Recently as I’ve started to plan my 2016 race calendar, I’ve been taking more notice of the cost of race entry fees. I’ve seen several 10k events costing over £50, and a marathon costing more than my entire summer 2016 running budget. As an organiser of a number of tennis tournaments, I appreciate the amount of time and effort that must be involved in the organisation of a large race. There are the advertising costs, insurance costs, race day infrastructure related costs, race licence costs, course measurement costs etc.
Although I’m fully aware that there are still loads of reasonably priced races out there, it just feels as if the cost of entering some of the larger races has increased quite rapidly over the last 4-5 years.
When did races get so expensive?
The Runner’s World race finder tool enabled me to locate the historical entry fees (I do love a bit of research!) of a couple of contrasting races in the Midlands. I’ve decided not to name and shame them. I’ve included the costs (where available) of entering both races in advance as both an affiliated and as an unaffiliated runner.
I would have produced a couple of pretty graphs, but frankly after three years of producing
pretty pointless graphs for my PhD, I’ve had enough of Excel.
“Race A” is a relatively small (field of less than 1000 runners) 10k race that takes place on country lanes. The route isn’t closed to traffic.I understand that the cost of virtually everything has increased since 2003, but is an increase of £10.00 really justifiable? The format of the race hasn’t changed since 2003. In 2016 unaffiliated entries will be £20.
“Race B” is a large (several thousand runners) half marathon that takes place on main roads in and around the centre of a major city. These roads have to be completely closed to traffic for several hours. I accept that the cost of holding “Race B” (policing, road closures, insurance etc.) has probably increased a lot since 2008.The increase in the cost of entry fees between 2010 and 2011 was particularly impressive! It’s amazing what happened to the entry fees when the half marathon was added to the Great Run series and rebranded. Although the event was improved, I’m not so sure that these improvements justified the large increase in entry fees. What happened to discounted entry fees for affiliated runners?
Unfortunately I found numerous examples of races like Races A and B. Do the organisers of large races (and in some cases relatively small races) think that runners are made of money?
Am I the only runner who thinks that races are getting too expensive? Are runners being priced out of larger events?
As I wanted to make sure that reaching middle-age hasn’t suddenly turned me into Miss Stingy, I decided to get the views and opinions of other runners. I used the new poll feature on twitter (huge thanks to the @UKRunChat guys for sharing my tweet). The results were pretty conclusive. 86 per cent of the people who voted in my poll (thank-you) were of the opinion that runners are being priced out of larger events. The results of my Fetcheveryone poll were similar with approximately 11 per cent of the Fetchies who voted voting no.
Feedback from other runners
My blog post on Fetcheveryone generated quite a lot of feedback…
“I’m sure some price increases are just profiteering, but I also wonder if things like insurance and getting council permissions, etc, account for at least some of the increases?”
“Something going up in price faster than house prices. £18 for a local 10k is steep.”
“I am sticking to local events these days and am restricting the number I do next year. The cost of the bigger events is just too much.”
“Having been closely involved in running a local 10k (no chip timing, ltd goodie bag, just a nice old fashioned race) I would say, no costs have not gone up much, except that you have to do a lot more advertising, both paid and unpaid to get a decent number of people out, such is the number of events available. I concede that some of the city based 10k’s require a lot of staffing/policing/road closures etc and so are more expensive, but I think £1/km is a pretty good guide in general, especially when you look at ParkRun and other free events.”
“I fancy the price of trainers has gone up in the same sort of way.”
Thanks Fetchies 🙂
Perhaps I should debate the rising cost of trainers in another blog!
Interestingly, not all of the larger events and races have increased their entry fees virtually every year. Back in 2003 the Silverstone Half cost £15.00 to enter as an affiliated runner. This year the entry fee was £18.00, an increase of £3.00.
What does the future hold?
I’m afraid that if entry fees continue to rise, an increased number of runners will be unable to afford to enter some of the larger events. I’m also concerned that the increasing costs (not to mention the red tape) associated with event organisation will result in the loss of the slightly more affordable, smaller local club events.
As this discussion is totally one-sided at the moment, I would really, really love the organiser of a larger event to share their thoughts and opinions 🙂
Do you think that races are getting too expensive?