Fun Runs overpriced?

Having got our three kids running on a regular basis through parkrun and fun runs at events I have been growing more and more frustrated at the cost of my children entering the so called 'fun run'. 

This used to be something lots of event organisers would put on before, during or after the event for a bit of fun (the title 'fun run' always gave it away). A lollypop at the finish was suffice reward. There are of course some great fun runs, with marked out courses that clearly take organising and time so fair enough to cover costs etc but some are only 400m around the field and they want £3-£5 a time for a child who isn't even earning a wage (don't get me started on the unemployed and fatties getting free gym passes). 

The Olympics, Commonwealth games and recent European championships have made them sit up and take notice over the last few years and they no longer sit there telling dad to turn off this boring rubbish know as athletics. Mo Farah and Usain Bolt are as popular in my house as Drogba and Messi these days which is great as I see these people as fantastic role models for my children.

I feel some organisers are taking advantage of the situation. The last couple of events we have attended they have not run as the cost has not been justified in my opinion. I have a real problem with paying for something that has cost the organiser nothing to put on other than a couple of sticks in the ground to run around and 5 minutes of their time to line the kids up at the start.

Your thoughts and experiences would be appreciated.




  • If you begrudge it - don't pay it.

    What do the kids get out of it though - would you say they got ??3 worth of fun ? If so pay up.
  • i can see your point......but i suppose it depends on if teh kids like it.i imagine most activities cost nowadays......cinema is probably a £5 each...soft play in the local charlie chalk or where ever now a few pounds...

    when you have a few kids its sad to think that you might not have enough money for them to do funruns.....still parkruns are still free..

  • I like that you said your kids aren't earning a wage. If this was in Victorian times they'd be able to pay their own way. image
  • Just RunJust Run ✭✭✭

    Oh, if I begrudge it I sure as hell won't pay it Cougie, but 400m around a playing field for £3? Where the hell are the overheads! 

    Maybe it's just me as a parent and someone who is willing to give their time without financial reimbursement for a few hours a week. I have marshalled, as have my children, and I also coach kids at football driving miles around the county and giving up my spare time with no intention of ever taking a penny for doing so (yes it's my choice).

    There are plenty of parents who will pay it as their kids will kick their shins until they get their way, I just don't get why people are happy to rip off kids. It costs my children £2 for an hours football coaching, £3 for 45 minutes swimming (both with qualified coaches in proper venues). 


  • why aren't the kids earning a wage... dishes, gardening, hoovering... they could earn the money to race quite quickly image

  • Just RunJust Run ✭✭✭
    cougie wrote (see)
    I like that you said your kids aren't earning a wage. If this was in Victorian times they'd be able to pay their own way. image

    Only after they'd paid me their keep image

  • I guess that those events are week in, week out. The fun runs are a one off ? Sure the organiser is making money on the kids - but doesn't everyone ? I bet you Curly Wurlys dont cost 10p to make either.
  • Just RunJust Run ✭✭✭

    They love the running Seren and I will cough up if it's properly organised and more than 2 minutes around the field. They do earn through chores around the house but their pocket money is for treats such as dvd's, games and toys as far as they're concerned (fair enough imo). As parents we pay for their clubs, just don't see where the costs come into it. 

    We did a trail run recently and the kids 'fun run' was half a lap of the field where we all parked. No cost to the organiser and I even marshalled them at the halfway point as there were so many kids running. Around 60 kids at £3 each, easy tax free money i'd say. I'm sure they declared it all to HM and great if it's going into organising more events but not convinced myself.

  • Just RunJust Run ✭✭✭
    cougie wrote (see)
    I guess that those events are week in, week out. The fun runs are a one off ? Sure the organiser is making money on the kids - but doesn't everyone ? I bet you Curly Wurlys dont cost 10p to make either.

    Maybe you've hit the nail on the head there Cougie. Everything these days is a bloody business, kids or not. No one does much for free (thank you parkrun) and maybe i'm just old fashioned in not walking around with pound signs in my eyes. 

  • M..o.useM..o.use ✭✭✭

    I've helped organise children's triathlon events in the past and could easily justify our costs to you, if you'd been at our event.  We had to pay a local school to use their school field.  We also had to pay a local leisure centre to use their pool.  We wanted to children to experience a race that was as close to an adult race as possible so we had to pay a timing company to time the event (they also provided racking and a finishers arch).  We bought proper printed numbers, t-shirts, medals and fruit for the goody bag.  There were prizes and trophies.

    A lot of that you won't need at a running race, granted, but I bet you the venue hire will be over £1,000 for a running race.  If they hire a timing firm it could cost them another £500- £1,000.  When we did ours, the first timing firm we asked for a quote wanted £1,000 (this is several years ago) and we told them that it was a youth event and this would mean that a child would be expected to pay £10 a head for timing.  It fell upon deaf ears (they are running a business!) Fortunately another timing company gave us a very competitive price to support the children.

    So, yes, it depends what the race is offering and if it's a quick dash around a field prior to your 10k then that's poor, but the costs do mount up quite quickly if it's something more sophisticated.


  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭

    Potentially it could be subsidising the cost of the main race, if there are road closures etc to be taken into account (ok, not the case for your trail run). Difficult to say and it would vary from event to event.

