Running Bug Forums Debates and polls Cost of Events

  • Chris Pattison

    September 29, 2019 at 6:05 am

    I wonder what people think about the cost of events and what is a reasonable cost.  Over the years I have run over 200 races (exc. parkrun) and more recently I have become more aware of higher costs or poor value (in my view).


    I ran the Rother Valley Marathon last year, it cost around £30, there was no t-shirt, if I recall you paid extra for a medal and the feed stations had water and only water.  To my thinking there is a health and safety issue here also, surely there should be well stocked feed stations, or we should be clear beforehand that there is nothing other than water.  There were no road closures involved.   For the record … I do not recommend 9 laps of Rother Valley.


    I have the option of running Chesterfield half marathon in a few weeks, they want £32.  Instead I will go to a local 8 mile fell run … cost £5.


    Today I am running the Tissington Trail Half Marathon and it is now open for 2020.  It sells out quickly so you have to react, but they want £30 (t-shirt is extra).  This is 99% off road, with just a single crossing of a very quiet road – where you should wait for the traffic.


    I think I am becoming a little more selective and have a bit of a mental block when it comes to £30+ for a HM, I know the Jane Tomlinson ones are popular but also rather expensive.  I guess I don’t mind £30 if its rather special and you get something back for your money, but it strikes me there are a few organisations set up that are exploiting us a bit.


    If anyone has read Boff Whalley’s Run Wild – he spends half the book (which is a good read) laying into the big city runs, and even the smaller organised runs.  It does get you thinking.


    So whats a reasonable cost for a 10k, HM and Marathon in people’s view.  Is it just the Yorkshire in me 🙂  ?  I think my benchmark going forward is going to be less than £20 for a 10k, less than £28 for a HM and the Marathon will depend on perceived value but I expect around £30 – £35.

  • sharnie1

    September 29, 2019 at 8:53 am

    I am a huge advocate of low cost locally organised events – and as someone who does a lot of events as training runs these make great sense to me.  I also for my main events (with the odd exception for something very long that involves a lot of checkpoints for multi day durations) have a general rule that more than £1.00 a mile is more than I want to pay.

    I am however a huge fan of the medals/tee shirts and other event merchandise should be extra and optional policy (including medals) – I used to have so many gopping cheap Ill fitting event shirts that are effectively migrated from the bottom of the draw to a charity shop.  They’re not very eco friendly??  Paying for selected event merchandise can keep the cost lower for those who don’t want it and allow those who do to buy better quality gear.  Some people don’t keep medals either??

    As for feed/drink stations, I think water is just fine – no two people use the same nutrition/hydration strategy anyway??  It’s only really the last few years since gels/hydration solutions started being so popular and events sponsored by these companies became the norm that anyone even expected anything other than water at feed stations??  I’m still bewildered that 5/10k events even think drink stations are necessary, and that some marathons have one every mile??

    In the world of ultras you can pay £3 a mile for 100k and pretty much have the possibility of a 3 course meal every 5 miles and an arrow pointing the way every 100 yards, or 50p a mile and just get water every 20 miles and navigate for yourself.  It’s down to choice and experience and confidence level?

    I think there are enough events out there to allow enough choice to cater for all expectations – are all races value for money – absolutely not – but if people are daft enough to pay for these events and want to do them then those races will always exist.


  • Martin Penrice

    September 29, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Most  of these events  are organized by businesses and are just  after  profit . There’s  any amount  of people who  will  pay  whatever  to take  part in these  events hence  the price  as for tee shirts I’d say  most of them finish in charity shops.

    The  cheapest  events  are the ones run by clubs for runners  and a few pounds for club  funds where  members  volunteer  to Marshall  Etc.

    Most  fell  races  are only between  3 and 5 pounds most  I’ve paid  is 10 pounds coledale horseshoe and what a good  feed you got at the end.  You know  before you  enter  no tee shirts  or medals maybe  prizes  for first  home Male and female.  If people  are happy  paying  big money  to run that’s up to  them there  any amount  of organising willing to  take it

  • Julian Roberts

    September 29, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    If i was running an ultra Sharon ( not going to happen ) i would want a hotel room every 20 miles never mind anything else

  • Richard Woodfield

    September 29, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Lol – a heartfelt contribution from Julian 😉

    Tbh I am reasonably relaxed in that for the most part there is enough competition for the marketplace to work effectively.  By that I mean overall there’s quite a lot of different organisers in competition; in many parts of the country there’s plenty of different events to choose from; there’s large events where you in effect pay for crowds, atmosphere and big names etc; and small, no frills events which accordingly are much cheaper.  Also, with the internet and social media the consumer has a fair amount of information – so any event that is poorly organized and/or a rip off gets a public panning.

    (I’m thinking of Cheltenham HM several years ago.  All the ingredients for a brilliant event – a very fine town, lots of community support etc.  But one year there was massive cock up with traffic management.  Realistically, the only way to keep the event going and restore confidence was to hand the race over to someone else to organize.)

    So I think it’s absolutely fine for people to have their own mental payment ceiling eg my normal max for a particular kind of event is £X, but I would go up to £Y if it had particular features that I really wanted.

  • JillyMP

    September 30, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    I do think the cost of some events are ridiculous. Royal Parks Half is £59 excluding £3.95 postage!!! Which is why I haven’t done it. Hackney Half is similar. Makes London Marathon at £35 pretty good value though sponsorship for that is probably phenomenal…. thinking city events cost more to organise? New York is astronmic!

    Do like the local races. Easy to get too, definitely a little cheaper and a smaller field. Unfortunately, near me, it’s not really hilly, so the more challenging events I have to travel too, another added cost.

    Happy to have the option to buy a t-shirt than be given something I’ll never wear though organisers have improved the fit of some that make them wearable. Best “thing” I ever got after an event was a a stoneware mug. Perfect. Also happy to carry my own gels, but do like water stations at regular intervals. They seem to help mentally as well as physically (may take a very quick walk break whilst drinking).

    There’s plenty to choose from for all wallets. Yes there are a lot of costly races with little to offer, but hopefully there are other more suitable options out there also on offer.

  • Vicky Pixi

    October 1, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    LOL @positivejuled Never say never😱

    Perfect timing debate for me as having a shall i sharnt i moment with entering a particular event. (£70 entry plus £12 coach to start) seems an awful lot, but i really want to do it!!

    The most I have paid for an event is £5o and that was for CTS Sussex which included a really crappy medal and crappier T- shirt BUT the event was very well organised, not over crowded and friendly, they had check points with tanks of water but you supplied your own cup and food was minimal, and just a bottle of water and manky banana at the finish line – now i’m not one for give me give me give me BUT after running a very hard marathon as this one is i would like at least a hot chocolate or even a cup of tea at the end as it was on the cliffs and no where for miles to get a hot drink from!

    Now go back a few years when i paid the least amount for an event £12 to run a 40 mile ultra – no medal but you did get a sew on patch the option to purchase a tee and check points full of lovely cakes and sandwiches AND a baked potato with chill and cheese at the finish – again well organised and not over crowed and very friendly.

    I enjoyed both equally.

    Whose to say whats to expensive – think we will pay the money if it’s an event we want to do, as for the merchandise im a sucker for an event t-shirt or buff and will buy one if there up for sale, and if they come free then bonus 🙂

  • Richard Gregory

    October 1, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    I think the most I paid was about £60 Manchester Marathon but did it with gritted teeth. A half yes £30 or under 10k I have paid £8 -£25 but mostly around £15 I like the 10k where money goes to local charities.

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