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race fee inflation

It seems like race fees are getting over priced. I know it is for the cause but I also get personal satisfaction from competing and it is not becoming fun anymore because races are 20$ plus. Then to register online seems like another way to get another couple of dollars. It only makes sense to keep prices so everyone could participate meaning more people benefit. I am pretty sure I know what a race costs and it doesn't make sense to me. I'm sure they get money from sponsors to. In this day in time I worry where my money goes and hope it goes to the cause and not some promoters pocket. I can't say all races but in my opinion most are over priced. There are still some great races that are still well worth coming out to support but most are overpriced. I use to do 40 plus races a year but it is not fun anymore when I have to spend 100$ for my family of four we just can't afford your cause anymore. I hope I didn't offend anybody, just the way I see it. I just want to say thanks to the volunteers at the races, for your free time, thank you.

Re: race fee inflation

Agreed! LIKE!

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You are so absolutely correct. I have had this conversation way too many times. I personally feel that they are way too over priced. Okay I get that they are attempting to fund raise money. I get how much it costs to put a race on. However I think the issue is that races want to raise BIG amounts of money. When I think about which races I will participate and support, how much it cost does make a difference and ultimately determines which ones I support. Just this past weekend there were two races I might have participated in one cost $30.00 and one was $22.00 per person. After some thought I decided I would run a 4 miler with my husband which cost nothing. I personally do not just hand money out for the sake of running. One race a year ago, this same issue was brought up and the race director was very insulting that he thought that people should just plunk down their money to support whatever cause and not even give out medals. That all went over like a lead balloon.

I personally can not tell anyone what to spend or not to spend for a race. What I do is set up a budget for the year of how much I am willing to spend and then register accordingly. I have the same issue that two of us sign up the majority of the time and then there are times when it is four. It gets very costly quickly. The distance and popularity of a race have nothing to do with it. I have done the runs where it is only $15.00 to register.

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It is difficult to keep costs low, yet still provide a pretty good experience for runners. I directed the 2 miler with another club member for the SRRC and we barely made a profit, even with a sponsorship. Shirts cost a ton, sometimes over $500 or more. We went with an alternate giveaway (a glass) and the cost for that was still over $200. We sanction our races and insure them and that's another fee. Sometimes when you ask for police, fire, and EMS help, those entities would like a donation in exchange for their services. Medals and trophies are not cheap. We like to put on a good experience for our runners so we have an after party (and also after the Mile series) and the cost to do that is also expensive. Now, you aren't supposed to have races on the levee without paying a fee which is a few hundred dollars. It really isn't cheap and having nor directed a race, I understand why races have gone up in price. It is not always easy to get donations or sponsorships to cover the whole cost.

As far as online registration, the most user friendly and popular sites charge that fee for themselves. We don't get a percentage of that convenience fee to my knowledge. It's the price you pay to save yourself a stamp and printing a piece of paper, I guess. I understand not everyone likes to pay that fee so we still offer a paper registration option for our races. Also we talked about covering the fee ourselves for runners, but that again would be an added expense cutting in to any profit.

We aren't in it to make a ton of money; we care most about putting on a fun race experience for people and bringing people together. But we do like to make some kind of money so we can continue to operate as a club and put on these races. It's really hard to do and I never understood it until I was in charge of a race myself.


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I am always looking for a race that offers the option of no shirt.

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Wow, I was going to start a thread today with the same topic!

Yes, I agree 100%.

I am in my 40s and began running 5Ks when the fees were $5 and $8.

Up until a few years ago, I used to run several 5Ks per year. Now, I will am down to Steamtown, Scranton Half, and perhaps 2 or 3 more per year. I pretty much refuse to sign up if the cost is over $15 - unless the race is super special to me. (Yes, Steamtown and Scranton Half are far more $$$)

I agree with the other poster about shirts. If the shirts are driving up the costs, why can't race organizers just create an option of no shirt. I'd pay 8 to $15 to sign up and you can keep the shirt. I have way too many of them anyway.

So, if any race oganizer is reading this, charging $25 to run 3 miles has priced me out of the game. I know its for charity, but I'd rather give what I want to the charity of my choice. Providing a runner with a no shirt option may increase your entrants.

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Re: race fee inflation

I mostly agree with JM, but partly with the others too. Some races (like those goofy mud runs, color runs, or the races for a certain cause) are expensive. But if you look at Mike's fabulous list of races, you can just pick the cheaper ones.

Totally tooting our own horns, but the Wyoming Valley Striders have two trail races each year that are $5. No frills, just fun. Next one is in October.

We also have a 20K coming up (almost a half marathon) for $25 if you're a member ($30 if not). You get a midweight hoodie as a giveaway, and food & drinks after the race. It's November 6th.

The SRRC has a great mile series where you get to race 3 times for like $35. If you sign up for all three, you get a shirt, an awesome little after party after the third race, and a free beer there too. You can't beat that.

You can find cheaper races...you just have to look for clubs doing them. Usually they are less for profit and more for fun.

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One of the races I still run every year charged $20 this year pre registration and then gave you the option to add a t-shirt for an additional amount! As someone else said, it's for a cause that is important to me so I will still participate, no more t-shirt for me though.

Another fun race that is really cheap is the Great Pumpkin Run at the PPL, sorry Talen, Riverlands outside of Berwick on Route 11. I can't find any info for this year's race but when I used to run it was only $4 without a shirt.

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Hello Matt the Pumpkin run is usually the last Saturday in October. It will be held again this year. They usually don't release race info until sometimes in August or even September. NEPARunner will get this posted when available or check http://www.runfordiamonds.com/pumpkin.html Thank you for posting on the NEPARunner Forumboard.

