Are running fees getting outrageous?

I went to Toby’s over a MOA to signup for the upcoming Run United 1. I learned that you could actually signup for the entire trilogy and the marathon and get a 10% discount.   I was more than surprised to find out that the cost of joining the marquee events—the Run United 1 21K, the Run United 2 21K, the Run United 3 32K, and the marathon—would cost P5,400, discount included!

Comparing the fee for joining this year’s Run United 1 vs last year’s Run United 1, with the percentage increase in parenthesis:

500m – 350 Php vs 250 Php (40%)

5KM – 700 Php vs 600 Php (16.67%)

10KM – 800 Php vs 600 Php (33.33%)

21KM – 900 Php vs 750 Php (16.67%)

Not surprisingly, there are a number of runners who have reacted to the price increases.  Sampling a few from popular running sites Pinoyfitness and Takbo.ph:

Kaya ba hindi maipost ang reg fee kasi alam nilang maraming magrereact negatively?? Kung totoo man ito, goodluck Runrio and to your future running events! Sana sabayan kayo ng Hyundai Free Run LOL 

susko! sobra mahal naman ng registration
ano na nangyayari sa Runrio?

“Running for Love” pa rin ba kung ganito na ang trend sa mga races? kakalungkot ang pagtaas ng reg. fee, sana ma-justify naman ng runrio at unilab kung bakit kelangan magtaas. i dont know kung runner pa nga si coach or businessman na…

Balita ko multi millionaire na si coach rio. Ang laki agad tinaas ng 21k…Fellow runner should care about a fellow runner and must not make enormous profit out of them.

Mahal ng 21K ngayon compare last year RU3. Bukod sa nag tataasan ang bilihin eh magpapakasal na si Coach Rio (balita ko this year). Bubuo na sya ng pamilya kaya intindihin nyo na lang si coach.

Parang hindi na naman magiging masaya ang takbo na ito.  Parang naglalagay na naman ng BARRIER sa mayayaman at mahihirap na runners. PAREPAREHO LANG TAYO TUMATAKBO! HINDI KO MAINTINDIHAN ANG ESSENCE NG RUNNING NGAYON. WALA NAMAN ITONG BENEFICIARY NA PUPUNTAHAN. TAKE NOTE : PINAGHIHIRAPAN NAMIN TALAGA NAMIN ANG PERA NA KINIKITA. HARD EARNED MONEY PORTION LANG NITO ANG NAPUPUNTA SA RECREATION GUSTO NAMIN MAKABULUHAN LAHAT. THERE IS NO “WIN WIN” HERE. WE ARE VERY SORRY DUN NA LANG KAMI SA MURANG TAKBO NA MAY PATUTUNGUAN. SALAMAT PO.

And I guess they still haven’t heard the news of how much the other Run United races are:

  • Run United 2 21K – 900 Php
  • Run United 3 32K – 1200 Php
  • Run United marathon – 3000 Php

Yup, the Run United marathon costs more than double that of Condura.

And yes, sadly, even if I lament on the rising cost of registration fees, I still joined the entire trilogy, taking advantage of the 10% discount and forking out a total of P5,400.  Why? Because admittedly their races are well-organized.  They provide plentiful hydration stations.  They start on time.  They provide medical facilities. They have marshals that take care of traffic.  I am assured that, if I join any runs that are organized by Runrio’s, all my peripheral needs are taken care of and I can focus on the running.

But there are questions in my head.  And I know there are people who are asking the same things.  Has there be a significant price increase of water? Are city officials asking for more money for police escorts and traffic re-routing? Are there less sponsors?  Are there less runners?

There’s an old Peanuts cartoon strip that had Lucy charging 5 cents for psychiatric advice.  When Charlie Brown asked her why she as charging 5 cents, Lucy answered “It’s what the market will bear.”  Is that what Runrio is doing, pricing it at a seemingly outrageous level because people are flocking to their events?

