Next April there will be two races in DC that require entry via lottery: Credit Union Cherry Blossom (CUCB) 10 Miler, now in its 41st year, and the inaugural Nike Women’s DC Half Marathon (NWMDC). Both races will accept 15,000 runners. And that’s where the similarities end.
Because while the entry fee for CUCB is a fair (perhaps even low!) $40, NWMDC is charging $160 for the extra 3.1 miles. “Oh, but you get a Tiffany necklace handed to you buy a guy in a tux!” exclaimed one friend when I told her I thought the entry fee was ludicrous. Well, that’s nice. But is it worth $160?
I’ve written about expensive races before, and I thought we were in a recession, but I’m flabbergasted by the number of women (many of them my friends!) who are clamoring to enter this race. Note that this is the first year Nike is holding the race in DC and they know they need a lottery. One of my friends who entered said that she’s tried THREE times to get in the San Francisco race, to no avail. (If you’re a two-time consecutive CUCB lottery loser, you get an automatic entry for the 3rd year.) And when NWM asked runners on their Facebook page where people were traveling from for the race, responses included Long Beach, CA and Honolulu, HI! Guess they couldn’t get into the San Francisco race, either.
Granted, NWMDC does benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. But CUCB supports the Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals. Two races for two worthy causes. One costs $4 per mile, the other $12.21. Ka-Ching.
I’ve run CUCB 4 times, most recently last year. It remains one of my favorite races. It is well-organized, the course is beautiful, the spectators plentiful. People complain that it’s crowded. I respond that I always have someone to run with and someone to chase. CUCB accepts 15,000 runners. Likewise, NWMDC “will host 15,000 fierce women” although if you’re a guy you’re allowed to enter since not allowing men would be discrimination. Just watch out for the 15,000 fierce women who may not want you there.
What do you think about the $160 race entry fee?
Are you entering either lottery?
Do you think races are getting too expensive?