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 Running bubble has popped? I agree!

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marty farrell Posted - November 12 2017 : 21:06:18

marty farrell
16   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
SonOfRoxy Posted - November 28 2017 : 09:21:02
JF, you are losing it in your "old age". The majority of runners today may be more concerned with the after race amenities than with the race itself, but there is a large group of runners who are more concerned with running large numbers of races than with running fast. Your comment that they run less than you and I did in the past is completely wrong. As to the consistent theme of "we were faster back then", take a look at the top 25 at the TT this year. without any statistical analysis, I would say that this years race wass as fast and deep as it ever was.
jroden Posted - November 24 2017 : 06:02:20
In this community we have the benefit of very inexpensive timing and finish line services and a ton of certified courses.

Walk up registration has always been the norm and that costs the promoter extra, but this running community has come to expect it over the years. Free beer, food and a shirt plus lots of plaques are all considered a normal park of a $25 day or race entry.

Most other communities don't off so much value for the money, especially those that have professional promotion and management companies running the events. Look at Toronto for an example.

I think this community is an amazing bargain.

Maybe there should be a special forum on this site dedicated to complaining about races, it would be lively! I have few complaints and appreciate all the work that goes into promoting a race.
JF Posted - November 20 2017 : 19:06:56
Jeff---you are right on----when the running clubs "let go," of the races, things changed. But, I am old and don't want to be labeled as one of those back in my day guys. A few years ago, I came back to Buffalo to visit and ran in the Buffalo Runners 10K at Chestnut Ridge---the course was accurate, people brought food and drink and the requested donations was either $5 or $10 (I can't remember).

But, Rich is also right---people want the amenities today and they will pay a bit extra for these events.

The hard core racers are fading. In the 90s, when I lived in Rochester and raced frequently, I would race three, sometimes four times per month--I saw the same guys at each race--Dunlop, Grande, Bob Williams, Bob Carroll, Peiser, Derek White, Tommie Proctor, Pat Proctor and many, many others. There was the hard core group. But, today, the recreational runners have taken over and that's not a bad thing, just different. Because they don't race weekly, they pay the same as we did---they just do it for one race.

Happy Thanksgivings!

SonOfRoxy Posted - November 18 2017 : 06:20:55
I'll bet the cost of running 100 races is doubled by transportation and of course all of our healthcare premiums are going up to keep them running.
Jeff Posted - November 17 2017 : 12:40:00
Ram36, I'm glad you brought that up. Its relevant. I'm not tremendously concerned if behind the scenes a race is "for profit" or "for a loss" or for any combination of a thousand worthy charitable causes. (My CEO wants us all to try to donate 2% of our gross salary to the company's United Way drive. I'm not looking for more ways to give away money - I can do that on my own time). What I want is a good running experience -- and if you're paying for it, then you should too!

"Hearts and intentions in the right place"?? No, I don't think so. You may be too young to have experienced the nascent stages of road running as a sport. In the beginning, road races were primarily about RUNNING. The races were planned, organized, and raced by real runners for the purpose of running. I think that's best. We still have a few like that.

I'm not alone in that view. The very visible late Fred LeBow, the long time president of the NYRR and the founder of the NY Marathon, was vehemently opposed to what he called "the exploitation" of the runners by greedy charities. If you called him up looking for advice for your fund raising 5K he'd give you a memorable tongue lashing then hang up!

The beauty of the Y-10 for me was that for a long time it remained a real race --- a race that was founded only for the running of it. It was a darn good run! It was not conceived as a way to raise money for something other than the run itself. I appreciate that purity.

Small road races are actually not a good vehicle for raising funds for unrelated endeavors. And, a race organization or person that has no background or feeling for the sport is bound to organize a less than stellar running event -- or an outright fiasco. We have plenty of evidence of that...

ram36 Posted - November 17 2017 : 08:55:38
Seeing as the majority of races are not for profit, I don't really over analyze $10 +/-. The race organizers hearts and intentions are in the right places.

You go to and smaller 200 or so size 5k and see them busting their balls doing everything from registration, volunteer coordination, vendor mgmt, etc. I doubt the race organizer has a degree in 'race day logistics and budgeting'. They're doing their best.

