>Racing>Why Do Some Races Cost So Much
Blaine Moore (MM#2867)
Run to Win24 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)
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).
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]
I'm running somewhere tomorrow. It's going to be beautiful. I can't wait.
Just running for the fun of it!
don't forget appearance fees for the some of the big names, etc
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...
"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
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 ...
$75 except for Boston.
Speed my steps along your path, according to your will.