Despite the occasional injury and the time commitment, running a marathon is good for you. You’ll get away from your various screens and drop a few pounds while enjoying the great outdoors. After a couple months of training you will actually look forward to your training runs, the short ones and the longs ones. The smell of new running shoes, fresh fallen leaves and a stick of Body Glide will excite you and make you feel like running an 8.4 mile loop twice early on a Sunday morning isn’t a dumb way to spend your time.
When you sign up for your first marathon you probably won’t care how much it costs but if you get the bug and consider doing more, the money will start to be a factor. Marathons are expensive and you can probably figure out why. Shutting down part of a city and making sure it’s safe with enough places for runners to poop is very important.
Where Does the Money Go?
“The exact breakdown of races’ costs can be hard to obtain – organizers understandably don’t always want this information to be public. But the Washington Post recently had a breakdown of the costs of the Marine Corps marathon (a relatively cheap US one at a mere $99). They reckoned that the 2013 entry fee of $99 per person was spent as follows:
- $36 for course operations – toilets, buses, chip timing, rubbish and the like.
- $34 for “event enhancement” – that’s entertainment, advertising and the pre-event expo.
- $34 on security.
- $22 on “other ops” – staff salaries, utilities, vehicles etc.
- $13 on your bling – the race numbers and pins, T-shirt, and medal.
- $12 on food, including the aid stations within the race (and doughnuts, apparently, which doesn’t sound like an entirely health pre- OR post-race snack).
- $6 on registration, which is likely to include whatever online registration system they use.
The total cost per runner adds up to greater than the $99 (to $158 in fact) because sponsors contribute the rest, in either cash or provisions.” More>
You feel better now that you know where the money goes? I sure do. One trick to saving your running dollars is to REGISTER EARLY, like a year early if you can. There are some solid early registration deals for races in lovely locations like San Diego, Seattle and Maine (see below). Most runners are used to planning things out so signing up early shouldn’t be a problem. Motivated by the The Guardian article, I created a little U.S. marathon money table with my basic math skills.
Also, a great resource for finding races in a handy calendar format is MarathonGuide.com.
Marathon Registration Fees and Cost Per Mile
Prices based on US residents who apply on September 23, 2015 for the upcoming 2015-2016 races. Again, most of these marathons have cheaper early registration deals!
|New York City||$225||$8.6|
|Disney – Orlando||$175||$6.7|
|Marine Corps – D.C.||$125||$4.8|
|Shamrock Marathon – Virginia||$110||$4.2|
|Flying Pig – Cincinnati||$75||$2.9|
|Sugarloaf – Maine||$70||$2.7|
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