Race Prices

You may have noticed a new addition in our race listings - we now have the option to include price information. Over a thousand future listings have been priced up, which I hope will be useful to you all.

As well as letting you scope out individual events, it also illustrates a broader picture. How does your local race stack up against the rest in terms of price?

In a picture that will evolve as our database builds, here are a few quick graphs that show the typical prices for common race distances.

5k Races

Despite omnipresent parkrun, it seems that there's still an appetite for 5k races. There are plenty of well-established and highly-respected 5k events that offer certified distances, and a chance to step out of the closet and race. Average cost = £12.19

10k Races

The most popular race distance in our database is 10k - for many people it's the natural progression after they've moved from couch to park. Average cost = £16.00

Half marathon

As race distances increase, so too does the requirement for infrastructure. Road closures, water stations, roaming marshals, health and safety, goodies and mementos - they all contribute to rising costs. If you're looking for a bargain, off-road and/or multi-lap events are worth thinking about - and do you really need that t-shirt? If you want the bling and the big city experience, be prepared to shell out to help pay for the disruption. Average cost = £23.72


The pinnacle of distances (until you get there, and realise there are hills beyond) requires the biggest investment from organisers and competitors alike. With runners taking at least two hours, and often in excess of seven hours to complete the distance, there are plenty of legitimate reasons for increasing the cost. Of course, every organiser would like to generate a bit of profit (or at least avoid a loss) - but the cost per mile for the average marathon is actually less than for shorter distances. Average cost = £31.95

Look beyond the norm

If you're looking for an interesting race experience that doesn't conform to the soap opera stereotype, look to either side of the vanilla peaks in those graphs. At the extreme ends of the spectrum, you can run a marathon for a fiver, or pay over £50 for a 5k! Use our race finder to see if you can find them.

If you enjoyed this article, share it with your friends, and leave a comment to let us know your experiences of races that have proven to be excellent value for money.

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  • Excellent work! Personally, I mostly run local trail races which are never more than about 5 (well, there is one which is between 5 and 10 but you do get a ploughman's and a pint for that) and my personal preference is for races where it feels as though it is all about the experience of the run, and not about making a commercial profit, or raising funds for charity, or posting pictures of yourself on social media. If people want that then, fine, you pays your money and you makes your choice. Can't help thinking the pendulum has swung too far when I see the prices of some races, though.
  • Good info gathering there Fetch. What proportion of races have you got prices covered for now? How much are Tris, by comparison? :-) G
  • Interesting. Non-runners always make me laugh when they don't know that we actually pay to enter races and how much!

    5km always find difficult to pay for, when you can get a weekly free parkrun
  • If they have to close the roads the cost escalates. I just ran the inaugural Airshow Ayr 10k, the cost was 27 but there were loads of prizes.
  • I heard from a race organiser that the biggest cost is actually toilets. We all say we want more of them, but do we want to pay enough for our entries to get the number we want?
  • If I'm getting a marathon for 40 or less I'm happy - over half of my marathons this year 20 ish are double that - we are so very lucky in the UK that races are so cheap :)
  • It's not about the cost for me, it's about the value. 50 for a race with plenty of port-a-loos, full medical cover, chip timing, plenty of marshals, UKA licence, etc etc is better value than 30 for a race with little or no infrastructure.
  • There are different racing runners though. Your three times a year recreational runner. Your slow club runner who doesn't want to run with the sweep car following them. The elite 20 races a year addict. For all of these I would recommend different races. A newbie might enjoy the 'event' as much as the race. If they want something that is expensive but Instagram friendly then fair play to them - whatever gets people running. In an aside, I've got to find a 5k to race because the parkrun isn't a race and so doesn't count in the club awards. Oh well!
  • I'm putting together the 2017-18 South Wales Winter Fell Series Timetable and of 8 races it goes
    1 One
    2 One
    4 Two
    5 Four

    I see over 10 for a road 5K and sigh.
  • The Pound symbols were stripped from the numbers that were meant to be prices above.
  • Excellent analysis. Horses for courses, naturally. There's a competitive market out there for some races. I'll be paying 100 for a race that I'll enter this Friday, and it'll sell out in four minutes flat, with lots of money also raised for charity (it's still only 2 a mile mind you). Conversely, many hill races are as cheap as chips. And I'd be happy to fork out for a big city event once in a blue moon as a running holiday with thousands of others.

