The 118th Boston Marathon took place this morning, with Meb Keflezighi winning the men’s division and Rita Jeptoo winning back-to-back women’s championships in the race. Keflezighi is the first American to win the race since 1983. Boston took on some heavy financial costs this year to ensure the safety of the race in the wake of last year’s tragic Boston bombing. Though runners who’ve endured a competitive 26.2-mile run before understand the physical toll a marathon takes, the financial costs for runners are often overlooked. If running a marathon is a goal of yours, you’d better start saving early.
The Boston Marathon is arguably the most popular and competitive running event annually in the U.S. While other major metropolitan areas have their own marathons as well–there’s the L.A. Marathon, The ING New York City Marathon and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, to name a few–they don’t quite match the excitement and buzz surrounding the world’s oldest annual marathon. That might be because there’s actually a qualifying time runners have to meet in order to participate.
For 2014, the Boston Marathon field was limited to under 36,000 runners who had to meet the infamously stringent qualifying time limits based on age and gender. United States residents had to pay a $175 registration fee, while international runners had to pay $225.
Registering for the Boston Marathon
For runners that don’t qualify under the time limit, they can choose to participate through a charity. Most organizations make you agree to raise at least a few thousand dollars for their cause to run on their team. Some charities go above and beyond and set their minimum fundraising amount even higher. So if you’re thinking about running next year, you better get a head start on budgeting and planning who to ask for donations.
Also, most charities do charge an additional processing fee along with the minimum fundraising amount and they list that the Boston Athletics Association requires an application processing fee, too. On the bright side, those donations are tax deductible.
Getting to the Boston Marathon
Though it’s located in Boston, the race draws participants from all over the world. Last year, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won the men’s division at two hours, ten minutes and 22 seconds. According to TripAdvisor, a round trip from Addis Ababa Airport in Ethiopia to Boston’s Logan International would run about $1,390.
For our domestic runners, this year’s winner Keflezighi traveled from San Diego. A round trip flight from San Diego to Boston would run around $639.
Staying in Boston
If you’re a runner who’s taking the race seriously, then that means you’ll need a good night’s rest. According to TripAdvisor, rooms of at least three stars or more within a 10 mile radius of Hopkinton–the Boston Marathon’s starting point–range from $151 to $1,079 per night. It’s no wonder why most runners shack up with others to save money.
Race Prep Costs
Running is free, but if you need a little help, you can get marathon training plans through E-books on Running Planet for around $10. You could also opt for a personal trainer at the gym, which can cost anywhere between $20 and $300 per hour. And even if you just opt for the gym, that membership runs around $25 per month on the low end.
In addition, you will also need proper equipment like running shoes. You can get a decent pair for around $50 or cheaper at your local shoe store bargain bin. However, if you need the perfect pair for your feet, they could cost as much $150 or more. They might only seem like a pair of shoes, but if you’re pounding the pavement for three to five hours, the last thing you want is any discomfort on your feet.
While there are other costs that need to be factored in, such as nutritional regimen, health check ups with your physicians and other variable costs, this is just a basic breakdown of what you’d need to run the race. If we average these costs for registration, airfare, personal training, one night at a local hotel and running shoes, that’s about $2,165 to run in the 2014 Boston Marathon, not including donations if you’re running through a charity.
Photo credit: JD