That's one expensive mouse.

That’s one expensive mouse.

Today I did something by doing nothing. Sounds zen, right?

Nothing quite so grand, I assure you.

Let’s just say that today I reallocated my running resources.

I decided not to run a race in order to run a race. Huh?

To put it bluntly, I said “no” to Mickey Mouse. It was hard, trust me.

Today marked the sign-up for the 10th annual Disneyland Half Marathon (September 6th). And I didn’t register.

I enjoy the Disneyland races. Honestly. In fact, I love almost everything Disney.

Maybe next year Mickey.

Maybe next year Mickey.

I’m simply not running the Disneyland Half Marathon because it’s just too darn expensive.

It’s $199 for the Disneyland Half Marathon. Heck, let’s call it $200. In fact, once you add on the “convenience” fees, the price takes you well north the cost of Ben Franklin… and his twin brother.

If I registered for this half, it would be the most expensive race I’d run. Ever.

More than the Chicago Marathon. More than the LA Marathon.

Heck, the famed NY Marathon is $255 (+$11 lottery fee) if you can get in. And that’s still a bargain when compared to Disney:

  • Disneyland Half Marathon: $199/13.1= $15.20 per mile
  • New York Marathon: $266/26.2= $10.15 per mile

Dollars don’t lie.

Last year I got the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 3-pack. For $199, I ran three races:

  • 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon
  • 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon
  • 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

Yup, three races for the exact same cost as running the Disneyland Half Marathon.

I’ve also run 3 Disney races in the last 6 months:

  • 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon
  • 2014 Avengers Super-Heroes Half Marathon
  • 2015 Star Wars Half Marathon

Those three races tallied up to a staggering $585. And that’s before convenience fees, parking, souvenirs, gas and lodging.

Catch you guys in 2016.

Catch you guys in 2016.

Put simply, unless I find that darn money tree that my dad told me doesn’t exist, I need to… how shall we say: Do less Disney.

I’ve got several out of state races I plan to do this year (Denver, Madison, Salt Lake City) and since my disposable income isn’t bottomless, I’ll be shifting my “Disney Dollars” to cover the costs of these races (and travel) instead.

Now I’m not abandoning Mickey and Minnie entirely. Rather, I’ll just be going on a Disney diet this year. No Disneyland Half and no Avengers Super-Heroes Half. I do plan to run the Star Wars Half Marathon in 2016… still gotta get my jedi on!

I think one run in and around the “Happiest place on Earth” a year will be satisfactory for now.

Unless of course I win that $450 million Powerball Lottery. Then I’m running all three races. Heck I might even have enough leftover from my winnings to buy a set of Mickey Mouse ears too.

Run frugal… and Run on!

Posted on February 11, 2015, in General and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor

    This is the reason I will never run a Disney race, unless one of those flying pigs makes its way over here and drops a free race entry at my door. Even if I could afford all that, I just can’t justify spending that kind of dough. $200 for a half marathon is ridiculous; I’d be hesitant to even pay that for a full. And it’s not just Disney, either. The price gouging of races has got to stop. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years we’re seeing major marathons go for $500 a pop. But prices will continue to rise, because no matter how much they charge, people will pay for it. Sigh. I’m grateful that Milwaukee has so many great local races. I just registered for two of my 2015 half marathons, and paid a combined total of $35.

    And now that my curmudgeonly rant is over – you runners get off my lawn!!

    • Thanks for the comment. When it comes to high prices for races, you’re right that it is a growing problem everywhere. Disney just seems to be the biggest perpetrator (Rock ‘n’ Roll races can get pricey too). And unfortunately, as long as people keep willingly pay high prices, the races have no motivation to keep their fees in check. Like many people, I have a set amount I can afford to spend on races annually. I have to budget them… between out of state races, races that require hotel stays and ones that cost more than others. And whether my “run budget” affords me 20 races or 2, when it’s gone. It’s gone. So I too am on the constant lookout for smaller races with lower fees to pepper in between my big races.

