A friend recently asked me how much it had cost me (total) to run the Las Vegas Marathon. I had a rough estimate in my head, but then I wanted to see the real expense for this race and so I started digging for receipts. The number that you will find further down below is pretty high, but I am sure depending on which race you run and what your home-base is that the cost can go even higher. I was actually a bit shocked when I saw the number. Partially based on the cost of travelling I am going to concentrate on (Colorado) local races for 2014 to keep the cost factor under control, but I am definitely considering one out of state race in fall – just have not decided which race I will go for.
How expensive was the Las Vegas Marathon for me?
I am going to use rounded number for my list of expenses where necessary to make it easier for everyone to determine how expensive the Las Vegas Marathon was for me. Also, keep in mind that registration fees vary depending on when you sign up for a race. Early Birds get discounted pricing, but early bird season is often way before you make a decision to run a race. I will also show a few tips about how to keep the cost of lodging or the cost for a rental car lower than expected.
Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Registration Fees | August 20, 2013
The actual registration fee was $165.00, but then the amount went up due to me donating some money to “The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America” and of course there was a “Transaction Processing Fee” which I consider extortion.
Lodging – Hampton Inn Henderson (Las Vegas) | 3 nights
I tried several hotel chains to find better pricing, but found this hotel (or Inn) to be the best solution. It came with breakfast included and also had everything I would need from a food/restaurant perspective in walking distance. I had picked this hotel when my plans still included flying to Las Vegas. The hotel is south of the Strip and since I drove in the end I would have picked a comparable hotel north of the Strip to save myself 20 miles of driving – which matters when you have to drive from Denver to Las Vegas and back.
Rental Car | Budget Rent A Car
I booked a midsize car for the trip from Denver to Las Vegas for several reasons. A strange thing was that this car was cheaper than the next size smaller. It still had great gas mileage to offer and an engine powerful enough to fly up drive up those mountains at high decent speed. I had a Ford Fusion as a rental car and really liked it. When I had planned of flying to Vegas I had actually made a reservation for a smaller car – something like a Ford Fiesta or Toyota Yaris, but that size of a car is not the right thing for a trip of 1600 miles. Tip Alert: I booked this car on Monday’s before heading out of town on Friday the same week. I re-booked the car on Tuesday and found it to be even cheaper. Also, I had reserved the smaller car in Vegas about 2 months before the race weekend. I actually had re-booked it on Monday before the race and the price was 35% lower. On that Monday I did not know if I had medical clearance to fly or if I would have to drive or cancel the entire thing completely.
Flight | United Airlines DEN to LAS
I ended up ditching the flight due to having no medical clearance for flying. Two weeks before the marathon I became sick and had an ear infection along the way which ruptured my left ear drum. I was hoping for United having the flight over-booked and to collect a travel voucher to recover some of my cost, but it did not happen and so I had to eat the cost for the flight. Usually this cost would have either not applied or the cost for the rental car would have been much lower (including the cost for gasoline). Ouch.
Running Shoes | 3 Pairs of Nike Pegasus 29
Pair #1 $63.86
Pair #2 $63.86
Pair #3 $67.00
I had just replaced my running shoes two weeks before I registered for the race and so I decided to add the cost to this list. All shoes were on sale due to the typical mid-year model change. I bought the “older” Nike Pegasus 29 instead of spending $30 or more per pair on the newer Nike Pegasus 30. While the second pair was technically still Ok at the race weekend, it already had over 200 miles of running and 30+ hours of Kosama Boot Camp style workout behind it. I wanted to run the race on fresh shoe and therefore needed the 3rd pair.
Nike Plus GPS Watch
I bought a GPS watch to keep track of my runs and the cheapest option without giving up on features turned out to be the Nike Plus GPS watch. This cost will not apply to other races and is a one-time investment that is good for future training runs and races as well.
Gasoline (total for the entire trip)
I drove over 1,700 and it pretty much comes down to $10 for every 100 miles that I drove. Considering that my pickup truck would have used twice as much gasoline for the same distance I am not going to complain.
Food (Trip only)
This is the cost from Friday morning until Monday night and also includes sports drinks (PowerAde) and Orange Juice for the race and/or carbo loading. The breakfast at the hotel was pretty good and each day I took a large bowl of Oatmeal with me to eat later that day. I had bought Einstein Bagels and ate those with cream cheese on Friday and Saturday – lots of carbs and it kept the cost under control.
While I had an older Nike Hydration Belt, it did not have room to carry a camera or a phone + it was bulky and heavy. I bought a Fitletic hydration belt 3 weeks before my trip and I bought two extra bottles during the Race Expo. The belt is almost perfect. I used on two 2 mile runs before the marathon and then took the risk and used it during the marathon as well. It sat perfectly around my hips and did not bounce whatsoever. I had two bottles filled with PowerAde and the 3rd bottle hold was holding my camera. This turned out to be a genius move and I will do it with this setup again on my next marathon. This is also a one-time investment and the cost would not apply to another race.
This cost item covers race and training fuel like GU Gels, Gatorade Chews, Sports Drinks, Recovery shakes, and whatever else comes to mind. This is the cost for about 76 days of training – I was out sick the last 2 weeks before the race and had only about 88 days of time between registering for the race and the actual race day.
I was actually really shocked when I saw the total tally for my very first marathon adventure. While there are some one-time expenses that will not necessarily happen the same way again, the cost is still pretty high if I would deduct those. My situation was certainly unique due to not being able to fly – which was a last minute change to my entire plan and I hope that something like this will never happen again, but the additional cost is there and I cannot make it go away. I would imagine that most out of state events will come with a similar total cost ($1,000 – $1,300) if I think about it. Shoes, race/training fuel, lodging, travel transportation – you don’t have a choice when you need to travel. With race fees being so high one has to become picky about which races to run. Even the local half marathon races have race registration fees going into the $100+ range in some cases. Running races has become big business and more and more companies and cities are jumping on the bandwagon – unfortunately we, the runners are paying the price in one way or the other.