2008 100 Mile Race Entry Fee Analysis

Friend of iRunFar, Mike Mason, compiled the following table analyzing the 2008 entry fees for 21 of the most recognizable 100 mile races being run this year.*  The entry fees range from $115 at Kettle Moraine up to $295 to toe the line at Western $tates.  The mean (average) entry fee for Mr. Mason’s selections was $174, while the median 100 miler entry fee was $165.  Read on to see the full table.

Thanks for compiling and sharing this table, Mike!

*Mr. Mason notes:
(1) The table does not include any 100 milers that are free or charge a nominal fee, such as Barkley.

(2) Quite a few of the races have escalation steps in their pricing, so the price steps up the closer one gets to the date. In these cases, I included the starting price on the grid. For most people, 100 miler decisions are made well in advance, so I assumed most would pay the lowest tier fee. The really expensive ones usually fill up far in advance anyway, so I felt no need to normalize those that escalate to the expensive ones that fill early.

There are 22 comments

  1. AnthonyP

    Was Mike's complilation based on "early" entry fees or the maximum entry fee ? GTR 100 ranges from $205 to $245 depending on the date of entry, well above the mean, and putting it in the top 5 most expensive on his list(potentially top 2 for late entry).

  2. Trail Goat

    Tony, I apologize for letting you read the preliminary draft of the post. The post now clarifies that the table is based on the earliest/lowest entry fee.

  3. Anonymous

    hmmm…maybe the GTR is just one of the best with some of the best goodie bags, aid stations and RDs that the fee is higher.

  4. Trail Goat

    Anon #1,First off and at the risk of being flamed, I think that many of the 100 milers are not charging what they should/could. Personally, I have no problem in dropping ~$200 once or twice a year on what will likely be my biggest events of the year. 100 milers are my vacations, personal challenges, and reunions all rolled into one. With regard to the Grand Teton 100 (folks, that's what GTR means), I love the race, RDs, and setting. If I don't get chosen for the TransRockies Run, I plan on again being at Grand Targhee scooping ice the night before the race and then pacing until my legs fall off! Also, I don't think Tony was attacking the race or the entry fee. In fact, I know he intends to be there again this year. (GTR is where I met Tony last year.)Note, that while GTR was left off this version of the 100s table, it WILL be added to future compilations… which are being discussed here at iRF headquarters.

  5. Mike Mason

    I generally agree with Goat regarding RD not charging what they could/should for races with a profit motive, but I would only follow that logic so far. If the price was established purely via some market mechanism, e.g. auction, you might end up with a bunch of fat, well heeled people who found themselves moved by A Race for the Soul showing up at races they have no business running. Not the same, but a similar dynamic to that on Everest these days, i.e. rich guys who have no business climbing on anything but 1,000 count Egyptian cotton sheets losing their lives.

  6. Trail Goat

    Mike,Rather than a profit (or non-profit) maximizing scenario, I was thinking more that the MMTs and Umsteads of the world could easily and not unreasonably charge more in line with the $200 that some of the other races are charging. I want to mull it over some more, but I'd have no problem with more 100s charging $250-$300 just so long as they provide a mechanism for those that cannot afford those fees to enter at a lower price. I'm not sure what's the best way to do that, whether through some scholarship program like some VHTRC events or via a sliding entry fee scale based on income that would be like speeding tickets in Finland (you would pay more the more you make). More or less, I think that the clubs, organizations, and individuals who put on events as large in scale as 100 mile ultramarathons should be permitted to be compensated for their time… or at least not lose anything on the venture. I think many people are delusional in overestimating the net profit a club or RD brings in on a race.More on all this later.

  7. Trail Goat

    While I can't go back and revise my comments, wise counsel has pointed out an error in my response to Anon #1. Therefore, please note that if I could, I would remove"should from the following opening sentence, "First off and at the risk of being flamed, I think that many of the 100 milers are not charging what they should/could." There's no reason for me to encourage RDs/clubs who are willing to put on their fine races at the current relatively less expensive entry fees to raise those fees. :-)

  8. Meredith

    There are a lot of things to consider when looking at the fee of the race. GTR had like 35 runners last year in the 100 miler, Umstead gets 250+ runners to toe the start line. I think that also affects the price as well. More runners, more people to spread the costs out over. I have no issue paying for races, i'm going to do them one way or another. between my travel costs, etc, what's anothre $100? ;) trail goat, when can we start signing up for your pacer list???

