Author Topic: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?  (Read 1264 times)

englishteacheralex

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Saw this article about the decline of participation in road races in the New York Times today:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/05/sports/ny-marathon-running.html?mabReward=CTS2&recid=0vySxjbfkbp9prL2JezTObHEHwW&recp=7&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&region=CColumn&module=Recommendation&src=rechp&WT.nav=RecEngine

Here's a quote I found interesting:

In a 2017 survey, Running USA found that 20 percent of runners expected to decrease their race participation. Half of the runners in the survey said they thought that races were too expensive and that cost was a top 10 factor in deciding whether or not to register for a race. The survey also indicated that six in 10 runners would participate in more races if fees were low.

Phil Stewart, the president of Road Race Management, said that prices had grown so quickly because they could ó people kept paying them. But now races are starting to see price resistance.


Running road races was a major hobby of mine about ten years ago. I probably ran in around one event per month. Back then I mostly ran pick-up events with fees of $10-$20. Life and kids have cut into my long distance running, but I was thinking of entering a 10k to give me some focus to get back on the horse.

Couldn't find a race for less than $40. I don't begrudge them the fee, I guess; maybe it costs that much to put on a race. But I also can't bring myself to pay it.

Anybody else want to gripe about this with me?
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okits

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2017, 12:01:46 AM »
I hear ya.  I ran more races pre-kids, but now that they get most of our time, energy, and money, it's a struggle to find time to train, haul myself out for a race, and blow a bunch of money on fees.

MEC (Canadian REI) puts on a series of low-frills runs for low fees (you get chip timing and a banana at the end, that's it).  I'm going to give those a go next year, and maybe sign up for one regular 5k.  I've determined that I just don't have the time to train for 10ks right now. 
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Little Aussie Battler

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2017, 01:07:51 AM »
I refuse to pay money to run.

cerat0n1a

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2017, 01:48:58 AM »
We have several hundred free 5K events every Saturday here in Britain - organised by volunteers - parkrun. About 100 000 people take part on any given weekend. No chip timing, but all the results from every event are up on the website, so I can look at my 200+ results and those of my friends and I know that I can turn up on a Saturday morning at any parkrun in the country with my barcode and get a recorded time for my run.

Parkrun has spread from Britain to Australia and some European countries and there are now about 15 in the US - http://www.parkrun.us/ Be interesting to see if the volunteer model works in the States. I guess insurance/litigation culture is the thing that makes races expensive for you guys.

iowajes

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2017, 01:53:10 AM »
I don't run. But my family does.
To be a good sport, I'm walking the Turkey Trot they are doing on Thanksgiving. It is $30, and has no shirt.


Does a race even exist if there is no shirt?


My Dad paid all the fees, so I don't really care. If my knees and ankles hold out it will be a fine way to spend an hour. Need to work on a back carry for my daughter, she's getting heavy for front carry for long distances.

marty998

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2017, 05:02:31 AM »
We have several hundred free 5K events every Saturday here in Britain - organised by volunteers - parkrun. About 100 000 people take part on any given weekend. No chip timing, but all the results from every event are up on the website, so I can look at my 200+ results and those of my friends and I know that I can turn up on a Saturday morning at any parkrun in the country with my barcode and get a recorded time for my run.

Parkrun has spread from Britain to Australia and some European countries and there are now about 15 in the US - http://www.parkrun.us/ Be interesting to see if the volunteer model works in the States. I guess insurance/litigation culture is the thing that makes races expensive for you guys.

+1 to Parkrun!! We have so many in Aus, and the courses are beautiful, especially on the coast and beaches.

I agree though with the sentiments that the organised events are getting way out of hand - it was $105 to enter the last half marathon I did, and I only entered it because work sponsored it.

It's ridiculous, someone is making a mint out of it.

Dave1442397

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2017, 06:00:41 AM »
I quit doing most of the cycling events that my friends like to sign up for. The only time I'll consider paying for an organised ride now is if it's somewhere I haven't been before, and has great scenery.

