Author Topic: NYT: The $1600 Marathon (costs include dog-walking service and post-race booze)  (Read 5900 times)


slugline

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Legitimate marathon-connected costs: entry fee, travel/lodging expenses, shoes/socks (they get broken down during the training cycle).

Costs not legitimately connected to this marathon:
Intermediate races -- After five previous marathons, she should have a race-day routine established. Also, the cited  fees are oddly high for 2 5Ks and 2 10-milers that aren't goal races in themselves.
Gear -- Everything but shoes/socks is pretty durable. Unless you radically change sizes, the rest of your tech fabric stuff can last a decade or more.
Food -- a difference of $80 over the course of a 4-5 month training cycle is negligible, really.
Gym membership -- No, it's not the marathon's fault you didn't feel like canceling this.
Post-race celebrations -- Only as expensive as you make it.
Ibuprofen -- I am not a doctor, but 1.5 large bottles of ibuprofen in one training cycle doesn't seem like a healthy level of consumption.

In other words, the author is exaggerating a little.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2016, 03:48:02 PM by slugline »

nereo

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This is a good illustration on how people can spend a crap-ton of money on a hobby/sport, or they can do it cheaply.

You certainly can spend $1,600 (or lots, lots more if you have a personal trainer or go to destination races) on a marathon, or you can spend closer to $300 by choosing local races and training with friends (new shoes, socks and a race fee are about the only necessary costs).

Also - $10 per dog walk?  I need this side gig.  Let's see, I figure I could walk 12 dogs per day @ $10/walk...

onlykelsey

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This is a good illustration on how people can spend a crap-ton of money on a hobby/sport, or they can do it cheaply.

You certainly can spend $1,600 (or lots, lots more if you have a personal trainer or go to destination races) on a marathon, or you can spend closer to $300 by choosing local races and training with friends (new shoes, socks and a race fee are about the only necessary costs).

Also - $10 per dog walk?  I need this side gig.  Let's see, I figure I could walk 12 dogs per day @ $10/walk...

I pay $15!  That does not seem related to my running habit, though.  That is related to my job hours.

Of course she is bonded and insured, and pays taxes, so it's a lot less than $15.

mm1970

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This is a good illustration on how people can spend a crap-ton of money on a hobby/sport, or they can do it cheaply.

You certainly can spend $1,600 (or lots, lots more if you have a personal trainer or go to destination races) on a marathon, or you can spend closer to $300 by choosing local races and training with friends (new shoes, socks and a race fee are about the only necessary costs).

Also - $10 per dog walk?  I need this side gig.  Let's see, I figure I could walk 12 dogs per day @ $10/walk...
Yes very good points.  Six years ago I did my first sprint triathlon.  Being 40 and not really knowing how to swim (much less in the OCEAN), I joined a training group.

It was a great experience.  There were 3 coaches, and it met 3x a week.  The swim coach was a friend of mine.  I learned to swim (first in a pool, then in the ocean).  During the training probably capped out at a mile long swim (the actual event was 500 yd swim, 6 mile bike, 2 mile run).

I liked it so much I did it again, and improved my time the next year.

But then I quit.  Why?  Well, I was pregnant.  But I still haven't gone back.  I'd love to do another on again but...squeezing out the time to train seems pretty tough.  And the cost?
Training group: $275 for the summer (June-August).  Do I need a training group?  No, but (1) it's really nice to have the support and (2) at the very least I'd need a buddy for the ocean swim.  Training group comes with lifeguards.
Entrance fees: $150

There you go, over $400. The first year I also bought a wetsuit ($100) and tri shorts ($30).

MgoSam

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As with nearly all hobbies there are ways to do it cheap and there are ways not to. I used to be a somewhat serious runner but I was pretty smart about it. My only non-trivial expense was running shoes at around $90 a pop. The clothes I wore were multi-use workout ones. My gym hosted a running group for training runs. When I didn't care about distances I would just run until I got a little tired and would return back. I got a GPS watch as a gift, but before that I would occasionally go to Mapmyrun.com to find out how far I ran, or to devise a route. In high school when I wanted to see how fast I would run I bought a $5 stopwatch from Kmart.

For races, I'm not a huge fan of races, but I did a half marathon for around $40. It wasn't a cosmopolitan one that comes with a hefty price tag but one that was put on by a triathlon supply store and thus had the lower fee.

