This is the second debate in Carrie and Dash’s Run With An Idea series: How much is too much when you’re paying to enter a race?
I have thought about this and I’m torn and trying not to sit on the fence. My instinct when I first read about the British 10k was why on earth would anyone pay £50 for a 10k in London of all places. Anyone can run in London at any time and there are always plenty of excellent local races that are a fraction of the price. I’ve just paid for my London Marathon place and that was £35 so fifty just seems like a piss take. And for the last two years I’ve read awful things about British 10k and it’s organisation so you’re obviously not getting what you pay for. So at first glance, no it doesn’t look like I would pay £50 for a 10k. But I do have a confession to make:
A few weeks ago I had my credit card in hand while furiously texting my husband asking his advice as to what I should do. I had completed the online forms for the Nike Women’s San Francisco Marathon and was poised to potentially pay in excess of $250 for the privilege (if I’d been successful in the ballot). In the end I closed it all down and decided that it was London that I truly wanted to do in my heart of hearts but this just shows that despite my cynicism and my urge to people to support local races, I too am prepared to fork out a *hell of a* lot of money for a race. So why was I prepared to do it?
I guess it was about experiences. I was looking for a great running experience abroad and I was prepared to pay for it. And maybe the people who are stumping up the money for the British 10k are looking for the same thing. I don’t agree that they should be charging so much when it is allegedly run so badly and more expensive than the London Marathon but it’s possible that it’s not just the 10k the people are paying for. The chance to run on major London streets if it’s unlikely they’ll ever run the marathon? The London atmosphere with all the crowds? The chance to run in London with friends? An alternative hen party? (ok pushing it with the last one).
So when I review my morals and my own running code of conduct I think it is possible that I would pay £50 but I’d have to get something for my money. High on that list would be slick, professional organisation and potentially a decent goody bag and medal (although those last two things are never high on my list of priorities). I think I would try and speak to people about the races too to find out if they’re experience was worth what they paid in entry fees, do a bit of online research and also see where it fitted in with my own goals. I would also look to see if there were similar races in similar locations run by local clubs rather than large corporations if it is just about the experience. I might also look to see if the entry fee includes a donation to charity which would definitely help me justify the fee a bit more.
I guess what I’m saying is if you want to pay that much for a race then do it, it’s your money and your running goals, but just be careful you don’t end up paying money for rubbish running rope.
Current entry fees on my bucket list of races:
Berlin Marathon £100.
New York Marathon for non US residents $347 (£225).
Disneyland Half Marathon £190.
Chicago Marathon £150.
Athens Marathon £70 (the 5k entry is £60 and the 10k is £65).
Hollywood Half Marathon $85 early bird fee (£55).
Great Wall Marathon in China $1420-$1795 depending on the package you want.
(video by Salomon Trail Running)
Head over to the Run With An Idea page to see debates from other running bloggers on this topic!