Would I prefer to have an option to save $9 and forgo the shirt? Sure. Would I mind if they went old school and no chip timing if the field is small enough and save another $3? Go for it. Do I need a medal for finishing a 10 mile race that adds $3 to the fee? I don't, but others enjoy it. These race directors have full time jobs and lives.

I'd bet most are learning on the fly. I don't get on them for doing their best. If it costs me $35 for the Y10 or a 5k, and I know that it's a not for profit, it doesn't bug me at all. The running 'bubble' (there is not a running bubble in our sense of the running world) will not pop until people stop paying $70 for color runs or $150 for tough mudders. Until those gimmicky events go belly-up, your $35 5k for a charitable organization will continue to be held.

For profit races, that's another story. I will avoid those at all cost.
buffalogal Posted - November 17 2017 : 05:26:31
Originally posted by ironpower

You are welcome. I think you would also be surprised as to how little sponsor money is out there. Everyone is cutting back on their budgets.


Push 'til you puke, then go harder!!!

A lot of the costs are fixed costs. The new world order might impose consolidation on races. The directors of smaller races might consider holding joint races and splitting the revenue evenly. How many races can we really sustain? 100 finishers or fewer seems to be the norm rather than the exception.
Jeff Posted - November 17 2017 : 04:40:20
Rich is correct. In fact, most small races have no sponsor at all - entry fees are their only source of revenue to offset the expenses.

But, we can have a wonderful "low cost - no frill" race. That was part of the charm of the original Y-10 for most of its 46 years.

If memory serves, the entry fee had been only $3 for many years. At $3 we had coffee and donuts to look forward to back at the Y when we finished and very few medals for the top finishers - and that was it.

The Y-10 was always one best racing experiences of the year.

ironpower Posted - November 17 2017 : 04:32:08
Some quick math on cost of 100 races without travel.

$15.00 $1,500.00
$20.00 $2,000.00
$25.00 $2,500.00
$30.00 $3,000.00
$35.00 $3,500.00


Push 'til you puke, then go harder!!!
ironpower Posted - November 17 2017 : 04:29:35
You are welcome. I think you would also be surprised as to how little sponsor money is out there. Everyone is cutting back on their budgets.


Push 'til you puke, then go harder!!!
JF Posted - November 16 2017 : 19:38:38
Rich...thanks for doing the math. Seems like everything is expensive these days.

But, a lot of that cost is offset by sponsors who donate money. That said, not easy to hold a race.

It is up to us, though.

autisticfather Posted - November 16 2017 : 18:02:20
There are plenty of runners who already have run over 100 races this year. Unless running is their only life I don`t understand how they can afford it. I am curious just how much 100 races is in dollars and cents ?????????
millar1987 Posted - November 16 2017 : 12:36:56
The BAA charges $55 for their 5k which sells out the 10,000 field limit. I've never run it because that's too much for me (both the cost and field size). $35 for a 10 mile race seems like fair pricing.
ironpower Posted - November 16 2017 : 11:29:28
Some things to think about

There are $13 races out there still, but the running community isn't supporting them with 500 runners.

Did you that if you hold a race in Buffalo, typically the minimum fee for for police support is $3500. For a 100 person race that works out to $35/person. Did you know to sanction a race with USATF is as around $100 or so $$$'s for a small event and several thousands for a large event.Did you know bibs cost around 23-25 cents a piece without safety pins. Did you know crappers depending on how many you order are anywhere between $35-$125. Its costly to hold an event. Now should everyone be charging $30-$35 for a 5k? That's your call. Speak with your wallet.

For giggles I looked up a quick sample budget for a 5k race and also a marathon/half marathon. (keep in mind the second was for a race in 2005. I bet it costs way more for 2018) This might surprise you.

