Run With An Idea #2 Would you pay £50 to enter a 10K?

This is the second topic for the fortnightly Run With An Idea blogging and debating collaboration. If you missed the first set of posts about the Olympic legacy then you can check them out over here. The posts generated lots of debate and covered many different points of view – exactly what we were hoping for.

This fortnight’s topic is race entry fees – how much is too much? Would you pay £50 to enter a 10K?

The short answer to the second question is yes, I have paid £50 to enter a 10K race. It was the British 10K last year held in central London. It turned out to be the worst race I’ve taken part in from an organisational perspective and I would never run it again.

£50 is a lot of money to shell out to run 6.2 miles, so I’ve been thinking about what it was that made me sign up in the first place. Part of it was the fact that it was taking place in the Olympic year – they really hyped up that aspect of it. The race pack included a medal and two technical T-shirts – one a special commemorative one for 2012. The route was beautiful, through the heart of London. I was also looking for races to give me something to aim for post the London Marathon and thought this one fitted the bill. Somehow I justified to myself that it was OK to pay £50.

For all the reasons I covered in my blog post. I will never run that race again, to be honest I wouldn’t even if the entry fee was halved. It was just unpleasant and dis-organised.

Putting the British 10K to one side, race entry fees aren’t all about the price per mile from my perspective. Or even about the goody bag at the end. Some races offer something a bit different that makes me prepared to pay a bit extra. Take the National Lottery Anniversary Run for example. More expensive than your average 10K and it was only a 5 mile course, but offering something different from a standard race. I’m definitely prepared to pay a bit more for the chance to run into and around the Olympic stadium!


As a relatively slow runner I generally prefer bigger races, for the simple fact that I am less likely to be right at the back. Smaller races might on paper be better value but I really don’t enjoy being the last person home. Bigger races are without a doubt a better experience for me and I’m prepared to pay the premium associated with that.

There was a time when I’d first started running when I was entering races here there and everywhere. These days I’m focussing more on quality rather than quantity. Quality is of course a subjective matter but it’s something that I am prepared to pay for. So while I won’t be paying £50 to run a certain race again, I wouldn’t rule out paying that much again for a different 10K, but it would have to be offering something pretty different from the norm.

So over to you – would you pay £50 to enter a 10K – (by the way for my American readers that’s around $75 and for my Euro followers around 60E). How much is too much for you? Ever paid a lot to enter a race that you later regretted? Or found a race that offers great value for money? I’d love to hear your views.

16 thoughts

  1. I think there is a difference between someone who pays to enter a 10k because it has some special ingredient, like the chance to run in the Olympic Stadium versus someone who pays to enter a race just to enjoy running (not saying trhe fist category doesn’t enjoy running too). I think I am in the second category and wouldn’t particularly enjoy a race in the first catgeory and so would pay £50 for it. However i would pay a lot more than £50 to enter a well run event on very good course. For example the Blenheim Palace Tri entry fee was £80ish & the Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote entry fee is Euro 295. Blenheim was worth every penny….I’ll let you know about Lanzarote

  2. Sorry Becca….my previous comment should read: ” I think I am in the second category and wouldn’t particularly enjoy a race in the first catgeory and so WOULDN’T pay £50 for it” a small but crucial typo : )

    1. Ah – that makes more sense Peter! For me, I can enjoy running on my own or with friends but races are a totally different experience and that’s why I’m drawn to bigger ones or to ones with something different to offer. I think the prices for tris are a different matter – I’d expect to pay more – there’s more involved in the organisation of the event I’d imagine?

  3. Ahh such a shame that the British 10K was a disappointment (I’ve read other blog posts which say the same). I think I would pay up to maybe £25-30 for a 10k. There’s the Gloanna Yoga Run which I went to and is selling for £29 (but up to £45 for last minute tickets) and that’s for a 5k, but admittedly with an hour of yoga and free sushi & fruit brunch and champagne after I reckon that is reasonable value. At the end of the day I think it comes down to how much the marketing tempts me and if other running friends encourage me to do it 😉

    1. I’m doing the Gloanna Yoga Run in September and got an early entry. I think for everything that’s included it’s reasonable but I wouldn’t pay £45 for the last minute tickets. I agree with your point about marketing.The downside of that is of course that not all race organisers will have big marketing budgets to play with so perhaps we’re missing out on some great smaller events that don’t have the budget of the big boys.

  4. I totally agree with the quality over quantity…while right now its all about quantity to get my 13 races in, but once I am done, I really want to participate in races that mean something to me and I think that is participating in races that have other runners that are there to share the love of running. Those are some of my favorites, but hard to find!

  5. I completely agree that races aren’t necessarily about price per mile, but what that particular race means to you as an experience. There are some dirt cheap races that I have absolutely zero interest in racing, and others that I’ll have to bench until next year (or the year after) because, well, I have bills to pay. But I don’t regret a single race I’ve taken part in, because, as I’ve covered in my post, I’m more than happy to fork out what others might deem as ‘extortionate’ for an experience that I can look back on.

    1. I hadn’t really considered the associated costs in my assessment of races. This year we had a weekend in Edinburgh so that I could run the half marathon, a race which I absolutely loved. Overall that weekend cost us hundreds of pounds, but as you say the experience and the memories from not just the race but everything that went before and after will stay with me forever. I’d much rather fork out for one or two ‘destination’ races a year than run lots of smaller ones.

      1. Ha, I’m greedy so I’d much rather one or two destination races, and as many smaller, local races as I can afford. 🙂 Booking things WAY in advance makes things a lot cheaper as well.

  6. $75 seems a bit steep, but it’s pretty normal to pay $50 for a special 5K, like I’m doing a color run in August. And I donated to Children’s Hospital on top of that. So I guess it’s worth it.

    1. Color Run has just come to the UK and I’m sure it was pretty expensive here. I didn’t enter as I was busy that weekend but probably would have done if I’d been free – again, it’s something different from the norm.

  7. The B10kLR is an expensive race, and is badly organised. Not so much in terms of support stations or start/finish items, but in terms of getting people racing. It has improved markedly in the last 3 years I have run it, but the ongoing issue of a lack of ‘seeding’ for runners mean that where you start has a massive impact on how you can run, as a narrow course with 25,000 runners is already congested enough without the first wave being full of walkers.
    Last year I had the unpleasant racing experience of watching all the runners in front of me parting to run on the footpath and the central island, as thousands of people had to part for a group of 5 people walking arm in arm down the centre of the road. I have nothing against people who walk in races, for many people 10k is the furthest they will ever run and walking may be necessary. But 5 abreast on a narrow course is inconsiderate to say the least.
    However, I lined up again this year (charity place – so I avoided the £50 fee and swapped it for fundraising efforts instead), got there early so I was in the first wave, and was able to have a good race.
    Would I pay £50 for the B10kLR? Not now I’ve run it 3 times. But I would pay £50 to run a similarly prestigious race for the first time, especially if I built a race-cation around it…

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