Seems this discussion comes up frequently when the subject of race entry fees and travel expenses is mentioned. Just the other day a friend posted on FB about entering the Chicago Marathon and several comments were generated so I thought I would expand on my thoughts of the subject.
Being a man of modest income I have limited resources to invest in my leisure activities and therefore have to budget my travel and race entries so I can certainly appreciate getting the most bang for the buck.
Some argue that there are enough events locally that traveling more than a couple of hours is unnecessary and there are plenty of free and low priced events. Yes, that is true , we are surely blessed in this area. Over the last decade I have participated in many of those. We have the shirt runs with the Mangum TC several times a year as well as many FA type runs all over the State throughout the year. One of my favorite runs is Catherine's Furnace at Massanutten Va put on by the VHTRC. Great course over beautiful mountain scenery, great camaraderie and a post run picnic all for the cost of the gas to drive 5 hours.
But sometimes a guy has to expand his horizons and see and experience new things. Seem that I was born to dream of wandering to see and explore new horizons. As far back as I can remember as a child I loved reading books about far away places, watching tv shows and movies and always wondering what it would be like to go to those places. Throw in a love of running and a schedule of races all over the country and the hard thing to do is to decide which few I can actually participate in.
So over the past several years that I have gotten into ultrarunning, I have planned my vacations around going to a couple of key races from my A list. When I do that it makes the actual cost of the event seem irrelevant to the overall cost of the trip. This has enabled me to see some wonderful parts of the country that I otherwise might not have ever seen. I have never flown to a race that I didn't spend a week away from home touring except once in 2007 when I ran the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler usually saving the weekend trips for a race within a 4 -5 hour drive at most.
I guess really the simple answer is that it's never too much if you enjoy the experience and it gives you a lifetime of memories.