Are we being ripped off ?

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09/10/2009 at 11:40

I know I don't have to run them (I don't), but  some races are a rip off. A total unscientific trawl of half marathon prices puts them in the £15-£20 bracket. 10ks come out about £8-£12  Are we being charged on the basis of how far we run and thus how many marshals are used (and maybe the extra water/drink) ? Why would a half marathon - in some cases twice round a 10k loop - cost twice as much ? Most of the costs are the same. 

Take a club race charging £15 with 1000 runners. That's £15k income. How much of that can be costs ? Some admittedly will go to charity, but I'm not running to give to charity - I already pay directly out of my wages. What do the club do with all that cash - certainly not make next year's race cheaper !

My local race charges £4, gives out no goodies, except some food and drink at the end. Are we really running for goody bags or for the sport itself ? We don't need any more Tshirts/mugs/medals/hats/socks FFS or have we become a sport for the non-serious IPOD generation ? 

Can't we get back to proper races that charge a sensible fee without having to give to charity - enter a charity race if you want to give - and pay for a stuff we don't want ?


09/10/2009 at 11:55

Road closures, police, insurance, advertising, admin fees, printing race numbers, signs, medals, hiring of timing equipment, hiring venue, refreshments......

I'm sure I've forgotton some costs 

09/10/2009 at 12:03

Prices vary hugely, but you can cut down on costs if you choose your races wisely.

Small races run by clubs, or other groups tend to be pretty reasonably priced. It's the big "events" like VLM and GNR that are run by companies which cost an arm and a leg.

If we all exercise our consumer power & boycott races we think are over-priced, the prices will come down.

Off-road races are often cheaper as there are less road-closures. The summer is often a great time for cheap races as there are loads of turn up on the night series races about which are usually very reasonable.

For a real bargain, get along to a running club & take part in a cross-country league.

09/10/2009 at 12:03
A lot of the bigger commercial races are complete rip offs, but I am always pleasantly surprised by how reasonable local club-run events are.
09/10/2009 at 12:07

The more off road they are the cheaper they are. 

Agreed, the big events that charge £30+ are a total rip off.

09/10/2009 at 12:07

"Are we really running for goody bags or for the sport itself ? We don't need any more Tshirts/mugs/medals/hats/socks FFS or have we become a sport for the non-serious IPOD generation ? "

Well, I don't know about the ipod generation, as I think they should be banned from races, but to be honest, yes, I personally do need (or at least greatly appreciate) receiving a medal or other memento. 

We all run for different reasons, and there seems to be race-types to satisfy us all, from the appallingly over-expensive, over-hyped Great North Run, down to the very cheap, or even free, local race for hard-core enthusiasts. I'm somewhere in the middle. I resent paying more than £15 for a race, but I still generally do it if I think that any profits are going to a worthy cause, even if that cause is the running club. I won't do the GNR which, from what I'm told, is run as a profit-making venture by Brendan Foster's privately-owned company.

09/10/2009 at 12:10

What Shimmy said.

Almost none of the races I enter have any kind of charity connection.  The only one that does still charges a reasonable entry fee and encourages people to raise some money (but doesn;t bug you about it if you don't).

There are plenty of club-run races which don't cost much to enter.

09/10/2009 at 12:12

exiled claret - "Small races run by clubs, or other groups tend to be pretty reasonably priced. It's the big "events" like VLM and GNR that are run by companies which cost an arm and a leg."

 Woah -- VLM is a charity, with all profits going to worthy sport-related causes. Second, the VLM is cheap, considering it has to close down one of the world's largest cities for a whole day. Last time I entered it was £28. Have you entered a US marathon? You need to quadruple that price. Even the GNR, a half marathon in the middle of nowhere, is massively expensive compared to the London marathon. It's not only  a great event but excellent value for money.

09/10/2009 at 12:13
I think anyone who thinks races are expensive should probably have a go at organising an event, I really don't think people appreciate just how much work and expense goes into it.
09/10/2009 at 12:14

If you want "proper" races find a club that takes part in a local league, you could probably do free cross country all winter and road leagues in the summer.

