostly 50's and 60's music. We brought our own bottles, which the aid stations filled for us. They had some water, Gatorade (I think), and a few gels. I can't recall if we had food, but honestly believe we didn't. Total cost was $75 for a shirt and a small medal.

I really didn't think $75 was too bad, a little steep, but doable. I said that I would come back, yet I have been on the fence about doing it again. Last year I dropped at 19 miles due to being sick (chest, head) coming into the race. This year there is a new RD, and with that comes a new race price, $100 to run an indoor marathon. Yes, the money is supposed to be going to the track team, but why the increase? There are no changes other than the RD. It is being held indoor so there are no outside people to pay. Shirt cost and cheap medals cost a little money, but $25 more per person for the same race...for the same stuff? I really wanted to support this race and make it a yearly event. I may still do it because my wife and kids could constantly watch me, which would be awesome. But if I decide to enter this marathon, while running lap after lap I will still question why some RD's think it's OK to stick it to the person who wants to race and have fun.

And it's not just this race. There are races all over America whose registration prices have skyrocketed in recent years. I guess it all boils down to this: Races sell out no matter the price tag.

But when will too much be....too much?


Kyle Kranz said...

I don't mind paying more for larger events, but when I pay twenty or twenty five dollars for a local 5k that has most of their time/supplies donated and probably has very little expenses other than the ugly shirt I'll never wear, that's a bit annoying.

With the larger races, I do understand. They have HUGE financial costs. I'm fine with paying $150+ for those big city ones. They have a lot to pay for.

But I'll take a $55 for the Brookings South Dakota Marathon with an awesome technical zip up over most other races, anyday.

Ray said...


I completely agree with the big city races. The financial costs are heavy, and understand all that goes into it.

But for races like the one I mentioned, with no real outside cost, I would like to see then justify the cost increase. As paying consumers, we should be informed. And not just the "it's going to the track team" reason.

5K's, as you have mentioned, are another that baffles me. Most are between $25 and $35 here. That's nuts.