This blog entry details my view on race and gear costs.
There are certain reasons for getting into a sport that we all have. I choose to run in large part because of its simplicity, and the connection it helps me to feel toward the environment. When I began running it cost me nothing. Doing so was a matter of taking the shoes I already had and then jogging / walking / jogging until I was satisfied. The birds were chirping loudly that morning, so I pretended they were cheering me on.
The memory of this idyllic first experience helps carry me through the wallet abusing process of race sign ups. Certainly, runs can be found that are inexpensive; $20 to run in a 5k, $35 to run in a 15k, and so on. Those local and fundraiser runs are what keep me going. It’s the big race days, the main events, that are wallet killers. Running in the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon can cost someone upwards of $135! Not cheap. But I do understand the service costs and logistics involved.
Gear and training are another consideration when thinking of more intense event races. A marathon and all of its training can knock nearly half of the life span off of your $100 plus running shoes with special insoles that you needed to be examined and fitted for. There are bottles, hats, glasses, hydration packs, activity trackers… Gym bags, and special clothing, and ointments, and gels, and the list can keep right on going. If you get really into that stuff, if you enjoy it; I can dig it. We all have our “thing.” It just piles up fast if you don’t spend smartly.
What you should keep in mind if you love running is that doing the thing is what is most important. If I can’t afford a race, I run my own circuits. When things get hard for me financially, I go down by the river, listen for the birds, and run. When things get hard for me emotionally, I walk out my front door and just go.
It is possible to run cheaply and feel fulfilled by doing so. I like to say that, as humans, we were made for it. Just get up and go.