As for the cost, quite apart from having to pay for all the thing mentioned above, clubs need Goodwill from the local councils, police, community groups etc and being able to give a hefty wedge to a local charity will go a long way to maintaining a positive attitude from those with the power to say yes or no to putting on a race that involves no small inconvenience to many people who aren't runners.

09/10/2009 at 12:19
danowat wrote (see)
 I really don't think people appreciate just how much work goes into it.

well said Danowat -recent personal experience
09/10/2009 at 12:20

Costs do seem to have risen - I've entered the Keyworth Turkey Trot and that costs a lot more than it did when I first ran in 6-7 years ago.   Not picking on that event it's just the only one I've entered for a few years and it's such a well organised race that the entry is still reasonable - but it's getting towards the top end of what is reasonable.    

 I organise a cycle race and it's a lot of work to take on voluntarily so I can sympathise with organisers wanting to make a profit for their club/charity.     Then again my race I had 89 entries (maximum field allowed in a bike race of 80 but as there were some no shows I had 9 reserves get a ride) at £15 each and still paid for a St Js ambulance and 4 first aiders, an HQ, 3 motorcycle marshalls, 2 commissaires in cars, 2 lead cars, 13 marshalls on the course and gave out £375 in prize money and paid £3.30 levy to British Cycling for every rider - so when running races charge the same but get ten times as many entries yeah maybe we are paying too much.

09/10/2009 at 12:24

I'm running the Robin Hood 10k trail race on Sunday which has cost me around £17. This is off road so no road closures to think about and its a 5k loop. I dare say the forestry commission welcome the event organisers with open arms. Compare that to the Mansfield Half which needed road closures and that was £14.

The issue I have is the comparable costs, they just dont stack up in some cases. I feel for the people who want to be running at least 2 races per month, adds up to quite a bit across the year. But if you enjoy something then its no real hardship to pay less than £20 for a couple of hours entertainment / participation in it. The big races (GNR/VLM etc) have no appeal to me at the moment, cost too much and at this stage I'm more interested in running a good time.

09/10/2009 at 12:32

I do wonder why the London Marathon don't charge more for entry.

It is, as pointed out, way cheaper than a lot of big city marathons (even Brighton, the new kid, is a lot more).

09/10/2009 at 12:36
The VLM charge us £28 but the charities pay a huge amount for thier golden bond places.  Maybe that is where they make up some costs.  They also get a lot of money from sponsors.
09/10/2009 at 12:40

Okay, yes I did know that VLM is a charity, but the way they operate is like a business. I hate the whole charity place thing. I did enjoy running FLM a few years back - it was a great experience, and although I felt it was pretty pricey I do realise that there are huge costs involved in staging it. Perhaps it wasn't the best example to use, the basic point I was making is that we can choose which races we enter. Personally I think it'll be quite a while before I enter VLM again - it's far more likely that i'll enter much smaller marathons - cheaper & more likely to achieve a decent time.

GNR is massively over-priced, and not even a real race for the vast majority of entrants.

I have some idea of the issues involved in organising events, and am very grateful to those who do so. I have no problem with a club making a bit of cash, or a school PFA, but some events are just ridiculous.

I'd rather have a bit off the entry fee than a goody bag. A little medal is nice to get, but the reality is I've got a load stuffed in a draw at home.

09/10/2009 at 12:44
VLM charges a market rate for charity places -- they are way over-subscribed, and charities can't get enough of them as they know they are likely to make £1500-ish profit for the charity on the average entry. The other point is that VLM is itself a not-for-profit charity. But it is weird if they are still chargng £28, considering the nightmare logistics and admin costs. .
09/10/2009 at 12:52

I can run in at least 20 races a year 10 road/10 x/c and all are free. You have to be affiliated to aclub.

I see nothing wrong in the club making a profit. All the money filters through to club equipment and day to day running. Some of these races are vital to a clubs existence.

09/10/2009 at 12:54
09/10/2009 at 12:56

And don't forget you have to have St. John in attendance who may be a charity but charge £115.  Most races will get some sponsorship to help pay for putting races on which will keep cost down, other will not be able to get that.

If you do like what a races cost easy don't run it, but don't forget the bloody hard work that does go into putting a race on whatever the cost.

Wish people that moan about races would get themselves on  a race committee and assist.

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