Darn, now that I think about it, I should get back into running. It has been a great stress reliever and a great way to get some fresh air.

ducky19

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i run ultramarathons - anything from 50k up to 100 miles. I love the distance, but part of the reason I run longer races is the mile:dollar ratio. For instance, a 100 miler will usually cost $125-$200 depending on the race. That's $1.50-$2/mile. A typical 5k will cost you $20-$35 (again, depending on the race). That works out to $7-$12/mile(ish).

I have run 2 hundreds and one 30 mile race this year, plus already payed for another 50k and hundred miler. My overall expenses for these races are around $700 including entry fees, travel expenses, and gear. I live in IL and traveled to WI for one race, will travel to TN and AR for the final two. Camping - and sharing campsites - with friends, plus carpooling are great ways to save a few bucks. I do spend about $10/pair on socks but they last a long time. I haven't bought a shirt in forever since most races have a nice technical shirt as part of your entry fee. I just bought a new pair of shorts for $35 since the pair I have worn for the past 7 years finally wore out in the crotch. I definitely do have friends that spend a lot more than I do, but it's really not necessary to enjoy yourself.

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I've never understood the desire to pay money to run/swim/bike.  Can't one do these activities without paying a $10+/mile to some organization that exists to... basically collect money from a bunch of other people to run.  I mean basically the timers and banners and teeshirts and cool stat website and photographers and emcee and all the hoopla around these 'races' are just overhead for a hobby one can do alone, or for free with friends.  If one is a competitive racer in their sport, I understand. But by definition only 10% of racers are really competing for top spots... why do average people who do it for 'fun' pay such exaggerated fees?

Note: I run to be alone. I don't find running to be a social activity, and don't enjoy running in large groups.

nereo

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I've never understood the desire to pay money to run/swim/bike.  Can't one do these activities without paying a $10+/mile to some organization that exists to... basically collect money from a bunch of other people to run.  I mean basically the timers and banners and teeshirts and cool stat website and photographers and emcee and all the hoopla around these 'races' are just overhead for a hobby one can do alone, or for free with friends.  If one is a competitive racer in their sport, I understand. But by definition only 10% of racers are really competing for top spots... why do average people who do it for 'fun' pay such exaggerated fees?

Note: I run to be alone. I don't find running to be a social activity, and don't enjoy running in large groups.

I believe the biggest reason can be described in one word:  motivation.

Like you, I run to be alone, and find it to be a good social activity.  I cringe whenever someone invites me to go running with them.  I also was a competitive swimmer and went to college to a Div1 school on partial scholarship. But as I transitioned to my 'adult' life I've seen more nad more of my friends start doing running and cycling and open-water races and it took me a while to 'get' it; often they weren't particularly fast and many of them weren't even particularly fit. "Why" I kept asking "are you paying hundreds of dollars to run a course on Saturday that you can run for free on Sunday?"

Over time I came to realize that these races can be very important for a lot of people.  It creates a 'deadline' - a date to train for, which prevents them from taking days off from exercising.  Particularly for longer races they provide support, both physical substinance ('fueling stations') and people cheering; its much harder to quit when people are watching, cheering you on. Regardless of how elite a person is, people quickly find others who are close to them in speed and try to match or beat their pace (even if they are complete strangers).  Once the race is over it gives them a sense of accomplishment that's a bit more tangible than doing it alone; a t-shirt to remember it by, a website with race results, even a race number that can be tacked on the wall. The race atmosphere also makes it enjoyable, with music, food and drink and lots of like-minded people (many of them single) lingering around the finish.  There are very few places where it's easier to just go up to a stranger and start talking to them without it seeming creepy ("hey, I was pacing off you the last 20 minutes - do you do races around here often?")

Different motivations work for different people, but pay-to-race events push a lot of different motivation buttons and I'll support almost anything that gets people outside doing healthy things/

ETA: My wife reminded me of one more - race events often allow participants to race on courses that they otherwise couldn't or wouldn't feel safe.  For examples, running/cycling on streets normally filled with cars, swimming across a lake but with rescuers on paddleboards nearby in case you cramp up, the logistical support for doing triathlons (not only do you need a place to swim, bike and run, but also places to store a bike, running shoes, and change - even serious triathletes rarely get to do all three together when training).
« Last Edit: July 31, 2016, 07:20:11 AM by nereo »

Chaplin

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I paid a lot to go do the New York Marathon and I don't regret it a bit! As usual, it's about being able to do anything, not everything. I chose this over a bunch of other things. If I kept signing up for multiple destination races every year, it would definitely be a problem. One in a many years of running? Ok by me.

