ARE RACE ENTRIES BECOMING TOO EXPENSIVE?
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