Why Do Runners Pay To Run?

Before writing this, I did a Google search to see what would pop up if you type, “Why do runners…” I thought it was pretty funny :)


I’ve gotten the question, “Why would you pay to run??” a lot over the years. My BF just doesn’t understand haha. I bet most non-runners don’t get it. I mean why WOULD you pay hundreds of dollars to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles? Or even hundreds of dollars each year in 5K or other race registration fees? You’re literally paying to run a few miles! Crazy right?

Well, I obviously don’t think so, since I run race ;) So I wanted to talk about why pay to run, and what it means to me. I actually got the inspiration from I Heart Running, since she wrote up reasons why she pays to run. Here are my reasons:

  1. It holds me accountable. Registering for a big race like a half marathon or marathon gives me a goal to work towards. Without a race goal I really lose motivation. After NYC Marathon last year I had no race goal and just wanted time off. I didn’t end up running much at all. I was going to the gym and lifting regularly, but when it comes to running I need something to work towards.
  2. I can’t run race pace on my own. Might sound silly, but if I go out and say, okay I’m going to run my own 5K and see if I can break my PR…it definitely won’t happen. There’s something about running a race with a bunch of other people pulling you along that helps me run faster than I ever would on my own. Does anyone else feel that way?
  3. The experience. I want the New York City Marathon experience. And maybe next year the Chicago Marathon experience. One day maybe Boston. Sure it’s super expensive but some people choose to spend their money on vacations to other countries, and I choose to spend it on races that I can experience and also remember forever. I love that I can say I run with my mom and that we can have all these race memories together.
  4. The challenge. I love challenging myself and working towards new goals. Races allow me to test my fitness and see how far I’ve come. In strength training, people log PRs when it comes to how much weight they’re lifting. And in running, we run races to set PRs. Over and over again ;)
  5. The community. This is one of the more important reasons for me. I’ve written about the running community a couple of times, and this is really one of the main aspects that I love. Whether a runner or a spectator, this community supports runners of all levels. Runners are a friendly bunch and you can always make some new friends at a race. Who else can you talk to about bloody toenails, port-a-potty woes, etc? :) And spectators are who really get me through races. Like I’ve said a million times, spectators are what made the NYC Marathon experience magical for me.

So how about you? Why do you pay to run? (or bike, or swim?) Do you ever get asked that question?


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  1. It’s so true how we don’t push ourselves to PR unless its during a race. Plus I think the experience of races are well worth the cost. I could run the same distance any day and not get the same high as I get when I cross the finish line of a race.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #15My Profile

  2. Hello, what about the bling??
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…I Believe… In the Best Raffle Prizes #thinkingoutloudMy Profile

  3. OMG I get this question all the time! You nailed every point. I live the experience most of all. The people cheering me on, the medal at the end, crossing an actual finish line…I just love it all and it’s why I continue to do it. :)
    Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner recently posted…Treating Injuries: When Enough Is EnoughMy Profile

  4. I love races! They’re definitely worth the money!
    Erin @ Her Heartland Soul recently posted…Three Cooks One Kitchen: Homemade Chicken RunzasMy Profile

  5. Of all the questions I’ve been asked about running this isn’t one of them. It’s worth every penny!
    jill conyers recently posted…5 Benefits of Hemp HeartsMy Profile

  6. I agree with all of these! Racing is such an experience from start to finish. I love how different races have different atmospheres. Disney races are a little more “accepting” and less intense than Boston, for example. Both are great though!
    Emily @MyHealthyishLife recently posted…My Morning RoutineMy Profile

  7. Sometimes I ask myself that question lol! I agree though, I need to have something to shoot for or else I can skip a work out too easily, and I do seem to often find some speed I wouldn’t have on a normal training run.
    Karen recently posted…More Half Marathon TalkMy Profile


  1. […] this isn’t mine, but very well timed nonetheless: Patty wrote a post yesterday Why Pay to Run? As a former competitive horse back rider, I can totally understand […]

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