Friday, November 22, 2013

Maybe I'm Over It?

I used to run about four half marathons a year, plus usually one 10k, one 5k, and the grog and dog jog .  At the start of every race season, I'd feverishly register really early to get the best price. Then the first race would come around in early May, and I'd spend every subsequent weekend either running a race or training for one.  Don't get me wrong, I love running, but I'm really starting to wonder if I really want to bother registering for and running all these races.

Prices for half marathons range from $45-$100.  Even if I was getting the best price, I'd spend at least $300 on registration fees in a single year.  Sure you get a swag bag, a medal and a t-shirt, but I never really did anything with any of that stuff (I donate my medals and usually the shirts), and now I'm starting to wonder if I'm just over it.

I still love running, but it seems silly to spend so much money on something I can do for free.  I don't really need to motivation of a big race to get me out and moving, and honestly, I have no idea how to train properly and usually just run what I feel like running.  Usually on Thanksgiving, I run the Pie Run in the morning, which is a 5 mile race that benefits the Newport food bank.  A bunch of friends also do it, and it's usually really fun (and it's a much cheaper race than most).  This year I opted out, and a friend suggested that we just meet up at a park, map a route and run for free.  We're even still collecting non-perishable food items for donation, we're just saving ourselves $25 apiece.

Another gripe I have with a lot of the longer races is the fact that you don't know what the race registration fee is actually for.  In the case of the Pie Run, they tell you it's for the food bank.  In the case of the Rock and Roll race series (which is the most expensive half marathon ever), the money seems to directly benefit the Competitor Group, which is a private, for-profit group that seems to do nothing more than put on overpriced races where most of the work that people see is done by volunteers.

I still do like the challenge of training for a race and trying to beat my previous time, but I just don't feel like paying $60 for the privilege.  The past two years, I was able to bundle three races together and pay $100 for the bunch, which was a great deal, but this year, they jacked the price up to $160.  I know there's an expense involved with putting on a race of a certain size. You have to get permits, block off streets, pay police, but I also feel like there's just a lot of greed involved and it doesn't sit well with me.

So this year I think I'll skip the Cox Rhode Races for the first time in four years, even though they do have charities listed on their website.  Instead I'll do the Jamestown bridge race, which I've done every year since it started (a friend knows the race organizer personally and knows that she gives a lot of money to charity), and the Newport 10-miler to benefit the Fort Adams Trust: "A portion of proceeds from this event will benefit the Fort Adams Trust, a 501 (C) (3) non-profit with a mission to protect and promote the historic places and public spaces at the gateway to Narragansett Bay and Newport. This includes directing and supporting the stabilization, restoration, maintenance and operation of Fort Adams as a public historic site."

I can feel good about that.

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