I wrote the following in 2013, after my relatively poor Chicago Marathon.
I registered for a marathon two days after the Chicago Marathon debacle and it passed this weekend (first weekend in December 2013) without me running it. I spent $130 on an experience I will not get to have. It's not for charity or anything either. I cannot point to one person that will benefit from me not being there.
This hard to swallow pill is a perfect example of the never ending treadmill of race entry fees. In 2013, and I am done racing for the year, I spent $305 on two marathons, $110 on three half marathons, and about $80 on the many smaller races, and I run a number of those short races for free. That rounds to $500 just for the privilege to start the race. That does not include the gas, occasional hotel, shoes, clothing and food that I put into this. I could have Internet at home, instead I choose to pay for a race about every six weeks.
It is what it is. Every race has the no refund disclaimer. There are more expensive hobbies, just imagine if I did bicycle and triathlon racing!
Still, I really enjoy the $10 and $25 races for their honesty. I was not around when races were small, like they were in the 1970s. Perhaps that is part of the reason I enjoy racing the college kids so much still. There might only be 15 people in a 5k race, but the slowest person will run 16:40, and it only costs maybe $10.
Fast forward to today near the end of 2014, and my race entry fees paid this year amount to more than $575 and that's not counting all the travel, hotel in Cleveland, and a flight to Sacramento, California next weekend. I'll tell you what, I really enjoy this sport. I enjoy racing. I am thrilled to push myself to my limits. I'll keep paying the fees, even when they go up. I know that having a medical tent at the finish and drinks along the way are things that I just do not have in training and they enable me to push a little harder than I can ever do in training.