As excited as I am about going for my Disney Coast to Coast medal this year, the Disney races are probably not going to be a regular occurrence for me in future years. They are too expensive. The 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon has recently taken the honor of being the the most expensive race for which I've ever registered.
Here are my current three medalists in that category:
1. 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon: $195 plus $13.18 in service fees
2. 2013 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon: $175 plus $11.85 in service fees
3. 2012 Chicago Marathon: $150 flat
These amounts are definitely at the very top end of what I am willing to shell out for a race. Especially the Disneyland Half. When I clicked on the "Confirm Your Payment" button, I think I literally said "ouch" out loud.
I am certainly willing to pay a premium for a Disney race, a World Marathon Major, or a unique experience like, say, running on the Las Vegas Strip. I am also more willing to pay a premium for a race if its proceeds go towards a charitable cause that means a lot to me.
Comparatively, if I'm running a more "everyday" race, I have a considerably lower limit on registration fees.
I will go ahead and quantify here. My two most-commonly raced distances are the half marathon and the 5K. For races that take place in the city of Chicago, my upper price limits would be roughly $80 for a half marathon and $40 for a 5K, respectively, inclusive of any service fees. Those amounts are not just for any old race, either - they would only apply to races that I really want to do. (For example, I'm personally not into mud runs, color runs, foam runs, etc.)
On a related note, I dislike when races tack service fees on top of their publicized registration rates. I always got irritated when airlines published amazing fares, but then when you went to book something you'd find out that the published fares didn't include a few hundred extra dollars in taxes and fees. It felt a little like this:
Last Friday was my most recent registration service fee surprise incident. I found out that my company is offering an employee discount to the Chicago Spring Half Marathon. I thought, what the heck, this race is logistically easy and the date works well in my calendar. I went to sign up, and found out that my employee discount would be negated almost to the penny by previously unmentioned registration service fees. Ugh.
Personally, I would really prefer that race organizers build any service fees into their published rates. Yes, it's psychological. But I don't like those surprises during the registration process. Just be straight with me upfront!
And with that, I will get off of my soapbox.
Your turn! What are the most expensive races you've done? How much are you willing to pay for a race? And how do you all feel about additional registration service fees?