The Cost of the Marathon

In 2012, I started training for my first marathon. Sure enough, I ended up needing physical therapy. That happened again in 2013, 2014, and 2015– when I actually had to drop out due to injury. Last year, something magical happened. I didn’t need physical therapy – my body felt just fine! I was hoping this year would be the same and it nearly has, but lately I’ve been feeling like I am going to pull my lower back on long/hard runs and slight knee discomfort. Ordinarily this wouldn’t cause me to go to physical therapy, but with two weeks to go, I want to make sure I’m as strong as can be when I get on that starting line. So this Friday, I have an appointment at 8am.

There is something special about this appointment – it will be the end of an era. A former employer of mine switched their health insurance policy to one with a very high deductible. In order to ease the burden on employees, they also gave us money toward a health savings account (HSA), which doesn’t expire. This was very generous of them – especially because it was a non-profit and didn’t require us to pay into the insurance at all. I left that job in June 2012, more than 5 years ago. On Friday, I will use up the remaining $30.63 and close out the HSA account. This essentially means, I have never had to pay a medical bill out of my own money. Two jobs later, I am finally somewhere that does require me to pay into my healthcare, but they did also provide me with an HSA at no cost, so hopefully I have a bit longer to go until I have to directly pay a medical bill.

This led me to wonder– what is the cost of the marathon? Running seems like a cheap sport – all you really need is sneakers (any maybe not even!) and a sports bra. Inevitably, you get sucked into the gear, the races, and the inevitable doctor’s costs. So I decided to take a look at my 2017 marathon-related expenses:

$40 – New York Road Runners (NYRR) Membership

$537 – NYRR Entrance Fees (If you run 9 races and volunteer at 1, you are guaranteed entry into the NYC Marathon – this includes the marathon entry fee of $255).

$49.99 – NYRR Virtual Trainer (Marathon training plan)

$260 – Physical Therapy and Massages

$119.40 – Gear (This includes sneakers, apparel, gel, etc.)

The grand total is $1006.39. Thank goodness my only travel costs for the marathon is two subway rides, which are covered under my unlimited Metrocard!

What are your marathon-related expenses?

2 thoughts on “The Cost of the Marathon

  1. I too have thought about the cost! Last year I paid $285 for fee into NYC marathon. I also bought new sneakers and glowing stuff so I’d be seen when I ran in the dark. Then I tore my meniscus. So I had to pay for almost a year of physical therapy, both before and after the surgery. I don’t know the expense of that but you could imagine- it cost $15 per visit, sometimes 3 visits a week. I can estimate about $600. Then there’s the fee to enter the marathon again this year. That’s another $300. So I think I may just stop counting now.

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    1. Sounds like a good plan! It’s funny because I shared this in a NYC Marathon Facebook group and what I spent is nothing compared to the many runners that come from all over the world. Although at that point, it’s not just a race, it’s also a vacation experience. There are also some injured international runners that have already laid all that money out and can’t get it back. Sorry you were injured, I had the same thing in 2015, but at least you’re back at it!

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