Popular runner/blogger Noelle de Guzman wrote that she  “cannot simply sit back and accept the price increase in registration fees.”  She is calling on Coach Rio’s promised discussion of the registration fees at the upcoming Run United press conference.  “I have him on record inviting interested runners and bloggers including myself to send him a personal message for inclusion on the press conference’s guest list.”

So what to do?  Do we just accept that this is how things are?  Here are a few suggestions I thought of:

1) Patronize other races.  There are other less-costly options out there.  For example, there is the Yakult 10-mile run that costs P450, way cheaper than that of Run United.  Let your wallet do the talking!  And if these organizers aren’t greedy and don’t subscribe to the “whatever-market-will-bear” pricing strategy, then there is a chance that they’ll even lower the cost as more runners join!

2) Support races that are organized by non-profit organizations.  People probably wouldn’t mind paying a high registration fee if the proceeds go to a charitable cause.  Moreover, some charity-oriented organizations think creatively to avoid charging high costs. The ACED Run to Feed event, for example, advises runners to bring their own water bottles.

3) Speak up. Voice out your concerns.  Make your position known in running forums.  Put it in your Facebook status or your Twitter feed.  Post your comment in blogger sites that share the same view.  And if you have your own site, write about it and encourage others to comment as well.

And if you are a corporate sponsor organizing a run, why don’t you foot the bill? Stage a free run run event and charge it to your marketing budget!  Hyundai did this last year and it was a highly successful event. I wonder though whether this translated to higher car sales, though, but it did bolster brand awareness!

What are your thoughts?  Do you thing registration fees are getting outrageous?  Leave a comment below!

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9 thoughts on “Are running fees getting outrageous?

    • Tweeted Noelle a while back and she mentioned that the discussion between Coach Rio and herself will be Saturday (tomorrow). Hope she does share the results of the discussion.

  1. I also grab the 10% discount. Sub total of 6000 less 600 over all expense for RU1 – 21K, RU2 – 21K, RU3 = 32K and last the Phil. Marathon 3000 pesos… Staff told me on each event it came with a runners basic needs… RU1 – Race Bib Holder… no idea for the rest 3 events… what ever reason. surely public will know and see how this sudden changes affects the events and sealed the holes Runners BIG ?

  2. would like to share ds guys…here is what UNILAB had to say regarding their registration fee incease:

    Thanks for your feedback but we believe we offer more to the runners. Our run is more organized, we give more freebies, and we have a more robust ActiveHealth Village. 🙂

    We are aware of what’s being said in Takbo and PinoyFitness and we appreciate the feedback of the runners. Several recalibrations have been developed with the race organizer this year that resulted to an increase in registration fees. Some of these adjustments include better hydration services, new race routes with improved safety and security support for the runners, a more exciting ActiveHealth Village, and race bib holders for the participants. We are confident that just like previous runs, we will be able to provide a great experience for the runners of RU12012. 🙂

  3. I fear that Milo will also increase their reg fees just because Runrio also organizes its event. Oh god, please, NO. I intended to complete the RU trilogy this year, but upon seeing the reg fees, no way I’m putting my hard earned money on that money making machine. RU doesn’t have anything special to offer considering their events happen thrice a year with the same old running route. I’ll easily drop this from my running list. Runrio should just change their slogan to *Running for Love….. of money!*

  4. hi solo running, please give us a blow by blow account of what happened in the open forum/discussion? were you able to talk to coach rio about the issue?

  5. haven’t joined any races lately, but I have to admit that the fees had significantly increased over the last 3-4 years since the boom. not really a fan of runrio events, though have joined in some in the past, but I have to admit it’s really well organized (save for that really cheesy theme song!) and you don’t have to worry about hydration or safety. then again, sometimes you have to think, if its really worth spending that much money on these races. of course, hardcore runners would always say it’s the passion that counts. but for ordinary mortals who just want to enjoy the sport, is it really justifiable? seems its like a “build it and they will come” mentality

    whatever happened to other race organizers/events like rudy biscocho? or that botak running event; remembered attending one in 2009 and was really good.

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