I do most of my training alone only a few races per year, and usually the low-cost ones (MEC has a great series with $15 races). As life got busier with kid and work, the extra motivation of having a race to train for has been good for me. Not everyone needs it, I'm sure, but training is partly about figuring out what works for you.


ducky19

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I've never understood the desire to pay money to run/swim/bike.  Can't one do these activities without paying a $10+/mile to some organization that exists to... basically collect money from a bunch of other people to run.  I mean basically the timers and banners and teeshirts and cool stat website and photographers and emcee and all the hoopla around these 'races' are just overhead for a hobby one can do alone, or for free with friends.  If one is a competitive racer in their sport, I understand. But by definition only 10% of racers are really competing for top spots... why do average people who do it for 'fun' pay such exaggerated fees?

Note: I run to be alone. I don't find running to be a social activity, and don't enjoy running in large groups.

I run to be alone, too. But I also run to hang out with friends. We have a great group of trail runners in our area who definitely help with the motivation part of training. Depending on my mood, I can run by myself or with a couple of great friends.

The races that we do aren't something you could just go out and do on your own (at least, not easily). There are no big crowds of spectators at most ultras. The majority of the race is spent running 3-8 miles between aid stations, usually by yourself but occasionally with someone else. The aid stations can be the only time you'll see another person, especially later in the race or in a point to point race. I feel pretty good about paying $1-$2 per mile, especially since most of it is going back into the race. I use the races as motivation to keep myself moving the rest of the year, and usually cap my races to 5-6 a year. I am a back of the pack runner, but I do like to compete against myself, especially on a course I've run before. It's all about improving where I am today from yesterday. Not sure if this answers all of your questions, but hopefully it helps explain my motivations at least.

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The Millionaire Next Door Street Over


nereo

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The Millionaire Next Door Street Over


how does he collect all the poop?

Making Cookies

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Does he take the whole pack into buildings when he fetches the next dog or returns the next dog?

rawr237

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I'm in the middle of training for my first marathon, I read the article...the total is nuts, but each item didn't seem completely crazy by itself. Then I added up my own costs...
Gear - she did spend a lot. I've bought new insoles and a couple pairs of shoes so far ~$180
But now it's summer and I own tons of workout clothing from spendier days. I might need one more pair of tights to handle winter weather -- but I'd probably just run inside more.
Intermediate races - yeah I'm not doing any of those.
Registration - $98
Running fuel - I do think this is legit (though not a really high number)...just spent $13 myself on a variety of fuel packs to try. Will likely end up spending ~$25 by the time I'm done.
Laundry - again maybe it's a summer/winter difference (clothing bulk-wise) but I still do one load of laundry most weeks so don't expect this to be a factor.
Gym membership - Silly. I belong to the local rec center for $50/yr, but I wouldn't give it up because I strength train there, plus they have a small indoor track, treadmills, etc. Doesn't make sense to add this in because even not during marathon training I would pay for it.
Massages - Despite the prevailing MMM opinion that massages are a stupid thing to spend money on, I do think there is a physical benefit. I'm not interested in foo-foo relaxation -- I'll pay for an hour of pain to help work out issues. That being said, I rarely make that tradeoff. I foam roll at home regularly and bf rubs my feet and calves (plantar fascitis, yay) for free. I may get *one* massage = $70 with tip because my twinges are slowly increasing despite these measures.
Lodging - one night at the hotel, $130. Bf will likely split this cost even though he is just spectating. We may stay another night if I can get it free/on points. Gas for travel $20.
Post-race celebration - ??? I expect one post-race celebration meal, most likely paid my parents since my frequent-marathoner-mom is thrilled that I'm doing the race an 'letting' her do the same one. If it ends up being a weekend trip the other meals would get categorized under travel.