    I guess it will make a difference if the event is run by an events company, which is primarily there to make profit, or organised by a club, who want to cover their costs and possibly raise some funds for other club activities.  I'd balk at the former, but if my local club organised an event which had a fundraising element, meaning the club could offer better facilities/coaching to it's members, I'd be ok with that.

    At the Loch Ness Marathon there's a "Wee Nessie" race which is, as you describe, 400m or so round the park next to the event "village".  Cost £3 each last time my 2 did it - but they got a printed t-shirt and a quality medal!  I suspect the marathon entry subsidised the junior race that time.


  • best kids races ever are the ones at Nos Galan... all the kids ones are before the adults ones and are on closed roads.the kids got goody bags and medals and t-shirts....all for about £4.........that was about 10 years ago so not sure if they still charge so little.......

    the adult ones were a fair price as well..and lots of fireworks and street entertainment to keep them entertained all evening...

  • M..o.useM..o.use ✭✭✭
    Nessie - our junior race was a different day to the adult one, hence having it's own set of costs. For our junior race we (the club) subsidised it.
  • My local club of which I'm a member are organising a charity run tomorrow, 3 runs..... 1k,3k and 5k. £2 entry on the day for any race you want and EVERY penny to teenage cancer trust. Everyone's time is being donated free and the only other charge will be for home baking that members are donating with all money from that donated to the charity as well. It can be done for non-profit and the right reasons.

  • Just RunJust Run ✭✭✭

    I did make it clear I had no problem with proper organised events charging Mouse, and I know full well how much it costs to stage events as a good friend of mine organised one every year locally until recently. I fully appreciate those events and what it takes to cover costs, especially road closures and insurance. It's the ones where there is little running yet lots of cost I am annoyed about.

    Nessie, that's a very valid point about events companies. Maybe I will be a little more careful when entering events (although most we do support local running clubs and very rare we do races by running events companies).

    I really don't mind paying, especially if most of the money went to improving facilities at a local club or people are clear about where the profits (if any) go. 

  • Imagine if the British 10k had a kids fun run. That would be interesting.
  • Just RunJust Run ✭✭✭

    Nice bigeater, now that's something worth shouting about.

    lol cougie image

  • Just RunJust Run ✭✭✭

    Right, i'm off for a run, before I get worked up about something else image

  • M..o.useM..o.use ✭✭✭

    Sorry, Just Run, didn't mean to aggravate you, I hope that's not how it came across.  I completely agree that it's all about picking and choosing what you do carefully.  At adult running races I will always do the smaller club races than the big corporate ones.  As an example, our local club does a series of 10k runs through the summer months which are approximately the same cost as the single city 10k that takes place.  

  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    cougie wrote (see)
    Imagine if the British 10k had a kids fun run. That would be interesting.


    "Still cheaper per inch than the London Marathon charges for a gold bond......."

  • Just RunJust Run ✭✭✭

    No worries Mouse, hadn't had my running fix for the day so probably a little snappy on my part image Just had a lovely 5 miles around country lanes, only traffic I came across was a tractor. 

    Agree about the need to pick carefully and follow local clubs events. I did a trail run on my birthday this year, the Talaton Trotter with just 70 odd people taking part. They held free kids races on the village green, egg and spoon races for kids up to adults with a great bbq and stalls selling various local dishes and drinks. Maybe i'm a little spoilt at times down here in Devon. 

  • Oh organisers know that running is a complete cash cow, so away from many of the club organised ones, it's a minefield!

    Sadly, many will pay £30 odd quid for a 5k and have some dye thrown at you, etc etc..more fool them eh..but the more people pay, the prices will go up and up.

    It's a jungle out there image

  • Personally - maybe I'm weird - I just can't see the point in paying to run a race with a load of other people you don't know pushing and shoving you. Running is free! That's one of the most attractive things about it. What are you actually paying for? The right to run on a road? A crappy medal or t-shirt? I can't see the logic.

    I do parkrun occasionally. If that wasn't free I'd be willing to pay a quid. It's not worth more. I could run the route on my own and time myself.

    People pay £20 quid for a 10k! It's craaaazy.

  • Just RunJust Run ✭✭✭

    Andrew, why post on an internet forum where other people can read and reply to your post? why not just set up your own 'free' website and blog away? 

    Some of us like the social aspect of running. The meeting of new (and old) friends. The way the crowd carries you along when the going is tough during a race. The rivalry you spark up with someone halfway into a race even though you're both halfway down the field and don't know each other, and after all that effort may never see each other again. It doesn't stop you feeling bloody brilliant about beating them mind!

    That feeling you get from hitting a pb, whether it's parkrun or a marathon. If all the events you do are made up of people pushing and shoving each other I think you're doing the wrong events.

    I don't care if the medals crap, it's the only bloody medal i'm going to win and the t-shirts are handy for work and even running if they're tech.  

    As far as 'what are you paying for' goes you could just buy the cd or download the album but if you've never been to a concert you're missing the point.

    If you only ever buy cheap supermarket plonk and have never sat in a beer garden, listening to a band then you're missing out. 

    If you never run with other people, well they're not missing out by the sounds of it. image

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