ARE RACE EN­TRIES BE­COM­ING TOO EX­PEN­SIVE?

Runner's World (UK) - - RACE -

NO‘We try hard to keep our en­try fees down and pro­vide value for money. We have a num­ber of races where en­try will set you back £10 or less. Com­mer­cial doesn’t have to mean pricey, but you need to pay for what you get. Does the race have a UKA li­cence? If so, it costs an aw­ful lot more, at much higher fees than clubs pay.

The days of lo­cal St John Am­bu­lance guys sup­port­ing races in ex­change for a do­na­tion are long gone. And run­ners’ ex­pec­ta­tions of medals have in­creased in line with the prices. Then you need race bibs, por­ta­ble toi­lets, wa­ter, fin­ish-line snacks, staff salaries… And check where you’re run­ning: I’ve lost count of the num­ber of times I’ve heard, ‘It doesn’t cost any­thing to use a park’. Well, some of our park fees are well into four fig­ures for a 10K. But the real sting in the tail? 20 per cent of your en­try fee is handed over to the VAT man. There’s a healthy port­fo­lio of races to suit all bud­gets – both com­mer­cial and not for profit – and there’s room for them all.’

YES‘My first race in 2008 was a half marathon that cost a few quid to en­ter, but I didn’t even think about the money. Now, cost is a big part of my de­ci­sion­mak­ing progress. I run all dis­tances up to ul­tra events and last year I spent £4,000 on en­try fees alone. Marathons can go up to £65+ now, while a 100-mile race will cost you £140 or more. Race com­pa­nies will keep put­ting prices up as long as peo­ple pay, but in­creas­ingly you hear com­ments such as ‘That’s too much,’ and ‘Do you get a T-shirt?’ There needs to be bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion about what you get for your money. Some races are good value, many aren’t. I’d like to see some stan­dard­i­s­a­tion, with en­tries sold as pack­ages in the fu­ture. For ex­am­ple, you could buy ‘bib only’ with noth­ing else, or up­grade to a mid-level pack­age that in­cludes medal and T-shirt. A top-end pack­age could in­clude a text with your time and splits, etc. This way peo­ple would have more of a say in how much they pay and what they get.’

PAUL MCCLEERY Per­sonal trainer and run­ner

MARTIN BURKE CEO, Nice Work Races

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