Are Registration Fees Too High?

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Good morning! Happy Tuesday! I hope you enjoyed your Memorial Day and, hopefully, a few days off. If you’re just catching up now, here are my posts from the weekend:

So, my morning is all out of whack today. I never finished my Feel Great Weight post for next week, so I woke up super early to edit it. By the time I sent it to my editor, walked Murphy, and ate breakfast, it needed to boogie out the door to Body Pump, so I didn’t get a chance to drink my daily glass of iced coffee or publish my morning post.

I finally took my first sip of iced coffee around 10:00 AM, and it never tasted so good!

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Breakfast was a big bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, peanut butter, and chia seeds in the mix. I didn’t enjoy a glass of iced coffee like I normally do because we ran out, so I brewed a pot of coffee and then let it chill in the refrigerator while I was getting ripped at Body Pump.

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Last Night’s Dinner

Last night’s dinner started with Arnold Palmers (half iced tea and half lemonade) on the front porch with Mal while we scoped out potential summer and fall races on his laptop.

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A little while later, I reheated some leftovers from Sunday’s barbecue. I had a cheeseburger on a Bagel Thin with pickles, ketchup, and mustard. On the side, I had some corn on the cob.

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For dessert, I enjoyed some Edy’s Cappuccino Chip ice cream. Mmmmm!

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Mal and I almost signed up for the Providence Rock ”˜N’ Roll Half Marathon in August, but the registration is $105! Yowsahs! I guess we waited too long because now the registration fee is wicked expensive. The price will be lowered to $92 tomorrow because of National Running Day, but I still can’t bring myself to pay it. That’s a lot of money for a race!

I’m sort of bummed that the cost is deterring me from running it, but I still have some pretty awesome races on the agenda for this summer:


Question of the Day

What’s the most you’ve ever paid to register for a race? Has the cost of a race prevented you from running it?

P.S. Want to celebration National Running Day tomorrow? Here are some ideas: 10 Ways to Celebrate National Running Day!



  1. It takes a lot of money to put on a race – road closures are NOT cheap or easy to come by. Road races shorter than half marathons (the only ones I’ve done) seem to run in the $20-40 range, which is completely reasonable for everything the organizers have to pay for.

    And it’s cheaper than other sports. I’ve paid up to $150 for a single swim meet. Road races are a bargain.

  2. I have definitely stayed away from races because of high fees. There are some local 5ks that I would like sign up for but I won’t pay 30 bucks for a 5k!

    The most I’ve paid was 196 for the NYC Marathon this year. I’m hoping it’s worth it! I paid 100 for the NYC Half in March and it was totally worth it. The NYRRs know how to put on a great race. I felt totally taken care of for the half so I’m expecting the same from the full!

  3. I think the most I’ve paid is around 100. It’s not so much the race that I find expensive but all the traveling costs that come with the race. My hubby has helped me feel better about the $, he told me to think of it as a hobby… and all hobbies cost $. He spends way more fishing and hunting than I’ll ever spend on running 🙂

  4. I’ve never registered for a race (partially because of cost, partially because I don’t feel adequately trained), but yes, the cost is a huge turn-off. I understand that most races benefit a charity and therefore I don’t mind the registration fees, but as a writer on a tight budget, it does make it a little less appealing!

  5. It’s funny you posted this today, because just this past weekend I decided not to run a race because of the cost. There was a 5K in our area yesterday morning and Sunday night my bf and I talked about running it. I found it online and the registration was $25 a piece. Now, I may sound like a cheapskate because there are races that are SO much higher, but I just felt that dropping $50 to run 3 miles on a whim was silly.

  6. I’ve only ran one race ever, but I could imagine how expensive its starting to get for you.

    Do you honestly think that all the races are really worth the price you pay? Or do they try to hike it up because its popular or it has a popular sponsor?

  7. I paid $170 for the Chicago marathon (coming from Canada, so I pay the international price) and $135 for the Nike Women’s Marathon. But for those I get to travel so I consider it part of the cost of my trip! However I have spent over $500 on race fees along this year and it’s only half-way through the year – only 3 races are still to come and pre-registered for! Yikes! But to me it’s worth it, it’s fun and gives me something to look forward to and work towards!

  8. i paid $85 for the philly half (philly half and full marathon is notoriously high!), but it’s my first one, so i went with it. that was the early price, and i think it gets up as high as $125 if you wait, so i made sure to do it early. i also paid $125 for my sherox triathlon registration (philly again being one of the more expensive courses…no idea why), but i figure i get 3 races out of it, so im cool with it. i definitely think races are very expensive, which is why i dont do very many. i would love to race more, but i literally cannot afford it!!

  9. Unfortunately, it seems like the top tier races are getting more and more expensive, and I really think they’re jacking up the prices to compete with each other. The Competitor Group (who puts on Rock N’Roll) is trying to compete with Disney, NYC, and the other BIG races. The early registration discounts do help some, but yes, it adds up!