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I totally agree!! I skipped a local race here because it was $30 for a 5K!! $10 a mile....and this now seems to be the going rate!! i do not understand the big increase when sponsors pay for the cost of the shirts, volunteers do the water stops and traffic control. Water and a banana are not that expensive. Especially when there is no chip timing involved. Registering on line usually involves additional fees so you basically save next to nothing to do so. I am in my late sixties and have run enough races so I am very selective anymore.
You can run the 9 miler in Berwick for $30 and the cookie run is only $10 without a shirt....and check out the great turnouts!! I think if others would charge less they would end up making more!! Just my humble opinion!!

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I agree with Marie and the others who feel race fees are too high. I am also in my 60's, and have run or walked over 550 races, so feel no need to pay $30 or more unless it is a truly special race that I want to do. There are still races around that charge $15-$20 and still seem to raise reasonable amounts of money for whatever cause they are supporting. I do applaud groups like the SRRC that put on races for runners, and are not looking to make lots of money. In the last couple races I did, people were complaining about turnouts for races. Well, perhaps, they need to look at their fees. I also completely agree with the idea of charging less with no shirt. Only give out shirts to those who pre-register and are willing to pay extra. Needless to say, I have far more shirts than I could ever wear, and periodically give a bunch of them to the Salvation Army or other charities (I do hang on to some of my old favorites, many of which are pretty ratty now). I do like the shirts at some race - like Bernie's run - and would be willing to pay more for that shirt.

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this is a good thread. In my area we are fortunate to have people like the Brandt family of Danville who put on a worthy cross county 5k for $0 entry fee this Saturday. Coach Brandt, an outstanding runner himself, also keeps the fees real low for his July Iron Heritage trail 5k in Danville.

Lauding also the Berwick marathon association, Wyoming Valley Striders and the SRRC. I ran a very economical well organized 2 miler in Swoyersville with the latter group. The similarly named Susquehanna Ridge Runners over by Sunbury have a very cheap and quality winter series. Most of these associations are dominated by people who just love the sport.

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I wonder if I am in the minority or the majority? I choose not to run local 5ks because of the cost. Do other avid runners feel the same way?

Is the number one driver of the cost to put on races the shirt?

I think the Run Around Scranton is free, what kind of attendance does that bring?

Lower 5K fees could also promote a healthier lifestyle. Perhaps some brand new runners out there would run some or more organized races if the costs were lower. If I were just starting out and the first 5K I wanted to run was $25, I would be discouraged.

I have 3 children and they recently wanted to run a local race. This race was on the cheaper side at $15, but still, it would have cost me $60 for the 4 of us. I am simply not paying that. Again, if there was a no shirt option, and say the entrance fee was only $8, I would have signed up. So would it not be better for this race director to have that option? Instead of getting zero dollars from me, they would have received $32, and they need not have spent money on my shirt.

If anyone has been to a thrift shop or flea market, you will find all of the race shirts you want for about $1 per. ie, I don't think people care about the shirts.

Please don't get me wrong, certainly I know putting on a race is a lot of work. I just wish these organizations would consider a no shirt option to reduce the fees.

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I no longer run local 5K races because of the price. Instead, I sign up for distance events. They are more expensive but running on a closed course with aid stations is worth it to me. I would run more 5Ks but hesitate at anything over $15. I don't care about the shirt or the post race party. A water bottle and a banana are what makes me happy at the finish!

I do not think we are the majority, though. A lot of people want to do a 5K and have the whole shebang. A tshirt to wear around and advertise that they're runners. A medal to feel great about participating. Etc. I did when I started running:). And the 5K tends to attract more casual & new runners.

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Re: race fee inflation

Hello!

The price of running a 5k is getting out of control! I see race fees that are $30-$35. I realize that they are for good causes but at some point when did runners turn into the charity organization of the world.

Race fees shouldn't top $15 for a 5k.

Its getting ridiculous!

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A lot of time and planning goes into organizing and carrying out 5ks. Also, you're not only paying to run the race but most races donate proceeds to an organization in need which fully justifys the cost in my opinion. $20-$25 is NOT too much to ask. If you want to talk costs, it's at least 1,000 dollars to put on a race, if not more. Timing and shirts and awards are the majority of this cost. You want a no frills event (no awards, chip timing, race shirt or premium, food after?) then those are the races that'll cost a lot less. If you're complaining about a $20 entry then my guess is you have no put on a race yourself to know the true cost and effort it takes.

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Sure $25 is too much to ask. Myself, and a few others who have replied, have stated they no longer run 5Ks due to the cost. A few 5Ks have come up that I thought about running, I checked the cost, see it at $25 or so, and I move on. Thus, it is too much to ask.

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I am a local race director and my race costs a little over $3000 to run...my costs include shirts (which everyone comments that they really like our shirts each year) timing, porta potties, and medals. Sponsors are VERY generous however they are tapped out and may not donate as much as you think. After we pay our bills 100% of our profit goes to the organization that we support. As a race director my goals are to put on a good race and increase what we can donate each year even if we give them $1 more than last year. I send a survey out to my participants after the race and your would be surprised what ppl comment about. I try to keep my race 'low frills' so that we keep out costs down but in the end there is always a handful if ppl that complain that we only have fruit and water/Gatorade at the finish line. I appreciate all the support we have gotten over the years from local runners and runners not so local! ? Reality is (in my situation) that the cost of everything has gone up and sponsors are stretched out in our community so sometimes that means a slight price increase in races. I appreciate everyone's comments and look forward to more conversation about the topic

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I don't think many are complaining, but are just stating they can not afford the higher cost.

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There is a race on Sept 18th that has a no shirt option located at Lake Carey. Benefits Equines For Freedom who provide free therapy to veterans in our area.

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