Askel

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2017, 06:23:38 AM »
I guess insurance/litigation culture is the thing that makes races expensive for you guys.

I help organize a bunch of different races for different things.  Insurance for running/cycling events is typically pretty cheap. $3-$5/head, typically with a minimum of a couple hundred bucks. 

And there's usually better deals to be had with a little research. So no, I wouldn't blame insurance costs. 


simonsez

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2017, 07:53:18 AM »
I refuse to pay money to run.
+1

...or swim or dance or bike (or "spinning") or lift things.

GreenSheep

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2017, 11:38:56 AM »
Saw this article about the decline of participation in road races in the New York Times today:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/05/sports/ny-marathon-running.html?mabReward=CTS2&recid=0vySxjbfkbp9prL2JezTObHEHwW&recp=7&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&region=CColumn&module=Recommendation&src=rechp&WT.nav=RecEngine

Here's a quote I found interesting:

In a 2017 survey, Running USA found that 20 percent of runners expected to decrease their race participation. Half of the runners in the survey said they thought that races were too expensive and that cost was a top 10 factor in deciding whether or not to register for a race. The survey also indicated that six in 10 runners would participate in more races if fees were low.

Phil Stewart, the president of Road Race Management, said that prices had grown so quickly because they could ó people kept paying them. But now races are starting to see price resistance.


Running road races was a major hobby of mine about ten years ago. I probably ran in around one event per month. Back then I mostly ran pick-up events with fees of $10-$20. Life and kids have cut into my long distance running, but I was thinking of entering a 10k to give me some focus to get back on the horse.

Couldn't find a race for less than $40. I don't begrudge them the fee, I guess; maybe it costs that much to put on a race. But I also can't bring myself to pay it.

Anybody else want to gripe about this with me?

Yep, I'm with you. I stopped running marathons for other reasons (training time, wear and tear on the body), but the cost savings was very nice. And I don't run shorter races because I refuse to pay for something that's not a big, hairy goal for me like a marathon. So my only running now is straight out my front door, and I'm perfectly happy with that. The scenery is nice and I get to wave at my neighbors.

ChipmunkSavings

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2017, 11:57:43 AM »
I agree as well. I always refused to run 5k because of the price per mile. Half-marathons can easily run 80$+, and that's with the advance pricing a year out. Incredible! I'm a bit bitter about it because they use volunteers to give out the water, juice and other stuff. I suppose the security cost is the main factor?

I used to participate a lot in obstacle races as well. Tough Mudder is one of the most expensive : a last-minute ticket will run you 200+ dollars for 10-12km. They nickel-and-dime you also by making you pay 15$ for parking (in a field, with nothing around for miles), pay for a locker, and of course the pictures after. They are mainly staffed by volunteers who get a discount ticket. I've heard from organizers that these are very profitable : they only need a tractor and some wood to make most of the obstacles. The organizer said that this was done by a team of 2-3 guys over 3 days before the event.

Russ

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2017, 09:20:47 AM »
5k's are free... I just ran one the other day
same with 10k's, marathons, 50k's, etc.
If you don't want to do it alone, make some running friends

englishteacheralex

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2017, 10:46:50 AM »
^Yeah, I know. This is why I can't bring myself to pay $40 for a race fee.

HOWEVER, I used to find the races very motivating. The looming deadline of a race inspired me to get up and do my alone runs for weeks beforehand. And the experience of a real race, with people cheering on the sidelines and a finish line with snacks and happy people who have accomplished something difficult before 9 am--that was always a lot of fun.

I miss it. I'm starting to want to part with $40 just thinking about it.
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golden1

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2017, 06:32:41 PM »
Yeah I run 2 5Ks and a 10K a week, for free.  Just not into the racing scene.  I have done a few, but I canít see shelling out $30 or more every week.

ixtap

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2017, 06:38:25 PM »
I refuse to pay money to run.
+1

...or swim or dance or bike (or "spinning") or lift things.