  10. I think race registration has gotten ridiculously high. I understand they feel the need to hike up the prices because of popularity – particularly the rock n roll ones, but alas I’ve not run them because I feel like it’s a lot of money, on top of travel to the location, and hotel stay, and food. It adds up! it’s one of those things where i think they’re taking advantage of the fact that some races are so popular, so they can hike up the fees. I think it needs to be a balance between cost and how much it really cost to provide water, gatorade, post race fuel, and t-shirts.

  11. I would run more races if they didn’t cost so much. I understand the need for charging money, but $50+ for a race just seems like too much. (unless it is a full marathon, then $80-100 seems ok to me). I’m a cheapskate, what can I say?

    The most I have paid is $90 for a marathon, and that was only because we registered early. The most I’ve paid for other races was $65 for a 10 mile which was really steep in my opinion.

  12. Races are so expensive and I honestly don’t understand why. I’d just rather not get a t-shirt most of the time. I know it’s a good souvenir but I’d rather buy one from lulu with that much money!

  13. Yes I have not run races b/c of the entry fee. Sorry that for hubs and I to run a joint “fun little 5k” in our area, we are not paying $40 each or whatever it is, give or take, for a half hour of running. We can throw kiddo in the stroller and go run on our own and save almost $100 after you consider parking fees, too.

    It’s not the same when you run on your own vs. run a race, and there’s a different mentality between “going for a run or a jog” vs “racing mentality” and you posted about that last week…but I cannot justify most race prices.

    Especially at $100 a pop. I’d rather buy a Kitchen Aid Stand mixer or a camera lens 🙂

  14. Race fees are really expensive! I think the most I paid was $125, and am looking at a few races that are around $75. I know it takes a lot of money to put them on, but I also think there are some extra costs (like having an option to get the t-shirt or not) that they could cut down on.

  15. i’ve never paid more than $80 for a race (and it was an awesome half marathon!) and wouldn’t want to pay much more. i rarely run 5ks anymore because of the cost. i don’t feel like i get enough “bang for my buck” when i’m paying $25 – basically a $1 a minute to run!

  16. ah you’re running the boilermaker?! how awesome, my dad used to do that for years… back before i was running. i hear you on race fees, definitely hurting this year, tri’s aren’t cheap!

  17. I paid $140 for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. It was totally NOT worth it.

    I’ve ran races that were better organized, had better goodies, and were way more fun. So, that stopped me from doing it again this year.

  18. The cost of a race has definitely deterred me from signing up from races. There was recently a 5K where I live with a registration fee of $65!!! It all went to a great cause, and I knew some girls from work running it, but there’s no way I can shell out that kind of cash for a 5k, no matter how cute the tank/tshirt is or how pretty a finish line necklace is! I hate that I do this, too, but lately I’ve found myself suggesting other races to my husband instead (he’s looking at doing another marathon, and there’s one with a much higher registration fee than another — in my defense, we’re on a really tight budget and he also wasn’t too fond of the more expensive race’s course when he did it last year!)

    I guess I’m just cheap. Running is (mostly – aside from shoes, really) free. So why turn it into such an expensive hobby?

  19. I am always appalled at the cost of race registration fees! I was able to sign up for the Providence Half a few weeks ago when they had $13 off their registration fee if you registered on the 13th of the month. Even then, it was still really expensive!!

  20. While that does seem like a lot to pay for a race; I’ve done one of the Rock n Roll half’s before (Vegas) which cost $145 and I would do it again at that price! Why? Because the expo was AWESOME (tons of vendors and free samples to taste there or take home) and I got to meet Mark McGrath there! Plus the post-race refreshments were great also…bananas, granola bars, full size bottles of Cytomax (like gatorade), yogurt, etc…

  21. I don’t blame you for not registering due to the price. My hubby and I were going to do a 10K this past weekend but it would have been $50 for the two of us. I can think of much better ways to spend $50 (like a nice, romantic dinner). We can run 6 miles at home without paying a cent and then treat ourselves:)

  22. When it comes to (most) half marathons and full marathons the price doesnt detour me much (especially if local), however anything over $90 for a half is pushing it for me.

    I dont run a lot of races under 10K anymore because of cost. Like Julie at PBF, $1 a minute to run? When I can run for free outside my own door? I dont care about tshirts in those shorter races either, i give them away to charity, and unless I am going to win or place in my AG (not gonna happen)…well you see my point.

  23. The local 5K races went up to $25 recently, and I’m just not willing to pay that much to run a 5K. I’ll run a few this summer, but $25 really adds up after a while.

    The most I paid was for the Disney Marathon, and it was around $125.

