Why Do Some Races Cost So Much (Read 2462 times)


~Gordo~

    Now, I'm not complaining, just curious. I understand the cost of T-shirts, paying police to block streets and advertising. There is probably a big cost of insurance that we don't see. I don't mind paying for races, but dropping $90 (ok, I only paid $75 since I had a coupon) for the Virginia Beach Rock n' Roll Marathon made my wife ask "why does it cost so much, and what do you get for it?". Well besides the T-shirt, I really couldn't give her a good answer. Confused So if anyone can enlighten me, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, ~Gordo
    !If you don't...you won't! ~Remember the light at the end of tunnel maybe you~ ~If you choose not to decided, you still have made a choice~


    Blaine Moore (MM#2867)

      I know for some ultramarathons, it can get very pricy with getting rights to cross somebody's land or town permits and such. You also need to pay for a larger police/fire/emergency presence. The more towns that a race goes through, the higher the costs from a lot of duplicate fees. Depending upon sponsorships, the race may also need to pay for food, beverages, massage therapists, entertainment, renting out a hall for expo or finish ceremonies, etc. They may also be trying to raise extra money for their supporting charity, or line the race director or organizations pockets.

      Run to Win
      24 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)



        Because mass produced Hanes cotton t-shirts with iron-on decals are surprisingly expensive. Like gold only better. MTA: sarcasm aside, the often overlooked truth is that some of the best races are some of the cheapest and also the best value. Conversely, a lot of the big city ones are a ridiculous rip-off. Our own Country Music Marathon is a great example: the goody bag is pretty laughable and its always exciting to see how crappy the Hanes undershirt will be this year. But if you shop around, read marathonguide.com, etc. .... you can find some great races, with great stuff, for way, way less than that $100 (or more). For example: The Rocket City marathon in Huntsville, AL is a great smallish marathon. I paid $50, got a finisher's hat (that's usable for training), the best tech shirt I've ever gotten, a semi-decent medal, and a finisher's certificate and picture sent to your home, all included. And perfect crowd support, people walk you into the race hotel personally ... it can't be beat. They even had Jack Daniels show up at the pasta dinner. Trent's Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon is another great example. I think I paid $60.00 last year. Again, a small (just 200 people) marathon, but for that I got the world's greatest volunteers, more post-race food (homemade food) than I could possibly eat, FREE BEER, and a list of swag that includes: two years in a row of great technical shirts (the first year was unbeatable), a unique medal, and everybody got at least one or two door prizes - I walked away with a hat and two pairs of training socks, better than I buy myself. Probably $100 worth of stuff if you included it all. Smaller races save money a lot of places. The savings gets passed to you. More fun, too, in my opinion. Less stress, too.
        E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
        -----------------------------

        milkbaby


          Don't forget that Elite Racing who is behind the R'n'R races is a company out to make a profit and pay all their employees. Not that there is anything wrong with that! A race can cost a lot of money to put on what with all the costs involved such as: shirts ($2 to $10/runner) medals ($2 to $7/runner) police ($40 to $50/hour per officer) medical staff (???) portable toilets (???) city permits (???) food and drink ($1-$5/runner) advertising (???) timing (???) course design and layout (???) awards ($5-$25/trophy, cash prizes) race expo space (a few hundred to thousands per day depending) There are probably some races that couldn't happen if it wasn't for a big corporate sponsor to help pay for the costs.
          "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi "I have need to be all on fire, for I have mountains of ice about me to melt." -- William Lloyd Garrison "The marathon is an art; the marathoner is an artist." -- Kiyoshi Nakamura
            But if you shop around, read marathonguide.com, etc. .... you can find some great races, with great stuff, for way, way less than that $100 (or more).
            We have a local marathon here that's a whopping $45 with gorgeous weather and a beautiful course in February. The Tybee Marathon. I don't think the swag is all that special, as the shirt is just a long sleeve Hanes, but I think it's a pretty nice race. Maybe I'll do the half in a year or two...
            Brandon


            A Dance with Monkeys

              Thanks for the kind words JK.

