Author Topic: Running races and cost  (Read 7663 times)

Scandium

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Running races and cost
« on: April 04, 2014, 03:16:07 PM »
I've been wanting to do some races, just for the fun of it. But looking at even low-key races with clubs in the area most of them are $20-30. Yes many of them are for charities, but still that's more than I wanted to spend. Is this the normal cost for 5-10k races or am I looking in the wrong places? Don't even get me started on the $100+ rock 'n roll half marathon and mud run stuff..

The local running club does have some ~2mi, $3 races on sundays but they're always at 2pm which never works out since I always seem to be busy or out then. That's really the only other option I've found.
(This is in the NE if that matters)

And as my wife has pointed out: I can always run a 5k on my own, for free any time.. If feel it's just not quite the same though.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 03:41:44 PM by Scandium »

Khao

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2014, 03:23:25 PM »
I ran the Spartan Race last year and it was so much fun and so challenging that I plan to do it every year and eventually get better at it. General rule of thumb for races is : the earlier you register, the cheaper it is. Most races give you a discount if you register several months in advance and will gradually increase the price (like 5$/month until the day of the race) to have people register in advance instead of all at the last minute. In my case, I think the Spartan Race is around 50~60$ when the tickets are out and closer to 100$ weeks before the day of the race. Also, look for promo codes! I was able to save a bunch on last year's race by finding a promo code online.

greenmimama

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2014, 03:33:09 PM »
My DH has found a way around the cost. He likes to do triathlons and they are normally $60-$80 depending on the race.

He volunteers with My Team Triumph, so he is on a team with 3 other people and they take turns pulling or pushing a handicapped child, so my DH loves to bike, so he usually is the one riding with the chariot attached to his bike, he likes it because it is free, he gets to help a child really enjoy that day, and he doesn't run races to win, he uses them as a tool to keep in shape and try and beat his last time.

Other than that, signing up early like the PP said is all I got.

Russ

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2014, 03:34:57 PM »
yeah $20 is pretty much the minimum for anything with road closures or park permits IME.

I'd suggest that if you can't do an event on someone else's schedule, put on your own!

iamlindoro

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2014, 03:35:28 PM »
My DH has found a way around the cost. He likes to do triathlons and they are normally $60-$80 depending on the race.

You must have some very, very cheap local race organizers (and perhaps your husband is into sprint distance)!  Ironman branded races are about 10x that cost, and you'd be hard pressed to spend < $250 for a half IM.

Personally, my race costs are the same as my vacation costs.  I travel to race, and race to travel, and consider it money well spent.

rescuedog

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2014, 04:11:06 PM »
I've been wanting to do some races, just for the fun of it. But looking at even low-key races with clubs in the area most of them are $20-30. Yes many of them are for charities, but still that's more than I wanted to spend. Is this the normal cost for 5-10k races or am I looking in the wrong places? Don't even get me started on the $100+ rock 'n roll half marathon and mud run stuff..

The local running club does have some ~2mi, $3 races on sundays but they're always at 2pm which never works out since I always seem to be busy or out then. That's really the only other option I've found.
(This is in the NE if that matters)

And as my wife has pointed out: I can always run a 5k on my own, for free any time.. If feel it's just not quite the same though.

I am organizing a 5k trail run as we speak!  It for early May and is a fundraiser for my animal rescue where I volunteer.  We charge $10 for early registration and $15 for day of.  We don't provide T-shirts or swag. 

It's a trail run, but only a fun run (not timed for places), but we do a raffle of nice donated prizes at the end.  I think we're on the cheap end, but just saying that they exist!

WonderingAgain

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2014, 04:21:58 PM »
I might be missing something here but can't you just run the 'course' on your own for free on any other day?

Then if your conscience needs calming, mail the 'registration fee' directly to the charity.

Would this work?


Undecided

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2014, 04:23:00 PM »
I might be missing something here but can't you just run the 'course' on your own for free on any other day?