I will totally pay to dance if it means a good DJ or band and a few good partners!

On the other hand, I have not yet established the amount that you could pay me to run.

PDM

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2017, 07:21:58 PM »
Really depends, I'll pay for a goal race to give motivation and something to aim for in training (like a half). I won't stump up for a 10km unless it is unique and interesting. 5km I could do for free at park run if I was able to get up early enough on a Saturday. I also found running a 'race' 5km on every Saturday didn't fit with any other training plan I had.

cerat0n1a

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2017, 12:29:01 AM »
I also found running a 'race' 5km on every Saturday didn't fit with any other training plan I had.

I view parkrun primarily as a social occasion/short training run with friends. I only "race" it every couple of months, at most.

Primm

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2017, 12:38:20 AM »
I view parkrun primarily as a social occasion/short training run with friends. I only "race" it every couple of months, at most.

Likewise. parkrun is part of my training routine, and every now and then (about as often as I used to race a 5k) I'll go for broke. But otherwise I take it easy.

And no, I haven't paid for a 5k entry since parkrun started here in 2011.

PDM

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2017, 01:03:24 AM »
I also found running a 'race' 5km on every Saturday didn't fit with any other training plan I had.

I view parkrun primarily as a social occasion/short training run with friends. I only "race" it every couple of months, at most.

I may have a slight competitive streak and be unable to run it slowly. Hello injuries!

cerat0n1a

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2017, 02:28:29 AM »
I may have a slight competitive streak and be unable to run it slowly. Hello injuries!

Well, the "gentle training run with friends" does sometimes turn into a flat out sprint in the last couple of hundred metres :-)

BlueMR2

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2017, 05:07:07 PM »
Not running, but other things...

Cycling entry fees are up too.  I no longer do organized cycling rides.  I also dropped out of the local cycling clubs.  There were some good group rides, but $$$ again for the memberships.  Hooked up with other locals that meet up from time to time and ride together as individuals rather than a paid club...  :-)

Similar deal with autocross (poor man's auto racing).  $15 used to buy you 6-8 runs of 45-60 seconds on course.  Over the last decade they've decided to "professionalize" the club and now it's $60 for 3 runs of 30-40 seconds...  Price got jacked up so they could rent much nicer lots, which attract a LOT more cars, but confuses me as it's actually a lot less fun.  I hate paying more money for less fun, so I'm out now.  Especially when a full day at the local road course (anywhere from 3-6 hours of track time depending on how many show up) is only $125.  A MUCH better value.

RetirementDreaming

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2017, 05:41:41 PM »
My sister called and wanted to do the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.  It would be $100 for me and my 2 kids.  I said no Thank you.   After dinner we can take the kids for a walk/run to the park for FREE.

Cwadda

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2017, 06:03:40 PM »
How about sticking to charity running events?  I'm not sure exactly how these all operate and the associated costs, but just a thought.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2017, 06:14:51 PM »
Charity events? Like the kind where you raise money for a cause by running a certain amount? Or the kind where they donate your race fee to a cause?

Well...the ones that donate the race fees are still generally quite expensive. Sometimes more expensive.

And then there are organizations through which you enter a normal event, such as the Honolulu Marathon, but you canvas your family and friends to donate money to a cause (Leukemia/Lymphoma was very big on this back when I was running races a lot) through your running of the race.

I could never figure out how to justify my family/friends paying my race and travel fees in order to donate to Leukemia/Lymphoma. I figured if Leukemia/Lymphoma research was so important to me, it would be a lot more efficient for me to write a check to them and then pay my own racing fees and associated travel costs. Or ask my family/friends to join me in writing a check to them, and then paying my own racing fees and associated travel costs.

Never could bring myself to do a charity run in this way, although I have written checks to friends and family members who have done them.

