Selling Out

Have you noticed that your favourite race is selling out faster than ever before?

  • The Chicago Marathon sold out in 6 days this year. 45,000 spots. In six days.
  • The Ottawa Half Marathon is sold out four months before race day. 11,000 spots.
  • Around the Bay Road Race 30k sold out weeks ago. 8,000 spots.
  • The Vancouver Marathon is already more than 70% sold out three months from race day. 5,000 spots.

Running is definitely a sport that has been on the rise over the last few years. Races have been getting bigger, and selling out sooner. And more and more events are being added all the time with plenty of runners willing to put up the cash and run.

There is a downside to all of this popularity. Some runners are missing out on races because they don’t get registered in time. And some races have hiked fees as a way to try and temper the enthusiasm of those who want to run. Want to run the New York City Marathon and you live in Canada? First, you enter the lottery – that’s $11US with no guarantees. Then, assuming your name is pulled from the hat, you get to pony up another $347US to run the race. Crazy! Yet every year there are still three times as many people who want to run the marathon as there are entries available.

Boston has a similar problem – even if you manage to qualify, there’s still no guarantee that you’ll be able to get in thanks to the huge number of runners who are all vying for a limited number of spots.

What do you think? Is running getting too popular? What can be done to help keep race fees down and races accessible to the average runner?

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