Last week I received an email from the organizers of the NYC Ironman announcing registration for the 2013 race. I had signed up for the 2012 Ironman (which was held last weekend) but had to cancel my entry when I found out I was pregnant (I received a $150 refund on my race entry fee).
My husband and I had recently been discussing my intentions to sign up for next year’s race – training and completing an Ironman has been on the forefront of my mind for the past few years and rather than put it off for another few years, we decided I would make the NYC Ironman my target race post-baby #2.
Well, we did…until I got the email with the registration information. The price tag for the 2013 NYC Ironman?
This is about $250 MORE than it was for the previous year’s race (2012 NYC Ironman). In my mind, I could <somewhat> justify $950 for an Ironman but just couldn’t bring myself to pay $1200. Maybe it was the four digit figure as opposed to three. Not sure. But that extra $250 was the cut-off point for me. (Registration is currently suspended for the NYC IM – more details here.)
Although the NYC Ironman carries a bigger price tag than other Ironman races, they still range between $600-$650 (the cost for 70.3 races (Half-Ironman) typically range between $150-$300). Understandably, IM and 70.3 races are typically more money than marathons and half marathons since they require more road and water closures, logistical support, safety and emergency vehicles, etc. And, typically these races cap out at around 2,500 participants where the larger road races can have upwards of 30,000-40,000 runners.
But these high price tags for entry are not just limited to triathlons. The larger, more popular road marathons in the US are slowly getting up there in cost as well.
Members of New York Road Runners must pay $216 this year to enter the marathon <NYC Marathon> compared with $156 last year. For United States residents who are not club members, the fee increased to $255, from $196. International applicants, if accepted, will pay $347, up from $281. – New York Times
You may be shaking your head at this cost – but despite the huge increase in cost, the NYC Marathon saw a record breaking number of entrants (28,000) in the first 24 hours the lottery system was open earlier this year and had over 50,000 hopefuls by the 11th day (Source: StrideNation.com).
<Note: Not all large marathons carry such a hefty price tag – the Marine Corps Marathon, the fourth largest marathon in the US (only behind NY, Boston, and Chicago) has a entry cost under $100 ($92).>
I’m certainly not an expert at determining the validity of these high entry fees – each race has their own cost structure for entry fees and I’m sure they can justify the high cost. But, after receiving the email last week with the entry cost for the NYC Ironman, I started thinking about how much others were willing to pay for these races.
Was I being irrational thinking that $1200 was too much?
I don’t think so. But all I know is that I had sticker shock for the first time. Up until that point, I had previously not walked away from a race entry because of it’s cost (I’ve run/signed up for many high-dollar races – NYC Marathon, Boston Marathon, Syracuse 70.3).
Are you running a race that has a high entry fee? Is it a race you plan to only run once in your life (it’s on your bucket list)?
Do you have a cutoff price?
What’s the highest you have ever paid for entry into a race?
Have high price tags caused you to run a different race?