Anyway, running for charity doesn't really entail less money as far as I can see.
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evensjw

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2017, 06:37:40 PM »
The problem seems to be that every event has to offer a free T-shirt, tacky finishers medal and various other 'freebies' that you know you actually paid for as part of the race fee.

My girlfriend has worked in screen printing and is always aghast at the terrible quality of the T-shirt printing, but also the number of colors they use, how many different parts of the shirt are printed etc.  Plus I'm sure they paid some designer to come up with the logo (most events near me insist on a different design every year!).

So yes, for the most part I have stopped entering due to the high fees, although I agree with some others, that entering a race gives you a target to aim for in your training, and you tend to get personal bests in a race with the extra motivation and support, plus bragging rights on your official time. 

But with Strava and things like that now available, you get better tracking that some races even provide.

okits

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2017, 06:54:13 PM »
Yeah I run 2 5Ks and a 10K a week, for free.  Just not into the racing scene.  I have done a few, but I canít see shelling out $30 or more every week.

Definitely not weekly!  Once or twice a year.
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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2017, 07:26:42 PM »
I guess paying the race fees allows you to brag to your family and friends that you ran a 5k or 10k. My sister runs these races and then tells my parents about it and they fawn all over her fitness levels because she joined a race and got a medal.

Meanwhile, I tell them that on that same day I inline skated 14 miles around my neighborhood. But I didn't get a medal or pay a fee to enter the race, so no fawning over me for that.

It's unfair I tell you.

(no sibling rivalry here)

MayDay

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2017, 12:03:21 PM »
We've done a couple but stopped due to cost.

I don't want a race shirt EVER. They are always ugly and plastered with sponsorship. They go right in the Goodwill bin. Offering a shirt is actually a disincentive.

My H used to do a walking marathon and he came in first in his age group a couple times. But now it costs over 100. Nah.
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Rubic

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2017, 02:47:15 PM »
Meanwhile, I tell them that on that same day I inline skated 14 miles around my neighborhood. But I didn't get a medal or pay a fee to enter the race, so no fawning over me for that.

So what?  Last weekend I cleaned my bathroom.  You won't hear me
bragging about it.

Actually, I thought about cleaning my bathroom, then didn't get around
to doing it.  But still.

BlueMR2

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2017, 07:44:18 AM »
I don't want a race shirt EVER. They are always ugly and plastered with sponsorship. They go right in the Goodwill bin. Offering a shirt is actually a disincentive.

I volunteer to work local marathons/triathlons for the shirts.  :-)  I walk or bike over, work, and get a free shirt.  Probably a quarter of the shirts I have are from those events!  I can't imagine passing up on a free shirt!  I haven't had to buy a shirt in years.

dcamnc

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2017, 11:27:52 PM »
It seems like since the big race management companies took over managing our local races 10 or 15 years ago, the prices have skyrocketed. They do generally have their sh*t together when managing races, but I miss the mom and pop feel of the local races from the old days (and the $15 fees). Also, this is selfish, but I do miss placing. It's almost impossible for an average runner to place in today's races with their 256,000,000 participants; in the old days, it wasn't super hard to place with the smaller number of runners.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2017, 12:28:37 PM »
I don't want a race shirt EVER. They are always ugly and plastered with sponsorship. They go right in the Goodwill bin. Offering a shirt is actually a disincentive.

Does no-one else think finisher T-shirt give kudos and bragging rights? I certainly do, for marathon level.

GreenSheep

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Re: Anybody else stop running 5ks etc. because the fees got too high?
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2017, 05:25:54 PM »
I don't want a race shirt EVER. They are always ugly and plastered with sponsorship. They go right in the Goodwill bin. Offering a shirt is actually a disincentive.

Does no-one else think finisher T-shirt give kudos and bragging rights? I certainly do, for marathon level.

No. I was pissed that both of my marathon t-shirts said "Marathon and Half Marathon." I didn't run the fucking HALF marathon. Besides, given the fact that a lot of people get rid of the t-shirts, I bet they can be acquired from thrift stores by people who don't run at all.