New York City Marathon – Busting the budget


Since becoming a serious runner, I’ve always thought about what it would be like to compete in the New York City Marathon.  Originally from upstate NY, it would mean running in my birth state.  It would mean a celebration, running the five boroughs of NYC would be just incredible.

Running the NYCM means a lot more, however.  Mostly I am talking about the costs associated with running there.  For the average person running NY, that means traveling there, staying there, and the race itself.  Is it a dream of mine?  Sure it is.  Big races are a big attraction to most serious runners.  To be a part of such an iconic race would be just a dream come true.  But, what about the costs involved?  My wallet would take a serious punch if I got in,  can I afford it?

Let’s look at some of the reasonable and average costs associated with running this event.

Entry fee: $255

Airfare: $260

Lodging: $600

Ok, so just to get there, stay there and run it would be a minimum cost of $1,115.  A hefty price tag, for sure.

There are extras though….the schwag at the expo, taxis, how about food?  Ok, so I am really just guessing here, but I am thinking the “extras” could cost about $500.

So, for me, it would cost over $1,600 to run the New York City Marathon.  Unfortunately I cannot afford to run this race, but can still dream about it, can’t I?

I would be interested to hear if anyone has run NYCM, and how much it cost you.  It may help me to make decisions in the future.  Thanks in advance.


Maybe one day I will see the finish line in New York.

19 thoughts on “New York City Marathon – Busting the budget

  1. What about setting aside $50 a month or more until you saved it? Sure it would take 3 years but you’d get to fulfill your dream. I’m not at the point of marathons yet but NYCM would be great!

  2. My sister is entering the lottery with a group of people so if a bunch get in, they will share costs and sleep several to a room, travel together, etc. It may not work for many people (like mine, I know my husband would want to come, then there’s those pesky kids), but it’s an idea if you know someone else who gets in or who wants to go. It’s absolutely crazy how much some of these races cost!

    • Very true. I entered the lottery a few years ago when I knew my brother would be running it, but I didn’t get in. I don’t want to enter a lottery year after year and be disappointed.

  3. How many nights is the $600 for? I live in NYC, so I know it can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Try airbnb and Priceline to find cheaper lodging. You don’t ever need to take a taxi. Our public transit is good and runs 24-7. Use Yelp to find good, cheap restaurants.

    I hope you can run the NYC marathon one day.

    • I was just basing that on a two night stay, but I am sure you can find a cheaper place. I just don’t know the city, so chose an average price on for my estimates. Best to find someone to bunk with in the city, probably.

  4. It is the same for a lot of the Iconic runs, but if it is a dream you can build a vacation around it and save towards it. If you look for cheaper accommodation, avoid taxi’s and eat cheap you can probably save a bit. Look at hostels instead of hotels?

  5. I feel the same way about Big Sur or Marine Corps. These are big races, with mythic running stories about them – and it’s expensive as heck to get to and stay at them. I’ve lucked out with finding friends that live near some races and staying there and by staying in the expensive -near by hotel the night before and night of, when needed. Most of my races have been seriously local though, and I want to travel! Why is life expensive?

  6. Money is definitely a problem but can be overcome. Its ridiculous how much high profile races cost these days?!? I’m battling to get money together for low profile ones :):) I’m sure there’ll be a runner or runners that would be able to help you out with your plight ,we all like to help one another. You just have to ask :):)

  7. This is something I’ve been struggling with when it comes to destination races. I want to do one out West really bad, like Leadville, but the cost is just ridiculous when you add it up. Come to think of it, the cost of most everything is ridiculous these days…..

  8. Hi Paul,

    I did NYC in 2009 and it wasn’t even my idea–I signed up with my girlfriend, who didn’t get in. I was telling my folks, and my dad asked if I was still doing to do the race. My mom said, “Yes, she already paid!” and my dad said, “You have to PAY to do the NYC Marathon?!” Well, I steered that conversation away as quickly as I could! 😉 Registration was $175 then, and I was fortunate that I could stay with my brother in Brooklyn, so with a cheap airfare, it was not as expensive as it is for most, probably only $300-350. Still, I rarely do travel races because of the cost–even the BRM with the free entry will cost more than I usually spend, on lodging, gas and food. I tend to like the local, low-key kinds of races though, and I don’t like being away from my family often, so it works. I guess you could map out your yearly race budget ahead of time and if you get into NYC, opt for fewer or all local or free FA races the rest of the year, to balance it out. My one expensive event a year is the Blue Ridge Relay (probably $350) but it is so much fun that I’m willing to opt out of other travel races.

    Steph J.

    • I am mixed when it comes to local versus travel races. I really love both, just can’t afford to do them all. The thing I am really good at is signing up early, or waiting to sign up for races during a discount day, etc… I signed up for three marathons last June on National Running Day, when tons of races were offering deep’ deep discounts. That day I saved upwards of $250 on registrations.

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