Total cost so far: $241 (race, fuel, hotel)
Projected cost: $343 + [post-race celebration] (includes 1 massage)

The benefit for me is mostly motivation, plus it's an item on my bucket list. If I weren't signed up for the race, I would not push myself to further distances. The experience of doing the race in a nearby city I haven't been to before, and improved health is worth it for me. I have noticeably improved my fitness since starting the training; aside from motivating me to run, it also motivates me to strength train and eat healthy (sometimes). However, currently I plan for the marathon to be a once-in-a-lifetime deal.

After the marathon I'm signed up for a Spartan Sprint in January (cost: $15 registration+ $? team shirts. I worked a volunteer shift to bring that number down, and travel costs get categorized as 'travel' because I'm combining the race with visiting family and wine country). I plan to keep doing a couple triathlons/races a year because training for an event keeps me more focused than training for 'overall health' even though I'm slow enough to only be racing myself. When I previously did tris I spent quite a bit on gear and registrations, but now that I am somewhat frugal plus own the stuff I expect the sustaining cost to be manageable.

I also like to run (and hike) by myself because I want to go at my own pace at all times.

I do see how it could seem like a series of ridiculous and unnecessary expenditures, and if I hit a tight spot I would definitely switch to just the gym/free exercise. But the opportunity to participate in a race, where all the logistics are worked out and I don't have to worry about getting hit by a car, is a fun chance to test and challenge my limits.

honeybbq

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I've never understood the desire to pay money to run/swim/bike.  Can't one do these activities without paying a $10+/mile to some organization that exists to... basically collect money from a bunch of other people to run.  I mean basically the timers and banners and teeshirts and cool stat website and photographers and emcee and all the hoopla around these 'races' are just overhead for a hobby one can do alone, or for free with friends.  If one is a competitive racer in their sport, I understand. But by definition only 10% of racers are really competing for top spots... why do average people who do it for 'fun' pay such exaggerated fees?

Note: I run to be alone. I don't find running to be a social activity, and don't enjoy running in large groups.


I do triathlons and having a closed or police-aided bike course makes it funner and safer for me to rip around on my bike. The swim is also safer with kayakers, etc.

For long distances, having manned aid stations helps. I don't have to plan my routes around water availability or carry too many snacks. It's just a perk.

For me, I like having a goal and a marker on the calendar as something to progress towards.  I do most of my training alone and I get a huge kick out of the crowds and energy on race day. My family there supporting me, it's really worth a lot....

honeybbq

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Well, get all your fists ready for punching...

I signed up for my first full marathon. It's going to be expensive. It's a destination marathon. And it's over my 40th birthday weekend. So I planned it all out as a celebration and trip doing what I wanted with a friend. It's not til next year but here's what I've already 'planned'

Marathon entry: $350. I signed up for a charity slot, so the fee was 2x as much but I get to write off $175 in donation. This was to avoid the lottery because I wanted to do this race and not leave it to chance.

Flights: I bought with miles, so free-ish. (otherwise ~$250)

Hotel: I'm staying 4 nights with a friend. So it'll be fairly expensive. Probably $500 each.

Car rental: ~$150

Pasta dinner before hand with the group: $25 x 2

Massage/spa the day before: $250

I did buy new sneakers the other day, but I would have needed them anyways as my old ones have too many miles on them. ~$85.

So, this is not going to be cheap, but it is what I wanted to do and I can afford it. And it's a really a trip of a lifetime for me and a bucket list item to run a marathon in a beautiful place with a good friend.

MgoSam

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So, this is not going to be cheap, but it is what I wanted to do and I can afford it. And it's a really a trip of a lifetime for me and a bucket list item to run a marathon in a beautiful place with a good friend.

I hope you have a great time, where are you going?

This isn't facepunch worthy, it sounds like you are using the marathon as a vacation, and I see nothing wrong with this.

honeybbq

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So, this is not going to be cheap, but it is what I wanted to do and I can afford it. And it's a really a trip of a lifetime for me and a bucket list item to run a marathon in a beautiful place with a good friend.

I hope you have a great time, where are you going?

This isn't facepunch worthy, it sounds like you are using the marathon as a vacation, and I see nothing wrong with this.

Well, I paid extra for the race to avoid having to win the lottery. That is face punch worthy, but.. I did it anyways.

I'm going to Big Sur in April! I'm very excited and terrified. I have 4 13.1's under my belt and several triathlons. Wanted to try something different (and bucket list!). Thanks for the MMM support. :)

MgoSam

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So, this is not going to be cheap, but it is what I wanted to do and I can afford it. And it's a really a trip of a lifetime for me and a bucket list item to run a marathon in a beautiful place with a good friend.

