Why Running in the Boston Marathon Will Cost You Thousands
This year, the Boston Marathon is taking place on Monday, April 18. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA), which is hosting the event, reports that the marathon is expected to be a big moneymaker for the city, bringing in approximately $188.8 million in spending impact to the greater Boston region.
That’s great news for the city of Boston. However, running in the marathon doesn’t always guarantee a huge payout for runners who participate in the race. Yes, there are cash prizes as high as $150,000 for the winners — but the fact is some runners might not win enough money to offset the high costs that come with running in the Boston Marathon.
If running in the Boston Marathon is a goal of yours, keep these four major expenses in mind — and find out why you’d better start saving now.
1. Boston Marathon’s Registration Fees
The Boston Marathon is limited to runners who meet the infamously stringent qualifying time limits based on age and gender. United States residents had to pay a $180 registration fee this year, while international runners paid $240.
Runners who don’t qualify under the time limit might be able to participate through a charity. According to CharityTeams.org, some organizations make you agree to raise at least a few thousand dollars for their causes in order to run on their teams — “some [fundraising minimums] are $5,000 and others are $7,500 or more,” states the organization on its website. Therefore, if you’re thinking about running next year, you better get a head start on a strategy for obtaining donations.
Also, some charities do charge additional processing and application fees along with the minimum fundraising amount. But on the bright side, those donations might be tax deductible.
2. High Cost of Flights to Boston
JetBlue is the 2016 Boston Marathon’s official airline — but that doesn’t necessarily mean your airfare will be cheap. There has been no news about JetBlue offering any travel deals or airfare discounts specifically for the Boston Marathon.
So, runners will need to budget for their flights accordingly as prices can get high. For example, a quick search on JetBlue’s website found that flying from Los Angeles to Boston on April 16 and returning to LA after the race on April 19 might set you back approximately $636.
But of course, not everyone is traveling from LA to Boston. According to the latest data available from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average domestic airfare for Boston is approximately $365.
3. Boston Hotel Room Prices
If you’re a runner who’s taking the race seriously, you’ll need a good night’s rest. But how much are you willing to pay for it?
Marathon Tours and Travel is the Boston Marathon’s official travel agency this year. According to the BAA website, the agency was once offering many hotel deals in the area. But, it seems that it’s too late to book a hotel room online through the agency for one person from April 16 to April 19 — you’ll find that the online tool is unable to locate available rooms when you enter this information.
However, a quick search of Boston hotels on Priceline.com shows that room prices range from as low as $75 per night to as high as nearly $700 per night. And as the race gets closer, it’s likely these hotel costs can go up even more.
4. The Cost of Preparing for the Boston Marathon
Running is free — and surprisingly cost-efficient in the long term. But if you need a little help, there are marathon training resources available for a price.
According to a 2015 article by RunnersWorld.com, a running coach can cost $50 to $200 per month. Of course, the running coach you hire might charge significantly more or less than this. But using the $200-per-month fee as an example, training for the Boston Marathon 22 weeks in advance — which is how long the BAA’s Boston Marathon training plan is for all four levels — could cost roughly $1,100 if you hire a running coach.
A much more affordable way to train for the Boston Marathon is to search for free online resources, such as downloadable training plans. For example, you can download Nike’s marathon training plan for free.
In addition to training, you’ll also need the proper equipment, especially running shoes. RunnersWorld released its 2016 spring shoe guide, and the winner of its “best buy” category is the Fresh Foam Zante v2 from New Balance. If you were to buy these shoes for the Boston Marathon on the New Balance site, it will cost you $99.99. That might seem like a high price for a pair of shoes, but they’re worth it. After all, the last thing you want is any discomfort on your feet.
Total Cost of Running in the 2016 Boston Marathon
While there are other costs every runner should factor in — such as other running equipment, a nutritional regimen, health checkups with your physicians and other variable costs — this is just a basic breakdown of what you’d need to run the race.
On the high end, running in the Boston Marathon could set you back more than $4,000. On the lower end, you’re looking at almost $1,145, excluding charity fundraising costs and opting for $50-per-month training, paying for a $365 plane ticket and buying a $75-per-night hotel room.
Keep these costs in mind if you plan on running in the 2017 Boston Marathon or a future marathon. And, start thinking of ways you can start saving today.
Keep Reading: How to Save $1,378 in 52 Weeks
Henry Truc contributed to the reporting for this article.