      I registered for the Madison Half (for a very reasonable $65). Of course once I factor in air fare, hotel for several nights, car rental, food and souvenirs it’s going to end up being a much pricier affair. But running a race at my alma mater is worth it. Which Milwaukee races are you doing?

      • Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor

        I’m doing a small half marathon in April called the South Shore Half, put on by our local running club. I’m doing the new MIlwaukee Marathon in November and, although I have yet to pull the trigger, will likely also add the Lakefront Marathon in October. I’m doing the Wisconsin Half again this spring in nearby Kenosha, and although it’s not really “in the area,” the Green Bay Half in May. Green Bay was a little pricey at $65 considering the only really special aspect is running in Lambeau Field, so I doubt this will be a repeat race for me in the future. I’m also doing a small half marathon in my hometown of Cedar Rapids, IA late this summer. Other than the hometowner, my only destination race is Grandma’s Marathon in June. I would love to travel more for races, but as you alluded to, the costs add up so fast and i just can’t afford it. I would like to do the REVEL Salt Lake City race you did in fall 2016, when I anticipate being ready to try for my BQ

    • I’ll have to check out about the Milwaukee Marathon, hadn’t heard about that one. Having run through Dodger Stadium and Angels’ Stadium, I would be interested in running through Lambeau Field, although if I go to GB, it’ll most likely be for a Packers game. Have you done the Summerfest Rock ‘n Soul race? Good luck on your WI races (and let me know how they go).

      • Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor

        Thanks! I did Rock and Sole this past summer. The course was nice, it was well organized and we were lucky to get a beautiful day so I had a great experience, but I likely will not do it again (at least not the half marathon). It’s just hard to justify paying $65 (early price!) to run on the same trails and streets I run on for free all the time during training. But obviously, my perspective as a Milwaukee resident colors my opinion of this race, and I will admit that while the price is steep for what you get on race day, it does include a Summerfest ticket.

        The Milwaukee Marathon is part of the brand new PNC Milwaukee Running Festival this year, which includes a 1 mile, 5K, half and full marathon on the weekend of October 31-Nov 1. It will be kind of cool to run an inaugural race, and I’m very interested to see how everything goes!

      • I’ve considered Rock ‘n’ Sole. The timing is good and I like the idea of getting a Summerfest ticket (haven’t been in a long long time). It might be on my list for 2016. And you’ll have to tell me how the Milwaukee Marathon goes (inaugural races are always fun).

  2. Prepare for rant.

    I’ve never done a Disney race, don’t ever plan to, and I honestly don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. It’s not just the ridiculous pricing, though that does play a (small) part. I’d cheerfully drop $199 to run a significant race like the Boston Marathon, NYC, or even Chicago. Those are landmark events, respected in the sporting world, and I’d love to participate someday (if my qualifying time ever improves to that level). But the bigger issue, and this is my own opinion and I’m not judging others, is that I feel that Disney races pretty much turn the sport of distance running into a sideshow or even a circus. One of the absolute COOLEST things about running marathons is that the everyday Joe like me and you can “compete” on the same playing field as legends like Meb Keflezighi, Kara Goucher, Ryan Hall, and others. This is the equivalent of the weekend golf hacker being allowed in the US Open or the 22-year old hot rodder from down the street driving his Camaro in the Daytona 500. It’s an honor, even if Hall and Meb are going to beat me by about two hours. And as such, I think we owe them and the sport a certain amount of respect. Running 26.2 (or 13.1) miles dressed as Lumiere doesn’t quite do that. Again, I’m not trying to be judgmental here, and while I can’t see myself ever doing so, I’m not particularly opposed to the simpler Superman tech shirt and flashy socks or women in tutus if that’s what puts the hop in their Hokas. I’m referring to “runners” who pay more attention to costumes than carbo-loading, aren’t that concerned about even finishing let alone setting a PR, and stop every two miles for mid-race photo ops with Goofy. God forbid, someone enter a Disney race with a time goal in mind and end up having to spend six miles dodging selfie-taking Cinderella wannabes. From what others have told me, most Disney races end up with more obstacles than a Spartan race. No thank you. I’ll take the three Rock ‘n’ Roll Races for the price of one Disney any day.

