Okay, so today (11/11/11) the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series is offering a $20 discount on registration for (almost) all of their races. I'm not sure what the exceptions are, but I don't care and here's why: $60 for a half marathon is still a completely ridiculous price!
How in the world do people justify paying $80 for a HALF marathon in mostly forgettable places. For every Las Vegas, you have a St. Petersburg, Florida, not exactly a destination race. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. I would expect a complimentary new pair of running shoes for that price.
The branding of what used to be affordable, local races is causing prices to sky-rocket. Why people are willing to pay so much just for a name baffles me. Sure, I have the choice not to participate in any of these races and move on with my life but it still worries me that they're taking over and contributing to the trend of ever-increasing entry fees.
The other day I was looking through MarathonGuide.com in an attempt to find a new (cheap) marathon to enter. This proved to be a very difficult task. Nearly every single race I checked out costs $80. Okay, yeah, this is double the value of those $80 half marathons, but it is still too much. I understand that the prices in big cities need to be higher. There are a lot more resources needed to close off busy roads, shuttle people around, etc. BUT, I do not see the need for the high price in smaller races. It's like every race director now feels that the experience is worth $80. Period. Sorry, but no. That marathon in Gettysburg (yes, seriously, I checked out a marathon in Gettysburg just because I thought, "This one MUST be cheap") should not cost the same as one in New York or Chicago.
I just hope that nice, low-key races can survive the pressure to become huge, expensive extravaganzas. Not everyone needs (or wants) expos and sprawling crowds and GU at every mile.
After searching for quite some time, I came upon a $25 winter marathon in North Jersey that I'm considering. I'm not expecting any spectators or a fancy medal or even a timing chip and that sounds perfectly fine to me. 26.2 is 26.2 no matter what the price.