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Greg's Running Adventures
An Ultramarathon Trail runner shares his adventures in the Southwest and beyond.  

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July 6 2012
Motivation and Race Fees

What motivates you to get off the couch and out the door for a run? Are you one of those i-pod runners who has Justin Barber or Iron Priest emanating from your ear buds? How about going to the gym to run on one of those treadmills? Does that inspire you to workout? 

I prefer the outdoors myself. Taking in some nature on a lonely trail somewhere is much more motivating than going to the gym. I enjoy listening to the birds and the yip of a coyote over Justin when I run. But what really motivates me to keep up my daily routine is to register for a race, pay the fee, and set a goal to finish it. 
Years ago I would try to get my friends to join me in signing up for a race and one would inevitably say, “why would I want to pay for a10K when I could just run 6 miles for free?” I would reply, “I don’t know, to get a free t-shirt?” Well, it’s not free if you have to pay for the race, is it! Nevertheless, there’s something about paying the money that commits you to train for the run.
In 2008, I ran the inaugural San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon, and although it was fun, in a 30,000 runners sort of way, I prefer low key trail running events in the backcountry. The R&R races are kind of like a rock concert, street party, and running event all rolled into one. (No i-pod needed.)

Race fees have become quite ridiculous in the last few years. The price for a R&R race is between $100-150 depending on how early you sign up. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the half or full distance, the price is about the same. Now if you do a little cipherin’, you will discover that that comes out to around $11.50 per mile for the half and $5.75 for the full marathon. Not a good deal, but at least you get to listen to 15 seconds of 40 different bands along the course. 
I may be turning into an old curmudgeon, but that is because I remember when you could fill up your gas tank and go to the movies for about 10 bucks. Stay me with me here; there is a reason I’m spewing all this nonsense (I think).

Perhaps you are the 5K charity supporter type of runner, so your fees are around $20-30 which comes out to about $8.00 per mile. Is that a good buy? Not really, but of course you are running for an excellent cause, and you can claim a tax deduction.

Frankfurt, Germany Marathon
The most expensive fee I have seen is for the Grand to Grand Ultra, a 160 mile, 6 day, unsupported stage race from the N. Rim Grand Canyon to the Grand Staircase National Monument. The fee is a whopping $3200, but includes a t-shirt. Whoopee! At $20 per mile, that is a terrible deal.

My first 50K trail run. 

By now you are probably wondering where the bargains are in race fees so I will tell you. 100 mile ultra marathon trail runs usually cost between $150-250 so that comes out to a mere couple of bucks per mile. Of course that does not include the price of 5 pairs of running shoes, anti chafing balm, gaiters, headlamp, vomit bags (leave no trace), sunscreen, bear spray, arm sleeves, moisture wicking socks, hydration pack, snake bite kit, knee brace, tourniquet, ibuprofen, compass, survival blanket, blister supplies and i-pod. —I-pod?

See you on the trail.

If you finish, you will get one of these.



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