    Spot on with the comments too - and we are spoilt to have such a great choice of different races at different prices.
  • interesting, but there is a vast range of prices, GSR 10m @ 41, Swindon Half at 34 + booking fees and I believe VLM was 34 or 36...... I suppose its down to race success and what people are prepared to pay.
  • My most recent race was the Isle of Wight half marathon and that cost 13 - I was a bit in shock at the fantastic price. :-) There are good bargains out there, you just have to hunt around.
  • Interesting how cheap fell races are by comparison - but we're mostly expected to piss behind a tree :-)
  • Here's our race costs broken down for a recent 10 mile race.

    Race Licence -27
    Road Closure Application -150
    Online Admin Fees (Run Britain) -266
    Postage -288
    Hire of other equipment -500
    Medical Cover -485
    Running Numbers -188
    Portaloos/ Marquees -600
    Prizes -340
    Memento -1,500
    FINISH Gantry -75
    Race Officials -25
    Other Race Costs -300
    Race Costs Total -4,744
    We charged 13 so that's 365 runners to break even .
  • That's a very interesting list Steve - thanks for sharing. It was surprising to see that the post-race goodies amount to nearly two fifths of the cost. Without any mementos or goodies, it'd be 224 runners @ 13, or 291 @ 10. I wonder what proportion of runners are in it for the goodies? And following on from that, whether it would work out to offer two prices for goodies and non-goodies?
  • Regarding goodies: I really like the Kingston Breakfast run's approach where you got to grab one 'goodie' - be it a mug, water bottle, medal etc. I always mention it in race blogs despite the fact the more races I've done the less I care about the tat they pawn off on you afterwards.

    I'd really like to see the same breakdown for Go-Tri, Super Sprint, Sprint, Standard, Half Iron & Iron Distance triathlons.
  • Race Memento has always been an issue for me personally. Lots of demand for these things from newer runners and those progressing through the distances but I believe less demand from others. In many ways it's like the child's party bag- pain in the arse to organise, most of it gets thrown away but no parent wants to be the one who says no . Bottom line is that in this example, the race is 3 more expensive as a consequence based on 500 entrants, money which could either be saved by the entrant or to increase the money raised given to a worthy charity cause . At the end of the day you don't get much memento/goody ' for 3 either !
  • Nice work, I'm quite easy about paying whatever the race costs-I do think that with so much use of online entry (with credit card payment) we should be moving away from the blanket 'no refund' policy
  • Nice work. I can confirm that toilets are the biggest cost.
  • It would be interesting to see how the price varies for each type of race. Our local fell series is either 5 or 6 quid per race, whether the distance is 1.5 miles or 12 miles. I've run ultra's for 25 quid. Personally, I weigh up each race on it's own merit and decide if it is worth the entry price.
    I'm always amazed at how many people will shell out for the high profile, expensive events. I often think, you know the same distance run in the neighboring town is a tenner?
  • I still remember the days when average cost was about 1 pound per mile. Mind you, those were also the days when nearly every race you could turn up and enter on the day, rather then having to set your alarm clock to get your entry sorted in the first hour after online opening.
    Most of my favourite races are ones that don't fit into the above specific categories. Fitting a race around a nice course works so much better than constraining a course into a preset distance.
  • What I don't like is the 'hidden costs' of race entries such as charity events! I don't mind paying 20 for a 5k or 10k if some of the money goes to the charity - but the many of these races/ runs also include a sponsorship form where you are required to raise a minimum amount (100, 200 or more) - if you don't collect this amount you may be required to make up the difference! :-(
  • I'd love to see a break down of how/why Tri's are so expensive. It is one of the key things that puts me off doing Tri's at all. Even Duathlons are a lot cheaper. Clearly swimming, even in a lake, is very expensive!
  • I was minded to have another look at this blog after something I saw on the Book of Faces tonight. Locally to me someone is offering a guided sunday long run (20 miles) in the build up to spring marathons.... at 25 a head. Given the average cost for a marathon entry is under 32, I find that a little hard to get my head around. I've met the guy, ran with him (for free), and he seems a top bloke... but jeez!
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