Edited to add: They listened to everyone’s feedback and adjusted the prices to $105 for the full and $75 for the half. 

If you’re local to the Chicago area and paying attention to the local racing scene, then you may have heard that the inaugural Naperville Marathon & Half, scheduled for November 10, 2013, announced their prices. I was (ooh, spoiler) considering doing this race, as it was local enough that I wouldn’t need a hotel room, and being suburban, I thought it would be somewhat affordable (under $100). I want to take another shot at the marathon distance, and this seemed like a convenient opportunity to do so.

The race organizers have not yet shared a course map, and registration opens next week, but let’s talk money. (I find this incredibly frustrating. Finalize your map before you open registration. Seriously. I want to know what I’m buying.)

Anyway, the cost? $115 for the half. $150 for the full.

Did I mention this is NOT a Rock ‘n’ Roll / Competitor group race? And this is NOT a World Marathon Major (WMM)? And this is NOT part of RunDisney? Etc etc etc.

This is a suburban race in its inaugural year. Without a shared course map.

W. T. F.

What’s even more infuriating has been their response to the negative feedback. No surprise – people complained. Myself included. I was hoping this race would be a cheaper alternative to the Chicago Marathon. And my best friend was considering doing the half, so this was something we could sort of do together.

But for $25 more, I could just run the Chicago Marathon. Which is a WMM. And has been around for 35 years. And runs through the main business district of the third largest city in the country. And like 38 other neighborhoods. You get my point.

For $30 less, my friend could do the Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half. Which is also through downtown Chicago. And includes on-course and post-race entertainment. And has been around for a few years. And in my experience has been very well executed by race organizers.

Anyway, back to their response. They promise that this will be “worth” it. It will be a “world class event.” (Getting a little used car salesman-ish.) Because the price includes a name brand quarter-zip pullover. And digital files of all of your photos. And access to showers post-race.

Because … that’s what should matter? Don’t tell me what I want. I know what I want. And all that extra stuff is not it.

Also … no matter what your business is, please read up on some public relations or marketing basics before you provide any type of good or service for a price. Because this is a huge PR fail. Or just take Marshall Field’s advice: Give the lady what she wants. 

Frankly, I’m getting sick and tired of expensive races. Yes, I know I’ve done my share of them. Rock ‘n’ Roll. The Chicago Marathon. Hot Chocolate. The Soldier Field 10. (Three of those four were worth the price though, in my opinion.)

Been there, done that, and you know what I want now? A quality RACE. A closed course. Well-stocked aid stations. Race day packet pick-up. Ample port-o-potties, and clean ones at that. Smooth logistics. Properly seeded corrals, if it’s a large race.

You know what I don’t care about? The shirt. If I wanted a pullover valued at $65, I would go to Sports Authority and buy one. Actually, I would go to Target and buy two.

I also don’t care about the photos. I have purchased three race photos in my lifetime. One was from the 2011 Fort2Base, when I beat my husband by one second. I bought our finish line photo. The other two were from the 2012 Chicago Marathon, because it was my very first marathon. I doubt I need any more professional photos of myself while running, heck, I probably already have two too many.

And I don’t need access to public showers. Seriously? What do you think I am doing post-race? I’m getting in my car and going home and sitting in an ice bath and then showering and then wrapping myself in compression-wear. The fact that this is being touted as a local hometown race means our own private showers aren’t that far away.

Let me reiterate what I do want: A QUALITY RACE. A nice course. (Which I would like to see a map of before registering.) A safe course.

But more importantly  I want to be able to afford to do races. And the way these prices keep going up, I can’t. So all the extra goodies in the world don’t matter to me.

Which is a shame. I really enjoy races. For the experience. But they start adding all this extra stuff, and I can’t afford to do what I want (run a well-executed race) because race directors seem to think I want all this extra crap. I don’t.

When did the swag become more important than the actual race? ( … when RAM Racing started organizing Hot Chocolate?)

Midwinter Cruise 5K

Every post needs a picture; this is me walking away from overpriced races, I mean, this was right after I finished Sunday’s 5K.