Running Info / Thursdays Thoughts

Why I’m Not Signing Up

A while ago, I wrote about FOMO and how we need to take FOMO out of consideration when signing up for races. Today, I’ll be listing other reasons that I won’t be signing up for a race.

Why I'm Not Signing Up

1. Price

Guys, I have to draw a line somewhere. I’m not made of money! While I can justify a few once in a lifetime bucket list races such as NY but if it’s a local 5k/10k and the price is above $50, there’s a zero percent chance I’ll be willing to sign up. I tend to only sign up for a few goal races a year because it’s pretty hard to get me to part with my money. If I’m paying $100-$150 for a half marathon, there’s a good chance it’s be the only one (or one of two) I’ll race that year.

2. Location

Okay, I’m not going to name any names here but there are a bunch of races just outside the city which is great for those living there but they don’t offer race day kit pick up. While I don’t mind going slightly out of the way for a race (okay, I kind of do because I don’t drive but usually I can bum a ride), if it’s going to take me half a day to venture out of the city to get my race kit then I’ll probably skip it.

3. Hidden Fees

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not made of money. Little things like $5 processing fees to even sign up for your race is a deterrent. I understand that not all races can go through their own payment system but I rather not have to pay hidden fees. I’d even consider just wiring you money via PayPal to get around it!

4. Stretched too thinly with *swag*

If it’s a small race, I would prefer that instead of stretching themselves too thinly when it comes to swag, they should focus on one aspect. I really don’t care for medals or race shirts but I much rather have a good shirt than a poorly made shirt. Same goes for medals. I much rather have the cost of the race lowered if it means I won’t be getting an ugly top/medal. MEC is a great example of doing this well. They have $15-20 races with a bib, chip timing, no shirt, and no medal. Costs are low and they’re doing a great job holding efficient races.

5. Bad word of mouth

Runners talk – it’s a pretty tight community where words spread fast. If the race has had a bad reputation of treating the volunteers badly, bad on course support, lack of marshals, and other such no-no’s then there’s a good chance I’m not signing up (ahem, Toronto Marathon).

QOTD: What factors into your race decisions?


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32 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Signing Up

  1. I agree (though I must say, I actually really enjoyed the Toronto Marathon, I think the route is nicer than Toronto Waterfront Marathon, but my only complaint would be green bananas and no heat blankets at the end!! The medal is HUGE. the shirt was meh). But anyway, I am the same about cost for sure. I always like to have a race on the horizon, but that means I wont do some bigger races because of cost. Toronto Marathon was a big one this year, and then I have a couple 10Ks that I am doing with friends. But my upcoming half is the beaches jazz half marathon, which was a steal at $55!

    The MEC races are really good. I did one last year! No frills for sure, but a great community feel and the price cant be beat for a chipped race.

  2. I totally agree with you on the price factor. I see a lot of local, non-charity events in our city that are verging on $40-50 for a plain old 5k. For less than an hour of activity they just can’t fit into my budget. I realize a lot goes into planning and holding these events, but that’s a lot of cash, especially if you want to participate in multiple events.

  3. I agree with all of this! It’s really hard to get to races outside of the city because I don’t drive. This is why I coerce / recommend / sign up without consent my friends for races to do with me <3 hahaha

  4. Price is definitely a consideration in my race choices. I don’t mind paying a premium for an amazing experience or some unique factor/location. But like you said, when local short races are going up and up in price, you just can’t do every one that you’d like. I try to keep an eye out for social media giveaways to score some free ones 🙂

    • A race tried to make it so you HAD to pick it up (more foot traffic for vendors) and wouldn’t allowed others to pick up the kit for you and it did not go over well haha. Lots of emails asking permission for friends to pick it up for them.

  5. These are so true! I used to sign up for races like crazy, but now that I’m injured I totally see that it was all because of FOMO and I ended up with so many stupid race shirts that weren’t worth the money. I’m definitely not signing up for many races this year!

  6. I don’t sign up for a ton of races–usually 4-5 per year, and I really think before I do. One thing that I really don’t like is unisex race shirts. I know it’s superficial but if I’m paying to run, I don’t want a shirt that’s going right into the Goodwill bag. Since >50% of runners/racers are women, that shouldn’t even happen.

    • Same! I can only AFFORD 4~ a year! Haha. And I totally get it. The unisex tops are SO unflattering I don’t know why it’s even a thing.

  7. I am incredibly stingy when it comes to races–I don’t have a lot of money, I have a finicky body, and I just don’t usually feel the need to race over running. But I’ll still get FOMO every now and then.

  8. interesting opinions Carmy! I dont really enter races, but i know cost is a big one. My mom does them all the time and she has to budget in advance for how much they are! i would love to do a MEC race one of these days. i just need a kick in the butt to sign up

  9. I feel you on packet pickup and those signup fees. IMO I’d rather run a reasonably 5k or 10k with no medal than an outrageously priced one. Around here anyway, it seems like prices for the half distance have moderated. No more of this $100+ ridiculousness.

    • Same! Why pay $50+ for a local race that gives you nothing for the price when you could go out and run the same distance with some friends?

  10. I totally agree that it is so important to evaluate all the pros and cons before signing up. It’s okay to miss out on a race. That won’t take the joy out of running!

  11. I am with you… and add one more factor… weather. I hate signing up for something and then having to run in the rain… nope, not for me!

  12. Price is first for anything I do. Time of year would also be a factor for me. My first 5k was the end of March last year. Temperatures were below freezing. I just couldn’t stay warm! I think I’ll stick with the farmer’s market season for races (May-October).

  13. These are pretty solid reasons not to sign up! I was just talking with one of my running buddies about race shirts the other day. What’s the point of getting another cruddy t-shirt that doesn’t fit well? The only option is to donate it! Race costs are definitely going up, particularly for the really big, super popular races. I joined our local Road Runners Club because you can run a bunch of races for just the $40 annual fee. It’s a steal!

  14. This is great. I am also going to think more before I sign up for races. You are right they are pricey. I like running with a group but like my husband says all the time he never wants to pay to run!

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