The recent registration fee hikes in certain high profile races (ahem, New York City Marathon) got me to thinking about the economic side of racing. While running is often considered a pretty inexpensive sport–all you really need is a good pair of shoes and a place to run, lately the cost of running seems to be on the rise. Racing fees have been creeping up and have actually caused some runners (and definitely non-runners!) to have sticker shock.
Reasons for fee increases are often attributed to the cost of police coverage for road closures, etc. This was the reason cited by the New York Road Runners (NYRR) as the main reason for the 2012 marathon fee increase– from $156 to $216 for NYRR members and from $196 to $255 for non-members). It should be noted, however, that the NYPD would not disclose how the increased costs of their service was calculated.
The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) passed on a more moderate fee hike of $20 (from $130 to $150). The Rock n’ Roll series (Competitor) of races are often noted for their relatively high race fees. I find it interesting that race fees are continuing to increase substantially in a down economy. I guess we are willing to pay more for the privilege to race, even when times are tight.
Although there are a number of races I would really like to run in 2012, I do not have an unlimited budget and will have to make some choices regarding entry fee and travel costs. I did decide to spend $95 to run the Anthem Half Marathon (part of the Shamrock Marathon series) in Virginia Beach when I could have opted for a less expensive local race like the New Bedford Half Marathon (often used as a tune-up by Boston Marathoners) for only $40. However, all of my other 2012 races will be much less expensive and within an easy driving distance.
Would a significant fee hike like that of the New York City Marathon deter you from running it or would you just go for it? Do you feel that increasing race fees have affected your race calendar for 2012?