More DIY Racing

I'm paying $500 for the pleasure—if you want to call it that—of competing in Ironman Coeur d'Alene. That strikes me as hefty. Sure it costs money to put on an event. Insurance, security, that mediocre medal that now sits in a drawer, somewhere: the expenses add up. And then there's the profit line on the organizer's budget. Official I-dot-M Ironman events are owned by North American Sports, a private company, and they aren't in it for the sport of it. It's bidness.

There are alternatives, and next time I do an iron-distance triathlon, if there is a next time, it won't be an NAS event. I'll do Full Vineman, which costs $175 less and remains wide open for entries seven months before the race. Plus, if you decide six weeks before the big day that you've got to back out, they return all but $100 of your race fee. With Ironman, you have to sign up a year in advance, and the cancellation policy can be summed up as: Refund?

But it's not just the Ironman races that are out of hand. Several weeks ago I announced my snub of the Wildflower half-iron tri and its $220 fee (remarkably, the event will go on as planned). Then today I jumped online to sign up for the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon. This is a little jaunt I'd often thought about doing when I lived in those favored parts, and after reading an article about the race in Running Times last night, decided to finally go for it. I noted how well it fit in into my '09 schedule, coming one month after IMCDA. And I knew that after all the complication and whohaw of Ironman, a simple, pure half-marathon would really hit the spot.

Seventy-five smackers.

For a lousy half-marathon run!

Boston this year is $110, but Boston is world famous, the greatest marathon in history. You've got to qualify for it. It's a thrill-of-a-lifetime kind of thing. Napa-to-Sonoma is a nice little run, but, I'm sorry, it's not $75 nice. Hell, I could almost buy a whole bottle of Napa wine for that kind of money. So I said no. Just as I'll make up my own half-iron tri to take the place of Wildflower, I'll do my own half-marathon. Cancellation policy: Very relaxed. Plus! Results available the moment the race ends.


  1. We are dealing with supply and demand. When demand continues to outstrip supply in IM entries, one could actually argue that the prices are too low.

    And I like to think that we are not paying $500 for the IM event. We are actually paying 500/12 = $41.67 per month for a year of fun.

  2. We are dealing with supply and demand. When demand continues to outstrip supply in IM entries, one could actually argue that the prices are too low.

    Exactly. Which is why, after IMCDA '09, I'll be doing my part to reduce the demand component of the equation.

  3. 2009 is my last year of paid-for Ironman+ distance events. You should come and do TotalMan in 2010--3 days of all the swimming (Day 1), biking (Day 2) and running (Day 3) you think you can do. I'm thinking about early June, someplace in the Midwest.

  4. I have a feeling TotalMan would kick my ass, which of course makes me keenly interested! Maybe I can convince a buddy of mine to come out. He's only one-third a man -- a cyclist -- but he's from the Chicago area, is a great guy to travel with, and could be up for it. That'd be a gas.