    Thanks for listening.

    • Rant away.

      The Disney races can be pretty polarizing. Some people swear by them while others swear at them. I agree with a lot of what you have to say. I treat Disney races like a separate beast. They at times do feel more like a glorified Disney parade as opposed to a race. I’ve been frustratingly stuck behind walls of walkers (who somehow manage to put themselves in the fastest corrals) and had to dodge selfie-fanatics who put on the brakes without warning. And I shake my head and wonder why anyone would want to stop for 15 minutes during a race in order to line up for a “running” photo with Lilo or Stitch. You’re running a race, right? So run.

      As a result, I never approach a Disney race as a PR candidate, but rather a race where I work on other aspects of my running, such as breathing mechanics. It’s a race where I’m willing to try something different: new food, new gear, a different race strategy… a beta test, if you will. And it’s also one race where I do take the blinders off a bit. The costumes people wear can be really elaborate and cool. And it was pretty sweet for the Star Wars Half Marathon.

      And the one positive thing I do consider when it comes to Disney races and their mobile party atmosphere is it might get someone who wouldn’t normally do a 10K or half marathon to consider giving it a try. Someone who is intimidated by the thought of going that far might just give it a go if their friends egg them on and they get to wear a costume and take numerous breaks for photos with Mickey. If it helps a couch potato to be less potato-y, then it’s a good thing.

      All that said, Disney races are not the norm for me. When I race, I want to push myself, to see how far I’ve come and how far I can possibly go. It’s a race against myself and I want to give it my all (no time for costumes and selfies). I can go to Disneyland the next weekend.

  3. You hit on a great point that I hadn’t even considered, where you said “if it helps a couch potato . . . ” Excellent way to look at it, and in those cases, more power to them. It’s like when I was a teacher and a handful of parents were upset because R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” series of books was “too scary” or even “satanic.” Hey, if it’s age appropriate and makes 9 year old boys want to read, I’m on board completely.

  4. Scott: It’s unfortunate that this didn’t make it past my spam filter, Scott, but it should not happen again. You are now on my known senders list. Thanks for putting things in perspective. As it happens I am running my first (only) 100 miler, this year. (My 200th Marathon on my 50th Birthday, Rio Del Lago, November 7th). I have been a bit up in arms about the entry fee (of $275), and remarked to friends, jokingly: “no wonder I haven’t run an ultra marathon yet, that’s a herculean entry fee.” In fact, to achieve the milestone event for budgeting purposes, I am cutting down on registration fees for marathons. In fact, I will be “pacing” some of the intervening marathons…(comp’d entries). The timing is impeccably coincidental because an average just one marathon every 6 weeks is needed to get to the target milestone anyway. (That’s about 1/3rd my pace of last year). I haven’t ran any of the Disney events yet. For comparison purposes, and even without the package deal, I received an email today for a $75 entry for the Rock N Roll Halloween Half. (Also, a Half at Lake Powell Arizona, with a military discount that amounts to a $65 entry, –an event with some very nice swag on what seems to be quite the aesthetic course.) Naturally, however, the travel costs negate any discounts. Be that as it may, thanks for the cost per mile analysis. I do feel better about R.D.L.: $2.75 per mile isn’t so bad, … (*or maybe I do.. -you could say I am paying $9 plus an hour to run for 30 hours assuming I take to the limit….) Eddie Hahn

    Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2015 10:02:54 +0000 To:

    • Thanks Eddie…. glad you pulled me out of the trash. Jeez, you’re doing your 200th marathon on you 50th B-day. Really impressive, along with the 100 miler (I can’t even comprehend running that). Costs are a bit out of hand. I did see the Rock ‘n’ Roll LA Half, not sure if I’ll be doing that as I have a half marathon the day before. My saving grace is being an ambassador to two race series (which comps me several races). Disney is just too darn much to justify. Have a good one!

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