Then if your conscience needs calming, mail the 'registration fee' directly to the charity.

Would this work?

It wouldn't be racing, though, would it?

Russ

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2014, 04:28:25 PM »
I might be missing something here but can't you just run the 'course' on your own for free on any other day?

Then if your conscience needs calming, mail the 'registration fee' directly to the charity.

Would this work?
And as my wife has pointed out: I can always run a 5k on my own, for free any time.. If feel it's just not quite the same though.
There are plenty of reasons people like organized events. The extra push (however irrational), the convenience of having food & water arranged for you (for longer events), or possibly the camaraderie of running with 500 other people on closed streets. Sounds like OP has thought about this already, decided the experience is worth $0-10 to them, and is asking for ways to make that happen.

AlanStache

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2014, 04:44:27 PM »
Yep races got expensive some time in the last 10 years, never see a 5k under 30$ theses days.  Sucks.  Often you do want that official race time for a proper pr, and a fixed date on the calendar is a motivator.

renaite

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2014, 04:46:12 PM »
You can usually run the course with the racers, without a registered number, and just be sure not to go through the chute at the end - and you, know, be courteous: don't partake in the food and beverages afterwards if you didn't register. ;-)  My mom does several races a week in the summer and does that all the time. You can time yourself if you already have a running watch.

Khao

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2014, 04:48:10 PM »
Just thought of two more things : Some races offer discounts for groups so if you have friends who would like to form a group or you can get coworkers to join with you, you could save there. Also, some races give you a free pass if you register as a volunteer so you get to do the race at a later date or at a different location.

cdttmm

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2014, 04:55:03 PM »
Consider joining a local running club. They often have opportunities to volunteer at several races in exchange for free or discounted entry into other races.

Look for local, mid-week races that are held in the evenings during the spring/summer/fall. You'll usually pay less than you would for a weekend event.

Look for brand new races. The first year or two the entry fees are usually lower than other more well-established races in the area.

Trail races are generally less expensive than road races.

Look for "fat ass" races or runs. These are "organized" events, but there is no official timing offered or formal support. They are free or by donation, usually.

And as other posters have mentioned, be glad you're running 5k and 10k distance. Those are cheap compared to long distance/endurance racing of any type. I don't have a vacation fund...I have an ultramarathon racing fund. And it is not a mustachian number...but it's less than what I used to spend to race mountain bikes and triathlon!!!

zinnie

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2014, 05:48:19 PM »
$20-30 doesn't sound too bad to me based on what I have seen. If you don't do them very often I can't imagine it would be a huge drain on your budget, though.

I am with you on races being way, way too expensive though. I have had the best luck with smaller races and outside of big cities. It also tends to be more fun [for me] to not do the races with tens of thousands of people.

I've never done one but some of the running clubs and meetups have big groups running together. Every so often on the way home I come across a group that has probably 50 people running loosely together. I can imagine something like that would have a lot of the same benefits as a race.

Another thing I just thought of: the running stores around here sometimes arrange free races. A few times I have gotten emails from people at work about the Roadrunner sports having 2 mile runs and 5ks after work. They have beer and an expo thing afterwards. I am sure the companies just sponsor it to get people to their booths.

plantingourpennies

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2014, 08:12:47 PM »
Those sound like pretty standard costs.  Some running clubs let you run for free (or discount) if you volunteer for the race - try contacting the sponsoring running club.  So helping with packet pickup, or setup, or cleanup... those are all activities that would still give you time to run the race while volunteering on the same day. 

Depending how much your company is into fitness, would they want to sponsor a "team"?  That's pretty common for the Corporate Runs, but if there are other folks in your office you'd want to team up with, get some company shirts... Might be worth a shot?

Primm

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2014, 01:37:54 AM »
parkrun.

It's free.

