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How expensive is it to run a marathon?

By October 15, 2017 April 11th, 2019 No Comments

Running a marathon is neither easy nor cheap. I mean, just think about the expense and it will leave you drained. Many big and small expenses will keep tugging at your purse; take it as a warning and be ready to spend. For a first off, here are the main expenses you will incur:

Entrance fee:

The organizers of a marathon usually fix the entrance fee. Local or low-key marathons usually charge about $50-$60. However, the larger events can even charge about $300. The more prestigious the race, the higher the entry fee. There are times when you can opt to run on a charity team. In such cases, you enter free of cost, but you might have to raise funds ranging between $2,000 and $5,000.


The location of the event also affects the overall cost of joining a marathon. Much depends on whether the marathon is local or international. The latter will incur international flights back and forth, increasing overall costs. On the other hand, local events have negligible transportation costs.

Marathon training:

You need to train well before signing up for a marathon–and they are not cheap. Programs begin at $100. These programs are designed to match your level–beginner, intermediate or advanced. Decide what your level is and then get the training.

Qualifying costs:

You need to qualify to run a marathon. This could mean either running to a pre-determined time or completing several other races. These events could set you back by anything between $60 and $300 each.

Training gear:

You need not buy workout wear if you have them. However, to buy good ones will hold you in good stead on long runs. If you train in the summer, mix and match shorts, tank tops, running hat and leggings, which could cost you about $900, depending on the brands you choose. Similarly, to be appropriately dressed for winter training, be prepared to shell out about $350 on tops, gloves and a warm headband, among other things.


If you are a newbie marathoner, you might like to include travel with your destination races, to make it more worthwhile. The cost of flying into your destination, hotel stay and other related expenses could set you back by a further $600 or more, depending on your choice of destination.


Training shoes are an absolute must. In fact, runners buy two pairs–one for training and the other just for the race. At bargain sales, you can find something good for $60-$100 a pair.


You also need to snack on healthy stuff like electrolytes, energy bars and Gatorade, among others. Depending on your choices, you could pay $150 on these.


There is a wide ocean of these, so do not go berserk buying whatever’s touted as an absolute necessity for you. Be judicious. You can buy a GPS tracker ($45), sports watch ($45), sunglasses, headbands and hair clips ($150). Buy five pairs of good quality socks ($55 to $75).


If you bought, everything listed above and more, you might just pay about $5,000. If you still feel running a marathon is worth the money you are investing, well then, go for it.