Friday, May 3, 2013

The marathon's expense

Article from last month's Esquire regarding the rising costs of big races in the U.S.

Think about how much you paid for your last race.  Did the race, its amenities and the experiences you received justify the cost?

If you're a first timer, the answer is probably yes.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  While I didn't pay nearly as much for my first marathon in 2005, I did pay a ridiculous amount to have the memory preserved forever in a fancy frame.  I paid an equally ludicrous amount to go skydiving a year later and capture everything on video.  I hope to someday climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, and... you know where this is going.  The fee is justifiable because you're proud and want to commemorate an event.

But what happens when you're a running veteran with limited pockets?  Is paying $255 to run the NYC Marathon justifiable?  While I would still like to run a big city event like New York or Chicago just to experience it once, I can't see myself making a habit of it.  And as long as the demand is there from people like me, that price isn't going to go down.

With the second running boom comes a considerable amount of greed.  Cities want their cut for street closures and police officers, and businesses and entrepeneurs alike see a way to make a buck.

I love the few runners profiled in the article that have taken it upon themselves to create underground races.  They're bringing the spirit and honor of competition back to running, away from the glitz and the money machine of the big races.  It's why I'm going to stage my own race this August across the state of New Jersey.  More information on that to come.

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