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Florida Beach Halfathon: Cost of Running an Endurance Race

I started putting this together on my soul sucking commute to work today. What is the actual total financial cost of running one particular distance race? Not an uber spectacular, or an ultra small race but a regular,  well-run half marathon. This is not meant to be a judgement of any kind, just a factual breakdown of what it costs and some opinions about it. So here we go.

Race Fees

– This is my last half marathon of the Florida endurance running season. Im reaching a peak point of exhaustion and the bottom of my wallet, but I decided to do one more as my Spring Break approaches. This half marathon is part of a several race half marathon series that takes place in the areas surrounding Tampa. It is comprised of the Clearwater Halfathon, Florida Halloween Halfathon, the Florida Holiday Halfathon and this race – the Florida Beach Halfathon. Of course, its not actually run on the beach but it takes place at Ft. Desoto. If you do any research about that spot you will find its one of the nicer, more highly- rated beaches in Florida, and also a great spot to camp if you are into that. Its an enjoyable location, and a state park with lots of running trails. This will be a scenic run, and I was surprised that the race cost was what it was when I signed up just 2 weeks before race day. It was cheaper than Rock n Roll was at that point, and is cheaper than the halfie in Sarasota was,  when I looked at  that race. Total Cost – $70

Gas Cost

– Currently it costs be about 39$ to fill up my car and I get decent mileage on the highway. Ft. Desoto is approximately an hour and half drive from where I live, so you are talking about 3 hrs driving. This will kill about half my tank of gas. Thats the reality. The #1 pain in my life right now -whether its for work, necessity, or pleasure- is gas costs. Total Cost- $18.50


Pre Race Dinner

–  Im not the foolish runner who overloads and goes on a pre-race carb frenzy the night before an endurance race. Still, I enjoy a filling plate of pasta the night before a race and I do feel like it helps the following day. This means I need to purchase pasta and sauce (neither of which I keep in my house that regularly). The 2 items together costs me 2.90$ at the supermarket, and I will roughly consume half the box of pasta and probably about half the jar of cheap pasta sauce. The other stuff I will use to add “day before” carbs are all things that are already in my house (rice, potatoes, cereals, fruti snacks, etc.) Total Cost- $1.45

Day Of Race Breakfast

– This one is more tricky than it should be and a surprising expense. Theoretically, I have the ingredients for a nice sit down pre race breakfast. However, because the race is so early in the morning and so far away, its just infinitely better for me to put together a breakfast that I can consume on the drive over. It must be portable, and I generally like a specific amount of calories pre-race to make sure I get what I need. Here is the run down.

Natures Valley Granola Bar – $1

Nutri Grain Bar– .79 Cents

2 Bananas– $1

Fruit Snack Packet – Already have on hand

Cereal Serving Size– Already have on hand

Emergency Granola Bar (Have to prep something in case my metabolism gets crazy and I get hungry) – $1

Total Breakfast Cost- $3.80

I love one of these as part of a cheap, portable , pre-race breakfast

Pre-Race Energy

– I dont know how other runners feel about this and I dont care. Most drink coffee and I hate coffee so I need something for that jolt to life as the race approaches. Usually I use a 5 hour energy within 15 minutes of  the race start. I find that it works perfectly for what I need. Total Cost- $2.40

My version of coffee 🙂

During the Race Energy

– This is another one of those “Just in Case” type of things.  At every one of the distances I have run, the information regarding aid stops relating to food and gels has not been entirely accurate. Some have been more than stated (Disney), some have been less (Five Points of Life).  This race is talking about providing oranges at a variety of aid stations. Im guessing to keep with the Florida theme. I imagine that oranges are great for energy and replenishment while running. One small problem is that I hate them intensely. I find oranges gross, so I am planning on running with a couple of energy gels of my own. I do this a lot, and I carry them in my hand as I do not own a fuel belt. MMM, I think I ll go with peanut utter and berry flavored this time. Total Cost- $2.35

I love at least 2 of these during my halfies

Celebration Costs

– Ill probably end up back at my parents house for a good Sunday night dinner. Any home cooked meal from my mom is more than reward enough for me. That being said, I always feel the need to treat myself to some sort of post race reward even if it is later at night. I have about $5 left on a Cold Stone gift card but Im not usually in the mood for ice cream the day of a race. Instead I will probably go with a refilled big gulp of Diet Dr. Pepper and some 7-11 Cookies. Very underrated before you criticize, I prefer the peanut butter, but the chocolate chunk and oatmeal raisin are also delicious. Total Cost- $2.40

7-11 has underrated baked goods, including their 3-packs of cookies, they make for a cheap post race reward.

This places my overall race cost (unscientifically of course) at $100.50. There are obviously areas I could cut and probably get it down to around 95$ or so, but still its always going to be on the expensive side to me. Some people may think that this is a reasonable price for a race total, others may think its unreasonable, and others may think its a drop in the bucket. I would list the overall cost of this reasonable, even it is personally a huge hit to me. I would be remiss however if I didnt look at the other side of the equation. What am I getting for my money? Specifically for the biggest chunk of it, the race fees.

What do I get?

Your usual race fare plus a little extra bonus

Standard Rewards

Tech Shirt – A nice shirt to wear around and use as a discussion starter amongst fellow runners. Supposedly colorful

Medal– Starfish shaped for a Florida beach theme,  to go with my growing collection (Gasparilla is my favorite, sick looking Jolly Roger).

Bag of Free Swag– This is hit or miss usually. I have paid $20 for 10k’s and received bags packed with tons of goodies, freebies, and useful coupons and paid $65 for a marathon where the bag was so skeletal that the actual, physical bag was the best part of the whole deal. Neither would surprise me with this race.

Post Race Celebration– This one promises bagels, fruits, and pastries which is pretty standard. I plan on grabbing copious handfuls. There is also talk of live entertainment which would be nice. Im picturing some laid back beach style band playing a nice groove. There is also apparently mic ultra on tap, but I dont generally enjoy post run brew.

The little bonus– Im on freaking FT Desoto Beach! I rarely get a chance to go all the way down there and it is a really chill beach and usually lacks the obnoxious crowds of some of the area’s other beaches. Plus this time of year (during the spring) is the only time I really enjoy the beach. Once it gets into April its just too damn hot and no thanks. Right now though, it is usually pleasant and delightful. On this Sunday, I plan on doing post race on a towel and relaxing,  napping,  drifting off and hopefully forgetting the $100.50 I just spent on my last race.

I cant think of a better spot to just chill after a hard morning run

Enjoy your day. Enjoy your run :0


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2 thoughts on “Florida Beach Halfathon: Cost of Running an Endurance Race

  1. Chris Lauber, Race Director on said:

    I enjoyed reading your analysis – thanks for joining us – but would like to point out that you could easily cut costs 25% on this race by entering early for just $45. This special price is reserved for the first 50 athletes who register. And as an early entrant, you would be eligible for a full refund or deferral, should you need to withdraw, as long as you advise us at least two weeks in advance.

    For even greater savings, you can register for the entire 4 race series for just $160, available for the first 100 entrants to register. Registration for the entire series opens on April 1. Refund policy above will be in effect.

    Hope you will join us again!

    • First of all, thanks for a great race. I had a terrific time on Sunday. Well run, worth it at the cost that I paid 🙂 I was told about your deal many times at your race. It was a “DOH!” moment for me. I think this is a terrific runner friend policy. I added this race at the end of the season last minute, so I wasnt aware. Otherwise that deal (which is a tremendous offer) would have been the feature of the posting.
      Thanks for a great race again.

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