I hope you have a great time, where are you going?

This isn't facepunch worthy, it sounds like you are using the marathon as a vacation, and I see nothing wrong with this.

Well, I paid extra for the race to avoid having to win the lottery. That is face punch worthy, but.. I did it anyways.

I'm going to Big Sur in April! I'm very excited and terrified. I have 4 13.1's under my belt and several triathlons. Wanted to try something different (and bucket list!). Thanks for the MMM support. :)

I suppose..., but if you're planning a vacation around it, it's better to be assured of your place.

If this your first? I love half marathons, though haven't really run in a while, but marathons are a whole nother beast. Best of luck! You might catch the marathon bug, and plan your next 15-20 vacations around racing.

If that's the case, the Twin Cities Marathon is amazing, but for a lower expense there's a 6/12/24 race in June/May here in Saint Paul that seems like a lot of fun. Can share more about it if you think you might be interested, no worries if you're not :-).

honeybbq

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So, this is not going to be cheap, but it is what I wanted to do and I can afford it. And it's a really a trip of a lifetime for me and a bucket list item to run a marathon in a beautiful place with a good friend.

I hope you have a great time, where are you going?

This isn't facepunch worthy, it sounds like you are using the marathon as a vacation, and I see nothing wrong with this.

Well, I paid extra for the race to avoid having to win the lottery. That is face punch worthy, but.. I did it anyways.

I'm going to Big Sur in April! I'm very excited and terrified. I have 4 13.1's under my belt and several triathlons. Wanted to try something different (and bucket list!). Thanks for the MMM support. :)

I suppose..., but if you're planning a vacation around it, it's better to be assured of your place.

If this your first? I love half marathons, though haven't really run in a while, but marathons are a whole nother beast. Best of luck! You might catch the marathon bug, and plan your next 15-20 vacations around racing.

If that's the case, the Twin Cities Marathon is amazing, but for a lower expense there's a 6/12/24 race in June/May here in Saint Paul that seems like a lot of fun. Can share more about it if you think you might be interested, no worries if you're not :-).

It's my first full. I've been doing shorter races for quite awhile, bumped it up to halfs a few years ago, then caught the triathlon bug. Did a 70.3 earlier this year as a vacation/race for the family. Can't quite pull the trigger on full ironman, so decided for the full marathon instead. I will let you know if I catch the bug - lots of nice flat marathons in the midwest. A friend of mine is doing Grandma's marathon as her first full next year, heard good things about that one.  I will let you know if I survive April and then plan my next goal. :)

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Yep, running tourism is definitely a thing.  I get a lot of links to those WDW which easily cost nearly a grand when including airfare, race tickets, the event party afterwards, park tickets etc....  It can add up fast. 

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Personally, I run casually and mostly avoid the racing circuit but I do see the appeal.  I have signed up for a few 5K races nearby that have a $30 dollar entrance fee, but they are for our local education fund, so I see that as a charitable donation and I am happy to pay.  I did one of those "Color Vibe" races this year with my son.  It was sort of fun, and very high energy, but I would not do it again. 

Other running expenses are shoes - one pair every year or year and a half.  I finally dialed in a pair of shoes I like and I can get them on sale for about $70.  I also splurged for some decent running clothes. 

Making Cookies

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Marathon vacations. Run the vacation the first day and use the rest of the week to recover you so don't whimper getting up out of the chair... ;)

Metric Mouse

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Marathon vacations. Run the vacation the first day and use the rest of the week to recover you so don't whimper getting up out of the chair... ;)

Marathon Vacation sounds like a 26 month getaway.  No whimpering aloud. :D

MgoSam

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Marathon vacations. Run the vacation the first day and use the rest of the week to recover you so don't whimper getting up out of the chair... ;)

Marathon Vacation sounds like a 26 month getaway.  No whimpering aloud. :D

If I weren't a runner, I would think a marathon vacation would be a whirlwind tour throughout a city or region, to the point where one would need a few more days to rest from it.

Making Cookies

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Sort of like the first time I went to Venice. Looked at so much, so fast that it all became a blur in my memory... Got better the next time but need several more European vacations to get good at it... ;)