The Price of Racing

I wish I could run without signing up for races, but truth be told races help motivate me and keep me on track. This past weekend I started to look at different local 5Ks to add to my schedule and was nearly shocked when I saw some of the prices. I haven’t really been running 5Ks in the past year, but when I was two years ago I remember the prices topping at maybe $30 for a timed 5K. What’d I see?


$70 for a un-timed, fun run. 

That’s insane.

slightly understand some of the larger races- like runDisney – being able to charge that amount (or close to it) for a 5K since you run through the parks and there’s a TON of entertainment – but a fun run in MN? That’s just absurd. For $10 more you could run their 10K, or for $20 the 1/2 marathon. What surprised me though is that regardless of the distance you run, you get the same jacket and finishers necklace (this race is very similar to the Nike races with necklaces, men in tuxedos and champagne at the end).

Maybe $70 is worth it to some people for getting the jacket and necklace – but I know I definitely won’t be participating in it. That is just way too expensive for me.

QOTD: What’s the most you’d be willing to pay for a fun run?

Congratulations to Elizabeth G. for winning the race entry to Hot Chocolate 5K or 15K! I’ll be in touch shortly!



  1. Yep, prices have increased substantially over the last couple of years. Unless it’s something really special, I won’t even consider a 5K. I did a couple last year as they were advertised on one of those ‘deal websites’ at a reduced cost, so the race fee was minimal ($25-$30). Now, I pick a few races during the season in the half or full range, and register during the first price wave to save money. As well, the race goals keep me in check to ensure i actually train. :)

  2. I would never pay that much. There are always cheaper options! I ran a half marathon for $40 last year; I’m running another half for $15 in a few weeks. I would pay the money for Disney just because … it’s Disney… and you can get some other discounts on tickets and rooms that cancel out some of the cost. But I would have a hard time paying that much for any old race unless it really was a goal race. Check out your local running club website, hopefully they would have some smaller, less-swag races for much less of a fee.
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  3. That’s crazy. We still have cheaper 5ks in GA but I don’t really do them any more. My shortest “easy” training run is 4 miles so I have a hard time paying for and driving to a 5k even if it were free. I live 20-30min drive from where they usually are so it has to be a good reason for me to sign up for a 5k to make it “fun” for me. It’s another reason I’ve started doing ultras. The next one I’m looking at is a 50k and it’s $55 and will have more/better food at the aid station than any Disney race, just no fireworks but there are plenty of “characters” LOL.
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  4. I agree. Races have become a luxury. My friends and have started doing virtual races amongst ourselves because of this. We still get the motivation and it’s free!
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  5. I’ve never ran a race where I got a necklace and/or a jacket, so maybe the price would be worth it if you liked it.
    I tend to take many things into consideration before signing up for an “expensive” race. Is it themed? Is there an expo? Do I get a medal? What else is offered? If it is just a local race and is not timed and no other stuff is offered than I probably won’t sign up. I can run around my park for free! However, my town does do a race every year, it’s timed and you have the option to buy a shirt or not. I think I paid $10 to register. Anything over that I probably wouldn’t do. I’d rather save my money for bigger races like disney!
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  6. Amanda N

    I think “fun” runs are a LOT more expensive than regular races because they have a novelty of some sort and may attract people that don’t often run/race. Unfortunately, that means they can get away with charging more and most often for sub-par services/organization/conditions. I know the color runs are very popular and also expensive. Luckily, most regular 5k races around here in NH are within the $20-$35 range (but fun runs are like $50+). I do admit, sometimes I choose a race based on the offering at the end but mostly I look for good food rather than swag. Other than that I choose a race for a good cause. I’d rather do a small race for a local charity than a big race for some corporation. Also, my local running club puts on a winter series and summer races where each race is only $5 ($4 if you run all of them) they’re low key and not timed but tons of fun. Look for something like that in your area – lots of running clubs do series races.

  7. I don’t think I would pay more than 40 for a or not I can’t see paying some of the prices for the half marathons either..halfs should not cost 100 plus dollars!
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  8. That is crazy expensive! I wouldn’t pay that much for a 5k unless it was like you said, Disney. And even then…. And again like you, I expect to pay around $30 for a 5k. And those usually even have some pretty nice race swag. I hope this trend of expensive races goes to the wayside soon, it is getting out of control!
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  9. Totally agree the prices of races these days are outrageous. I think my willingness to pay depends on the race, the charity they may be supporting, how bad I want to run the race, the location, if friends are running, etc. But in general I try not to sign up for tons of shorter races and instead let myself splurge on one or two big races a year. I find that keeps me motivated year round!
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  10. Aside from a Disney 5k, I think $25 is the max I’ve paid for a 5k. In general, I’d say race prices have gone up but there are still some good local races that aren’t too expensive. Also more races seem to be doing tiered pricing. I paid $65 for a half in Jan and $75 for a half last weekend, but that was because I registered at the last minute and early registration would have saved at least $20.

    I like to sign up for races so that I can push myself. For me it’s not the same to do a virtual race or run on my own because I don’t get the adrenaline or competitiveness that comes from being at a race. So I might pay $25 to run a 5k even if there’s no chip-timing or swag because I’m still getting the race experience. I typically won’t sign up for a race just to do it as a training run though. Even if it was a $25 half with an awesome medal, unless I was going to race it I probably would save that $25 and just run on my on.

  11. Like you, I’m finding that being registered for races helps keep me motivated and focused on my running. But I’m having the same problem you are – some of the prices for race registrations are absolutely outrageous! Fortunately, one of our local running stores has a good reputation for their races and the registration cost is very reasonable. While they aren’t as scenic or packed full with entertainment as the larger races, its nice to balance out my racing schedule with some of these smaller races in addition to the larger, and more expensive, ones as well.
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  12. That is insane – especially since the half is only $20 more!!
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  13. Gah…that’s just crazy! Though I know some of the races in Seattle get pricey, $35 is the most I’ll do for a 5K and that’s as long as it’s going 100% to charity.

    I definitely seem to need the races to make me run as well!
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  14. I 100% agree how crazy some race prices are getting!!! I’m from where you live- and that particular race you mentioned was expensive even before the price increases!

    I love signing up for races to keep me motivated, but I also like hate when it feels like you are breaking the bank. It’s also hard when you are paying quite a bit of money and it’s not going to a charity or a good cause.

  15. That is way too much for a 10K! The half price is reasonable, but the other 2 are BUTS!
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  16. That’s pretty high for 5k. I agree races nowadays are becoming more expensive. That’s why sometimes I am forced to sign up for the longer distances instead because the 5k prices are high.
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