  9. Bedrock

    Mason, I thought I was the analytical "freak". Seriously, I agree that many 100 mile races are bargains. I mean, $155 for Wasatch? I have only run MMT and for the aid station fare and supreme organization, $140 is definitely a bargain. However, I wonder how many people actually choose a race based on the entry fee? I for one, rarely think about it until I write the check. Point being, most folks choose 100 milers (and other "focus" races) based on some other criteria and the entry fee becomes an afterthought. Therefore, there should be some demand elasticity allowing for moderate fee increases (Sorry, I majored in Finance and Econ).I think another way to "assist" those that can't (or won't) pay the higher fees is through a service component. Say a 10% discount for every 8 hours of volunteer/trail work (above what may be required for race entry) up to say 30%. In addition to a financial incentive, it encourages folks to volunteer at other races. Something to think about. Any RDs out there that care to chime in?

  10. aharmer

    Goat,Looks like Superior Sawtooth and their $150 fee were disrespected and left off a list again…just kidding. At a race last weekend we had this discussion. One of the most difficult and beautiful 100's in the country gets very little attendance and recognition outside of MN, any ideas why?

  11. AnthonyP

    Trail Goat said…Also, I don't think Tony was attacking the race or the entry fee. In fact, I know he intends to be there again this year. (GTR is where I met Tony last year.)————I had no idea that the seas would swell on this…thanks for comment B (while I was away on business yesteray). Of course I wasn't attacking the race or the entry fee, and yes, I am going to be there again this year (I was like the 8th person to register). My point was made to help make the list more complete, especially if there was an event in the top tier of the list missing.

  12. Trail Goat

    Meredith,Are you talking about Team PACER or me pacing folks?Bedrock,I agree with Wasatch being a ridiculously good value. I'm finally ready to put my name back in the lottery next year. It would be just my luck to get into Western States, Hardrock, and Wasatch in the same year.Olga,Sounds like a good deal on the Oregon 100. I'll keep it in mind in case I don't get into Wasatch.

  13. Trail Goat

    Harmer,I personally don't know much about Superior, but here are a guesses as to why it might not be given its due outside the upper midwest. First, Minnesota isn't exactly known as being a trail running destination even if it is a great place to run. Second, SS is not one of the big 100s is it? What's the field size like? Third, have many top runners from outside the region competed there? I think that while the presence of top ultramarathoners doesn't make an event, it can make it more well known. Lastly, it's right around the time the Wasatch 100 is run and the ultrarunning world tends to be focused on Utah at that time. Let's talk off-blog about Superior.

  14. Footfeathers

    Being an event chip timer and organizer full-time, I can tell you that road races and trail races are two different things in more ways than what may be obvious to the participants. Road races are much more expensive to organize. Police and DOT fees alone for a marathon can be anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000.Trust me, I would love to make a fortune off my events, but, since I don't make that much money, I try to keep my entry fees low, so more people like myself can enjoy them. I know of at least one very good ultra runner who gave up on paying race fees and organizes his own adventure runs (free). I had to lose competition both to run against and to have in my events. I personally chose not to run a couple of events in VA because I feel they charge too much. On the other hand, I will support events like the Rattlesnake 50k (my first ultra last year) that balance a great event with a reasonable entry fee ($50 early and late).My fear is that a couple of events will jack prices and then every other one will too. Then we'll have the "Everest Syndrome" where you have rich, mediocre participants en masse, and lose some strong runners who may not earn enough to justify $300 to run in the woods and eat some pretzels. I'm not saying that only slow runners earn money, but filtering out even a few of the people who place in the top 3% of events hurts the sport. I'd rather see entry fees remain reasonable, so EVERYONE has a chance to compete.My idea of reasonable entry fees?50k – $5050M – $70100k – $85100M – $140Ok, fire away at me.Tim Long

  15. Trail Goat

    Sean,I'm considering that route. First, I'm waiting to hear back from a potential teammate. After that I have some ideas. The big drawback for TRR is the ginormous entry fee! $1350?!!? I could easily pay for my entire 10 day vacation to Grand Teton and Wasatch, including airfare, for that. I know that TRR's fee includes meals and tent lodging, but still!

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