Edited to add: Just looked at the link. Holy crap, there aren't many parkruns in the US yet, are there? Maybe you could start one? I live in south east Queensland, Australia, and there are literally 12-15 events within a 30 minute drive from my house.

MgoSam

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2014, 03:15:10 AM »
In general I doubt you will find many races that are less than $20. With a race cost you have to bear in mind that you are paying for closure, event insurance, equipment, medals, plus I'm guessing nearly every race has to have some paid personal to observe such as officers and medical responders. This is largely why triathlons are much more costly, due to the higher expense.

That said, where are you? There sometimes are smaller events that can be cheaper. In my area there is a race that is timed 6 hours/12 hours/ 24 hours where runners have the option of paying X amount for entry or fundraising Y amount. I know some that have done this and love it because they fund-raise based on miles so it gives them an added motivation.

The cheapest race will be something put on by a local school or organization. There is a triathlon store/training place that puts on a lot of races and they tend to be among the cheapest in Minnesota and very well-organized, I believe a half marathon is around $30 if you register well in advance. I personally would prefer for races to be cheaper and no swag given (shirt and medal) but I many people value these trophies so races will have them. If I ever run a marathon I know that I would appreciate getting a medal for finishing.

Metta

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2014, 07:28:08 AM »
A lot of running or fitness clubs will put on a race series that allows you to run as many races as you want for some large price (but quite reasonable when factored per race). My own running club (the MRTC) puts on two series a year. The summer/fall series is $65 for ten races which included two half-marathons (one t-shirt and award at the end). The winter off-road series is $45 for 4 trail races. We did the Road Series and it was a lot of fun. Not a small part of the fun was that you got to know the other runners since you saw them every other week.

Another series we joined for one race was the Highlands Ranch Race Series in Colorado, which was really well done and goes to show that sometimes small communities can be where it's at for good races.

One more thing: Keep your eyes peeled for inaugural races. They often have great deals.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 07:32:18 AM by carolyn »

greenmimama

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2014, 08:07:07 AM »
My DH has found a way around the cost. He likes to do triathlons and they are normally $60-$80 depending on the race.

You must have some very, very cheap local race organizers (and perhaps your husband is into sprint distance)!  Ironman branded races are about 10x that cost, and you'd be hard pressed to spend < $250 for a half IM.

Personally, my race costs are the same as my vacation costs.  I travel to race, and race to travel, and consider it money well spent.

Yep, sprint distances, he has done a half iron, but I don't remember that cost.

mm1970

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2014, 09:16:57 AM »
I've been wanting to do some races, just for the fun of it. But looking at even low-key races with clubs in the area most of them are $20-30. Yes many of them are for charities, but still that's more than I wanted to spend. Is this the normal cost for 5-10k races or am I looking in the wrong places? Don't even get me started on the $100+ rock 'n roll half marathon and mud run stuff..

The local running club does have some ~2mi, $3 races on sundays but they're always at 2pm which never works out since I always seem to be busy or out then. That's really the only other option I've found.
(This is in the NE if that matters)

And as my wife has pointed out: I can always run a 5k on my own, for free any time.. If feel it's just not quite the same though.

Seems to be about right for the cost.
I was running a bunch of races in 2009/2010 time frame (missing running right now.  Bad knees/ankles.)
The cheapest I found was a Wednesday summer series.  It worked out to being $16/ race - you could register for the full summer or just do a "5-night series" (which I did).  Each individual race was $25-30.
The longer races were more expensive. Anything with chips (half marathons, marathons, triathlons) were $100 or close to it.  We had some longer 10 milers with no chips that were more like $75.

I'm a little torn.  I'd like to do another triathlon, but the training program is $275 and the triathlon is $120.  The whole reason to do it (for me) is the fun of the weekly group workouts.  So I'll probably ditch it again this year (missed the last 2 years because I'd just had a baby and then last year the wetsuit still didn't fit.  Still doesn't.)