  24. I’ve never actually run a race because I literally can’t afford the fees! $105 though, is nuts. For that, they’d better be handing out water in crystal goblets along the route 🙂

  25. Race prices can definitely deter me from entering. I am new to racing.. but the highest registration fee that I’ve paid is $65 (orginally 90..but running a special) for a Breast Cancer walk I am doing in Boston this summer.. 60 miles.. 3 days. The regitration fee wasn’t too bad.. but to actually participate, you MUST raise 2300. I am actually holding a Blogger Bake Sale next week to raise some money for my team! 🙂 Any intrest in baking a goodie?

  26. The races I have done here in Texas never seem that expensive! I think the most I paid was for my half-marathon, and it was around $60! That was definitely the peak of what I’m willing to pay…..but cute t-shirts get me every time 🙂

  27. Yea, I noticed the prices jumped a lot this past year. Lately, it seems that $125 is the new norm for half marathons. You’re basically buying your own swag. Now I just choose my races wisely. I cringe when I think of how much I’ve spent on entries, flights, hotels and gas over the years. Eek!

  28. Rock and Roll Seattle (for my first half!) was $105 as well. AND now I have a stress reaction/fracture in my hip and can’t run it – or run at all, or wear heels, or walk for more than a mile. AND I can’t get a refund or apply it to a future race. Anybody want to be me 6/25?

    Sorry Bitter table for 1?

  29. I paid a lot for the OBX half marathon last year- I think close to $100. My justification was that I stayed with friends and really didn’t have much in the way of expenses that whole weekend except the actual race. It ended up being worth it, because it was a fun, well-organized race. I hear ya though, it’s hard to justify the expense! I know a guy that won’t pay more than like $40 for a race (including a marathon). Good luck with that buddy…

  30. YES! Rock and Roll Marathon series races are ridiculously expensive. Not to mention when they roll into town, the hotels jack their prices up. It was impossible to find a hotel in Nashville for less than 300 bucks during RnR country music marathon.

    I like to pay 15-20 for a 5K, 25-30 for a 10K, 40-50 for a half and up to 75-80 for a full.

    My wife has looked into triathlons…now THAT is another story…EVERYTHING costs more when you get into tri’s.

  31. I’ve definitely been turned off by the high registration prices. If the race is a charity event, then I understand, but otherwise, more than $50 for a race is pretty insane. They’d better be giving out some Lululemon gear for that cost!

  32. I think $105 is a lot for a half. I don’t usually run 5Ks anymore because they can be expensive and it really adds up! I’d rather save up for some longer races, and pick and choose ones I really want to do. Like Julie said earlier, $1/minute to run? Seems crazy, especially when you can do it on your own time for free.

  33. some race fees seriously kill me. I think the most I’ve paid for a full marathon is 200 for NYC. I’ve definitely never paid almost 100 for a half and I’m not sure I could! Triathlons are even worse…my full iron was 600. It kills me but I love racing so much I just can’t help myself!

    I usually can justify high race fees if it’s a really amazing race (like NYC marathon), or if I have a ton of friends doing it or if it’s local and I know my only expense will be the race fee.

    See you at Mini 10k so soon!

  34. I ran the Boston Marathon through a charity team this year which meant raising $3,000 for the team I was running for. It is an absolutely amazing cause and in no way did I mind raising the money but I still had to pay the $300 entry fee for the race itself. Yikes! It was a wonderful experience and I know Boston is a HUGE deal but it was a really expensive 26.2 miles for a 21 year-old college girl 🙂

  35. I really wanted to sign up for that race too but the price is way too much! I’ve paid about $60 for a marathon (a small one in Maine). The most I ever paid in relation to how many miles I ran, was $50 for a 5k. But all of the money went to benefit cancer research. I ran in my grandmother’s honor.

    I think between $20-$40 is ok for a race.

  36. I totally agree that running is a hobby, and hobbies cost money! Just sometimes, I do feel a bit apprehensive about paying the registration fees. I am a student, so sometimes parting from my grocery money is a tough battle! But I always try and plan ahead and do early registration to at least save a bitttt of money whenever possible.

  37. 65 was the most I paid and it was for a half marathon. Philly’s RocknRoll is 85, but my work is putting a team together so they’ll cover the cost for that (hooray!). The price can definitely make me think twice about a race. I love races and running, but I can’t skip my bills!

  38. If It’s a half or a full, I think the registration fees being expensive makes a little more sense. I just paid $50 for a half and I’m okay with it, considering the training and everything that goes into it. However, I also paid $30 for a 5K race the other weekend that I totally regretted! It didn’t even come with a shirt! I think 5K’s should be more around $15. There were a ton of little 5K and 10K races that I wanted to do this summer but I didn’t simply because $25 or $30 adds up!

  39. That ice cream flavor sounds fantastic and has gotten me super excited for my bday cake this Saturday: brownie cake with one layer Choc chip ice cream and another layer of coffee ice cream!

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