Today’s topic addresses the very serious question of money. As in, how much is too much for race registration?
I confess. I’m a sucker for races. Big ones, small ones, local ones and destination ones. Ones with t-shirts, ones with swag, ones with towels, ones with bags. I could go on.
There are a lot of things that attract me to different races. I admit that I am a runner who likes a bit of hoopla and glamour in my races. While I am always thankful for an accurately measured course, I am usually first wooed by the destination or the bling.
Actual price is maybe my fourth or fifth consideration. It’s important, but once I’ve got my mind set on a race, I’m pretty resolute.
For a 5K, I am comfortable paying up to about $35, which I expect will include a shirt and a medal (or in lieu of a medal, be in support of a really great cause with proceeds going to that).
I have drawn the line with runDisney 5Ks – I have a hard time saying yes to over $80 for an untimed event. Not saying I wouldn’t do it if it was part of a race challenge weekend or a theme that was incredibly meaningful to me, but there would have to be some epic swag to make the financial hit easier to swallow.
Since 10Ks are rare in the area, I’m a little less discerning. I am generally so grateful to have a chance at the distance , so I can see shelling out up to $50. Again, I look for a shirt and finisher’s medal, and I also make sure that there is some decent course support along the way. Not having to carry my own liquid is a nice perk, and if there are three or four aid stations en route, I am on board with that.
With half marathons, I get a little more generous. I think I start to balk at things that are over $100, unless the experience is something unique or exceptional (Run Rock ‘n’ Roll, for example). However, for that price, my expectations go up. If I’m paying more than $100, I want an expo with lots of vendors, a really nice shirt and medal, fabulous support along the course (in the form of aid and entertainment) and awesome post-race amenities (adult beverages, complimentary massages, decent food).
I paid, what I consider, an obscene amount of money for the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2013. With fees, it came to about $200, which didn’t include travel, meals or hotel. I promise, I got my money’s worth, with the huge expo and characters and photo opportunities.
Running through the parks was something amazing and, for me, worth the price. That being said, I would be ok paying more for something like the New York or Chicago Marathon, simply for the quality and magnitude of the experience. For that kind of distance, a higher price tag means more stuff going on, and since I am a mid-t0-back-of packer, that’s what I do look for.
It’s always interesting to see the difference in what people prioritize in their race experiences and how they will assign their race budgets.
What’s the limit on what you will spend for a race?