If you want to run some races, I'd suggest looking around, asking friends, etc.  Pick one or two.  Eventually you'll find the cheaper ones. 

Zombie Burger

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2014, 10:08:37 AM »
Check for charity sponsors for any races you are interested in; there may be free registration available if you do some volunteering. The last marathon I ran was "free" after getting $1000 in pledges for the American Cancer Society.

I'm not sure I would do it again, because it was more work than just paying the $90 registration. The cost for training (between shoes and extra food) easily exceeded that anyway.

You may find that when you are on a training schedule, it's easier to brush off social engagements if you have a particular event to train for, rather than telling people that you need to run that day because you "really wanted to".

starbuck

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2014, 11:07:29 AM »
Yea, those prices are normal for 5ks around here, and that's the main reason I don't run 5ks anymore. I opt for longer distances (10ks and half marathons) and bigger more well organized races. I'm very particular about which races I'm willing to pay for and run now - it has to have a scenic/unique route, has to have food (beer is a plus, but not required), and has to be a sizable event (+1000 runners.) I ran Boston's Run to Remember 1/2 marathon last year to support fallen law enforcement, and it was such a great experience to run through (a quiet!) downtown Boston with 10,000 other runners. THOSE are the kinds of races I'm willing to pay for. So I encourage you to be picky and choose well-organized races, or those that sponsor charities that you really support.

The only 5k I still run is the one sponsored by the organization I volunteer for. It's one of our biggest fundraisers which is the whole point of most road races. It's not scenic, but it does have food and lots of dogs!

daymare

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2014, 12:25:55 PM »
So, I ran the Philly half last year & just signed up to run it again this year -- being one of the first 1K to sign up, the cost ended up being $77 this year ($70 registration, plus fees - price goes up to $120 by fall, I believe).  And you know what?  That's clearly an expense that's a luxury and not necessary, and I would never suggest it's prudent for someone with debt to be signing up for these expensive races left & right.

That said (and I don't think anyone who hasn't done such a race will really get it, I totally didn't) - doing such a large race with so many people is *SUCH* an amazing experience.  Yeah, I can run 13 miles on my own today (and most of my runs are solo & free obviously), but it's completely not the same.  You're in this huge mass of people, running & getting to know a city in a different way, with tons of people cheering you on everywhere on the sidelines.  WHAT an adrenaline rush and community feeling.  So when I think about everything that's entailed in this race -- closing part of the city down for an entire morning, volunteers who take your clothes/items at the start, water and gatorade stations, the nifty shirt you receive, all the organization/security - I have no qualms spending this money.

Though I agree that for shorter races (5Ks), or if you want to run races a lot, it could be mustachian to pay for official races only a couple of times a year, and to try to organize something informal with your friends/community instead for the rest.  (Also, 5Ks are so much easier to set up -- need not much space, many more friends & family would be interested & able to do that).  I used to live in DC and I know that Arlington, VA used to have free runs on Friday afternoon/evenings during the summer, I wouldn't be surprised if lots of other cities had something like that.

WonderingAgain

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2014, 12:32:01 PM »
Wow. I obviously had no idea what was involved with running. Interesting.

Scandium

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Re: Running races and cost
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2014, 08:35:27 AM »
Thanks for all the input folks.

I do agree that it feels extra silly to pay $30 for a local 5k, I could at least do a 10k for the same price. It's half the cost per km!:). And I'd be more willing to pay for a more "special" run. Through downtown DC or something (although those cost $100+ it seems like).

I haven't done any race since middle school so just wanted to try out something low key. I've been looking at the results of local races to see how much I'd embarrass myself. I timed a 10k on my own and came to about an hour, so nothing great but don't think it would be that bad. Maybe jump into a 8-10k and hopefully a 13.1mi later.

I think I'll try to carve out some time at the idiotic/inconvenient sunday 2pm time slot and do the local running club race for $3. That has been my garage woodworking time recently, but maybe I could take a break in the middle of it:)