The Cost Of Running

I’ve often heard that running is one of the cheapest sports because you really only need a pair of good running shoes (~$200 every 500-700 kilometres or so), and that’s about it.

Of course, being the nerdy fellow that I am, it got me thinking Is that really all I spend my money on when it comes to running?

Clearly the answer is no. I mean, if I include visits to the Chiropractor1, Massage Therapy2running gear3, the cost of races, the cost to get to races, the cost of hotels to run in races, the cost of food before, during4, and after races, and of course, the cost of a very satisfying and deserved beer or two following a long and successful run5, well, I’m sure the cost is substantial.

Well, at least substantial in the short-term. I mean, if I’m going to consider all of the short-term factors, I should also incorporate savings related to the long-term. Savings made, for example, by reducing risks (and associated health costs) of cardiovascular diseasea,6, diabetesa, and musculoskeletal disabilityb,c (to name a few), and the associated avoided costs that could occur should I have to be off work due to one or more of these diseases. I’m also less likely to be disabled, which would surely be a cost benefitd.

Plus there is the associated cost of how running makes me feel. I have no idea how I would price that per se, but let’s just say that it more than covers the financial side of things, otherwise why the hell would I be doing it?

Anyway, while I am a self-professed nerd, I am not so nerdy that I’ve been documenting every penny related to running7. I have, however, been documenting the cost of the races I’ve signed up to run. So, for your viewing pleasure I present to you, dear readers, a cost summary of the races that I’ve decided to run in the next few months.

  • Number of races: 5
  • Total distance: 151.5 km
  • Total cost: $410.86
  • Average distance: 30.3 km
  • Average cost per race: $82.17
  • Average cost per kilometre: $2.71

I’m not sure how these costs relate to other sports. Regardless, I love running. I think I’ll stick with it. 😉


A list of the races that I’ve officially registered for this year (so far):


1 Mmmm, back cracky goodness. I’d estimate that I spend $500 per year at the Chiropractor, depending on my running schedule.

Mmmm, massage-y goodness. On average I get 18 massages a year. At about $75 per massage, that’s at least $1350 for the year.

3 Such as shirts of various weight – all breathable of course, shorts, tights, mitts, toques, rain gear, sunglasses, sunscreen, wind block, and the ever glamourous nipple protecting BodyGlide.

4 Okay, the cost of food during a race probably isn’t that much. I mean, most of the time one doesn’t really consume much more than the gels or Gatorade that is offered en route. But, there are times when gummies or other energy supplements are needed. Personally, I’ve never bought these things, so I have no idea what cost they might add. I only mention them because I know they are often used.

5 Really though, this cost should be minimal. I mean, I just ran for hours. Doesn’t that deserve a free beer?

Whoa – did I just footnote a footnote? You bet your ass I did. In this case, simply to identify that numerical footnotes are asides, and in no way based in science. Alphabetic footnotes are associated with journal articles that I have provided to support a claim. Consider them Footnotes of Science!

Shocking, right?


a Warburton, D.E.R., Nicol, C.W., Bredin, S.S.D. (2006). Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. Canadian Medical Association, 174(6):747-749.
b Lane, N.E., Bloch, D.A., Wood, P.D., Fries, J.F. (1987). Aging, long-distance running, and the development of musculoskeletal disability: A controlled study. The American Journal of Medicine, 82(4):772-780.
d Willick, S.E., Hansen, P.A. (2010). Running and Osteoarthritis. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 29(3):417-428.
d Charkravarty, E.F., Hubert, H.B, Lingala, V.B, Fries, J.F. (2008). Reduced Disability and Mortality Among Aging Runners: A 21-Year Longitudinal Study. Archives of Internal Medicine, 168(15):1638-1646.


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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Rick says:

    That’s a nice bunch of races coming up. I need to get my act in gear. I have a love-hate relationship with running, but I think love is winning since I keep signing up for races!

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