For a 5K

Course Measurement (add $50 for certification)

Entry Form

printing (7,500 to 10,000 entries)
$500 and up
$350 to $750*+
Bib Numbers (750) $150 to $200+
Portable Toilets $250# +
T-shirts (costs vary depending on sleeve length,
color, number of imprints and ink colors from
about $4.00 to $6.00 per shirt, printed) Estimate
based on $5.00/shirt for 500 runners and 100
volunteers. Cost of design is extra.# $3,000+

Ambulance/Paramedics $150
Sound System $300 to $500
Security/Police $250 to $2,500
Permits $50 to $250#
Post-race Refreshments (including coffee and
donuts for volunteers)
$100 to
$1,000* +

Awards (assumes 1 3 age groups, in five-year
increments, from 1 5-and-under to 70-and-over,
male and female, minimum three deep per group) $125 to $1,000+

ribbons (approximately $125)
medals (approximately $200)
trophies (from $200 to $1,000)
Banners $300-$1,000#
Packet Supplies (instruction sheets, pins,
envelopes of bags) $100* +
Packet Preparation $300 to $500
Insurance (USATF liability insurance is based
on the size of the anticipated field, and the
local association adds a processing fee.
Coverage is also available through RRCA for
member clubs) $250

Barricades (depends on the extent of road
closures required by municipal permit and police)
$50 to $800#

Equipment Rental $350 to $1,000#
Miscellaneous Expenses $100#
Race Scoring
A set fee, plus from $ 1.00 per to $2.00 and up per finisher for timing and scoring $1,500 to $2,500 (1)
Race Management
$1,000 to $3,000 (2)
Total $6,325 to $23,600

2005 Lehigh Valley Marathon
Presented by The Morning Call
Preliminary Budget 10/17/04

Number of Runners
Marathon ($70 Entry Fee): 1,500
Half-Marathon ($45 Entry Fee): 1,500
Total Participants 3,000

Entry fees $172,500

Police/traffic: $25,000
Transportation (buses): $10,000
Food/hydration (per runner-$6.00): $18,000
T-shirts (per runner-$6.50): $19,500
Medals (per runner-$2.00): $6,000
Timing (per runner-$3.00): $9,000
Entertainment: $5,000
Facility rental (finish): $3,000
Port-a-johns (per runner-$1.50): $4,500
Promotion: $7,500
Tent rental: $5,000
Other rental (tables, etc.): $7,500
Certification: $500
Banners/signage: $2,000
Prize money: $5,000
PA systems: $2,000
Insurance: $2,000
Bib numbers (per runner-$0.25): $750
Professional fees/consult: $20,000
Donations: $10,000
Photographer/videographer: $3,000
First aid/medicine: $5,000

Total $170,250


Push 'til you puke, then go harder!!!
JF Posted - November 13 2017 : 19:40:56
Very true. 11 years ago, a 5K average was $13.50----now it's $34. That's just too much money. Has anybody's salary increased 2.5 times in those 11 years?

Look at all the timing companies out there---they all need to make a profit and that causes the price to increase. The Lockport 10 is the perfect example--it went from a runners race to one that wants the masses and thinks that the masses will pay a much higher fee. We shall see.

America loves events. The Turkey Trot will still draw, although the days of selling out are probably coming to an end. Today is November 13 and you can still sign up for the Buffalo Trot for a whopping $41. To me, that's too much money. What are you getting for that----the same shirt and goody bag you got when it was 15, then 20 and then 25 dollars. It might not sell out this year.

In 1996, I ran 41 races---most were $10 to $15. Yes, that's 21 years ago, but still----today, I am older, injured more, slower and the desire to race has waned a bit. When I do want to race, the price often scares me off and instead of doing the race, I'll run on the track or do something differently to spice things up.

I am not necessarily rooting for the boom to come back, nor am I rooting for it to fade away, but I would like to see prices level once again to an affordable rate.

It is a consumer driven sport---the Buffalo Trot charges $36 and then $41 because they can, but it is up to the public to make them accountable. That's one of the reasons I thought a second trot could fly--a cheaper 5K alternative content to draw 250 to 500 runners. When the Buffalo trot charges $50, maybe we'll see one.

marty farrell Posted - November 12 2017 : 21:12:17
Races are much too expensive these days.I still do around 10 a year but pick them wisely.Id rather run at the Ridge with a group and go out for breakfast or run at another location and get a few beers after than pay these astronomical prices.I have enough t-shirts and if your over 12 years old and still get excited about trophies I donít know what to tell you!

marty farrell

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