Value for money?
I don't think it is a pain to them at all, they can tout their races at high prices as people will pay them, now tri has lost momentum ultras are gaining more interest from people wanting a challenge. Unfortunately there is a whole new group of people moving into it with higher disposable income who are not as bothered by the price as they can afford it. It is a shame but probably the way it is going to go until ultra becomes yesterdays big thing just as is starting to happen to tri!!
At the end of the day they 'can' be run on a shoestring, some organisers 'justify' their costs and then make big profits, sometimes that goes to charity sometimes not.
To me the challenge of ultras is to do as much myself as possible, so having the minimum of support etc makes it more of a challenge. There are many people who finish 50 mile or longer ultras under well supported conditions who would not be able to go out and just do that off their own back with no support, to me they have not actually done the ultra, I don't see ultras as a team sport but I accept I am in the minority!
I don't have a problem with that after all it is all about the 'personal' challenge
To be honest with you, getting value for money is not a particularly high priority for me, when I choose the races that I participate in. This is my hobby not my business, and if like the look of an event, I will pay whatever the race organisers want.
I am not in any way disparaging inexpensive events. Some of my favourite ultras have left me with change from a twenty pound note. On the other hand, any British national who has participated in Comrades or the Western States Endurance run, has spent £600 on a plane ticket before they even get to the race fee. What better use could they have possible made of the money?
The 'ultras being the new tri' thing rings true to me - there's a few people at work who do the occasional tri that have started talking loudly about doing the Lakeland 100. So far as I'm aware none of them have done anything further than a half-mara yet (I'm sure I would have heard about it if they had!), but nothing less than 100 miles and loads of hills will do, apparently.
I've got my first ultra coming up soon - the 37-mile Tour de Helvellyn just before Chrimbo, which at £20 seems very reasonable to me. Being from a fellrunning background the minimal support, look after yourself approach appeals to me, and high entry fees generally don't! Ultimately so long as the organisers state how much the event costs and what support there will be before people enter then it's up to the individual to decide; if someone wants to enter a 100-mile unsupported event as their first ultra and pay through the nose to do it then bully for them, I won't be joining them though.
AndrewSmith - You make a good point. The support can make a big difference to how someone runs. See UTMB this year for example where the US atheletes really struggled, personally I think that is partly down to them not being used to carrying mandatory kit such as life blankets, emergency food and water, phone and spare layers as well as being used to regular support in races.
In terms of value for money, I work on a £1 a mile rule to figure out what the maximum cost I would pay is.
having seen the finishers at the lakeland 50 for the last 2 years..............it would take a lot of natural fitness and hardwork to get to be able to finish that in 8 months time..........I struggle with just the 50 and the first half is much harder than the first.................
just looking at the drop out rate tells you something and i know they are people amongst themthat do ultras all year round that just can't get that one beat yet...........
the 50 is doable for anyone with some determination........its a different race altogether..............
I will avoid those races around at the moment that are taking the mick..........very little support but charging a fortune...the hadrians wall one springs to mind
Bear B.Hind wrote (see)
I understand the 'less is more' acheivement of an ultra - but I disagree with th cynical cashing in on this by some organisers. There are certain events that have such a low level of support that you may as well do it on your own - after all you've done the distance, you know what you've done so why pay to get endorsement
BBH - It is still a race that you have entered and I for one still get the competitive edge. If you dont see anyone for the duration of the race then at least you have not been overtaken (unless you start last)
As Andrew Smith says its not just about the distance its the challenge of doing the event with minimal support which is the attraction, the sense of achievement is greater.
That said though I would not pay through the nose for an Ultra however much the appeal.
Not sure about the £1 a mile rule, that will get quite pricey for 100+ mile runs....
Ben with regard to Ultra's abroad, with all due respect it is the individual choice to go there so you cannot factor transport costs into the equation. We are just talking about the cost of the entrance fee..
There certainly are some expensive events out there, but compared to marathons/halves/10ks Ultra's appear better value. £20+ to run a 10k for example - thats 50p/minute!
In ultras there are no economies of scale, with fewer participants per event. But the costs to host must be at least equal if not higher due to the increased duration/support costs.
There seems to be a number fo companies offering running events at all distances, who are just looking to gouge those who are willing to pay - The Wall being a perfect example. I'm happy not to pay for these types of event.
I can see what you're saying Bret Runner, about the challenge of completing with minimal support but as more runners move up to ultra distances I think more support will be the way many events go.
I fear your right pmo, it will be a question of companies taking over to fleece the wannabe Ultras. I just hope the existing Ultras run by the dedicated few who do it for the enjoyment dont give up when faced with this onslaught....
Dont get me started on The Wall
BBH - I was not refering to the more expensive newer Ultra's offering little support, I was talking more about the smaller established Ultra's. Essentialy the low key events start out as you described, getting a few mates (like minded people) together and have a bit of a long run which ends up being a race.
Personally, I think most ultra's are pretty good value for a day's "entertainment" - anything under £50 for a well-organised etc race is acceptable to me. Over £50 and I start to look at what I'm getting and it has to be really worth it in my book - eg Lakeland which I didn't hesitate to enter or other events with excellent reviews. When new races are announced with high price tags then I start to wonder why the extra?
Bret - out of interest - what are the issues with The Wall? - I was thinking of entering
The wall want £150 for the one day or £200 for the 2 day......which includes a campsite fee................they only agree to supply water in the middle of the two stage as a minimum but might supply more................no food but some snacks ....................
so you think that you have to carry it all................no they tell you to buy water and food from the many farms and shops on the route.............
its a pointb to point and you have to pay extra to get back to the start
so they are charging a fortune and then telling you to buy water on route from the shops etc............seems like that is just taking the mick..........either this is a serious race where every is self supported or its good for beginers fun runners and they should provide some basic things like water
but like all things if enough people think its worth a few hundred pounds for a few cup fulls of water then these events will continue
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