Why so expensive?

Rich race organisers

1 to 20 of 35 messages
03/12/2009 at 11:04

I've just completed my first full triathlon season coming from a background in all three separate disciplines. As I look for events next year, the thing that shocks is the very high price attached to most races. Maybe I just don't understand the costs breakdown and TW could do a future article to explain, but by reference to other sports there is little comparrison - join a running club and league events are free. Unless organised by big corporates, even marathons are typically only £10 or so to enter. At a swimming club, again most events are free or there will be a nominal charge. I don't cycle race but do ride sportives. These are typically over well marshalled and supported routes of around 100 miles with entry prices around £20. Given most triathlons I have competed in involve loops of a relatively small area, where is the justification for entry fees of £50 plus?

I'm based in SW London, so if anyone can suggest any local races at reasonable cost I would be apprecaitive!

03/12/2009 at 11:22
I find that many more staff are involved in organising a tri. Pool hire will cost something including security, or the canooists for open water swims etc. Then marshalling a bike course which can be quite lengthy, stand by ambulances, any road closures that may be necessary, people to set up and take down transition areas and manage those areas during the race etc etc. I guess it just costs more than organising a cross country 10k...
03/12/2009 at 11:23

Id like to know which marathons are 'typically £10 or so"!

seren nos    pirate
03/12/2009 at 11:26

I imagine the insurance would be higher as well............I know they counted Ironman as an the highest level extreme sport when I got travel insurance in the summer..........

yes they are expensive but I suppose like lots of things.............there is a market value as well.....

cougie    pirate
03/12/2009 at 11:29
There was a cost breakdown in 220 a while ago. Tri is expensive.

I dont know of any Marathons that cost a tenner.
The Cheshire Cat Sportif was more than £20 too.

If you think that organising a tri is a good way to make money - then you should give it a go ! Good luck !
Gyraffe    pirate
03/12/2009 at 11:46
I think there might be fewer participants as well - so the costs per head are higher.
03/12/2009 at 11:49

Ok. On the marathon point 5-4-3-2-1 Salisbury, Gt Clarendon, Dartmoor Discovery, Beachy Head - any event organised by Long Distance Walkers. You'll find a few...

I had forgotten about transition and security there...

cougie    pirate
03/12/2009 at 11:55
This is useful http://www.eklidbury.co.uk/pdf/220_209_Race_Organise_EKL.pdf

03/12/2009 at 11:56

I think sportives are cheaper insurance wise as they are not classed as 'races' as well, which also helps in terms of local police  / road stuff.

Agree it's very expensive though!

03/12/2009 at 11:59

IM entry fees are mahoosive! But on the one I did, you could really see where the money had been spent - motorcycle escorts for last riders through town (like me) lots of safety kayaks, top notch goodie bags, plenty of feed stations, road closures for most of the day, lots of food at the finish etc. Sure they still make a bit, but its easier to swallow when you can see that they've also spent a bit!

03/12/2009 at 12:00

I think those you mention are the exception to the rule, having done 2 of those mentioned and several LDWA ones....none of which I SUSPECT involve road closures (whihc is where cost really kick in).

Anyhoo...that is off topic.

You dont like the entry fee - you dont pay it. Simple enough?!

03/12/2009 at 12:01

Philip, I don't know when you last entered the maras you say are £10, but  this year

Beachy Head - £20

Great Clarendon - £19

Dartmoor Discovery - £24

03/12/2009 at 12:13
I don't think anyone got "rich" organising triathlons! 
03/12/2009 at 12:18

Salsbury £10 attached.

Also DD is road run ultra with superb organisation and very decent disco afterwards...

Agree no road closures for any, but would have thought smaller events outside of town centres wouldn't necessarily need them. Maybe the costs are largely health and safety.

I'm not saying I want something for nothing. I'm just somewhat taken back by the cost of even relatively small events.


 Thanks Cougie - Just read the article. It does seem mostly health and safety related

03/12/2009 at 13:48
Mikefrog wrote (see)
I don't think anyone got "rich" organising triathlons! 

I agree.  When I marshalled at the Vitruvian it gave me a proper idea at the amount of organising etc that goes on at a tri.  the Vit is run by Pacesetterevents and you'd like to think they would like to make a penny for themselves here or there, being an events management organisation, but I couldn't see where to be honest...  If you tot it all up, rental of the facilities for a couple of days as most things are set up the day before, security/canoos on the lake, transition, the motorbike draft busters, the feed stations, policing, St Johns Ambulance, organising all the volunteer marshalls and scouts, organising the sponsors, a proper finish arch with music, announcements, decent medals, goodie bag, nice shirts... all the way to the fact that they know how to treat their volunteers well and treat you to a bacon butty and black coffee at 5am, --- that divided by a relatively small number of participants (not tens of thousands for Great Bupa runs) and you can't really see how they make a huge living out of it...

PMSL @ "disco afterwards"... well whoopeedoo!!!!

03/12/2009 at 14:15

Well it depends whether you're there for an 'event' or a race. If you race often, do you always need to pay for DJ, elaborate finishing tunnel and arch, goodie bag (generally full of junk and junk food), t-shirts and medals? All these add greatly to cost and little to race itself although arguably go towards 'event'.

What you do want is for the race to be run on schedule, routes clearly marked, health and safety compliant and kit in transition secure. 

Maybe sometimes less is more...

03/12/2009 at 14:27
When I entered my first Tri I was shocked how comparatively more expensive it was against a 'normal' run.  But then I marshalled at Henley On Thames Tri earlier this summer and it really opened my eyes.  Unless you have been behind the scenes you have no way of understanding the amount of organisation involved in a Tri.  Now I am of the opinion that I am happy to pay the 'extra' to know that I am participating in a well organised event
03/12/2009 at 14:30
I disagree that the medals/tops add much to the cost and the stuff in the goodie bags is usually given for free by sponsors.  The example I used of the Vit, for most people a half Ironman is a bit of an achievement so they quite like a medal or similar.  What costs the most will be the actual organisation, insurance, safety etc.  If you want a race that’s well organised, safe, offers chip timing etc then you can’t reduce it to a tenner.  It’s not the same as a bunch of people fell running around some hills signing a disclaimer that everything is at your own risk etc.  Like someone said before… if you think you can do it cheaper but not fall foul of safety etc… go try.
cougie    pirate
03/12/2009 at 15:54
I wonder what a no frills tri would cost you ? OK you could cut down on medals and goody bag, but I dont think they cost that much.

Having it as no frills would probably reduce the numbers of people interested in racing - and so the costs would be higher per entrant.
JPenno    pirate
03/12/2009 at 18:40
cougie wrote (see)
I wonder what a no frills tri would cost you ? OK you could cut down on medals and goody bag, but I dont think they cost that much. Having it as no frills would probably reduce the numbers of people interested in racing - and so the costs would be higher per entrant.
Cougie - IMUK is bloody expensive tho for an no frills event
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