               

              For the example of the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon, which costs runners $60 $70, here is what we pay, using milkbaby's list and for about 200 registrants.

               

               

              shirts - Tech shirt $25 each (includes runner's name), second cotton shirt $4 each

              medals - $7 each

              police - $600 overall (~$3 per runner)

              medical staff - volunteers now $500 (~$2 per runner)

              portable toilets - $300 (~$1.50 per runner)

              city permits - $350 for park, $275 for beer board (~$3 per runner)

              food and drink - $200 + loads of pot luck donated (~$1 per runner)

              advertising - none

              timing - volunteer now $500 (~$2 per runner)

              course design and layout - my spare time

              awards - $200 or so (~$1 per runner)

              race expo space - donated

              bibs - $1 per runner

              posters, other swag - a couple hundred dollars

               

              There are other costs, but I cannot remember them off the top of my head. But just this above comes to about $50 per person. And we have minimal police needs, no road closures and no bands, etc. I think the actual cost to us per runner was about $54 in 2007. So for our little bitty race we have loads of volunteers and donated goods and still pump up to $60 $70.

               

              I wish it could be free. But to be free or lower, we'd need a bunch of sponsors. We have great sponsors donating goods, but to get a big sponsor to underwrite portions of the race would mean putting their name on it and losing some of the grassroots feel we seek. Our goal is to have a small, non-corporate feel and to break even, so we have avoided major sponsorship thus far. We also like to keep a bit extra to provide as a donation to the park that supports the race, which is why we end up with the $60 $70 fee.  But a $0 fee is appealing...

               

              We could drop the price substantially by eliminating the tech shirt, some of the free swag and the wooden medal. A $25 registration fee IS appealing. But we have asked and everybody tells us that they want the shirt and medal. Of course, we could have a swag-free registration category, but that adds to the administrative burden. For big races that have to close loads of roads, pay for big expos and police and food, etc, and also make a profit, it does not surprise me that the race costs loads more.

               

              And for something that takes weeks to years of training, and hundreds or thousands of dollars in travel and equipment over that period and for your goal race, what is $100? Or so many race organizers think. And the big races have a bunch of sponsors which increase the bottom line, but also help pay for all the extra costs that big city races have to deal with.

               

              [modified to update cost info, 2011]

                don't forget appearance fees for the some of the big names, etc

                Just running for the fun of it!


                A Dance with Monkeys

                  don't forget appearance fees for the some of the big names, etc
                  Right, that costs a bunch too, as does a headline band. We have none of that at our race.
                  Mr Inertia


                  Suspect Zero

                    .


                    A Dance with Monkeys

                      So, turning the question around, what is a race worth to you? What is a 5k worth? What about a marathon? A race that you have focused your life towards for some six months ...


                      Imminent Catastrophe

                        Thanks for the kind words JK. For the example of the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon, which costs runners $60, here is what we pay, using milkbaby's list and for about 200 registrants. ... There are other costs, but I cannot remember them off the top of my head...
                        monkey rental?

                        "Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"

                         "To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain

                        "The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.

                         

                        √ Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 20/21 July 2013

                        Boston Marathon 21 April 2014

                        Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 19/20 July 2014

                        Mr Inertia


                        Suspect Zero

                          So, turning the question around, what is a race worth to you? What is a 5k worth? What about a marathon? A race that you have focused your life towards for some six months ...
                          5k and 10k - $35 max and only willing to go that high for a certified course. HM - $50 max marathon - $90 max until I BQ
                            5k: $20 13.1: $35 26.2: $75 except for Boston.

                            Runners run.


                            A Dance with Monkeys

                              monkey rental?
                              They cannot be rented or owned. They can own us.
                              $75 except for Boston.
                              Why Boston?
                                If you want a cheap race close to where you live, consider making your own.

                                Speed my steps along your path, according to your will.