Early bird entries opened for the 2017 Reading half marathon and you'll never guess the early bird price for non-affiliated runners: £45!! Yes, FORTY FIVE POUNDS!!… for a half marathon!! 😲
As you'd expect, people turned to Twitter to express their disbelief which soon resulted in a change…
The organisers of the Reading Half Marathon have blamed an 'admin error' on the initial increased early bird fee to sign up for the 2017 race.
Runners expressed their outrage when a price of £45 was announced to enter next year's race - an increase of £11 on this year's early bird fee.
However, race director Judith Manson says this was due to an administrative error and the entry fee has been reduced to £38 for non-affiliated runners and £34 if you are a UKA affiliated member.
She said: "Please accept our apologies for an admin error that may have caused some initial pricing confusion.
"We’ve had a small number of complaints so I would like to confirm the 2017 early bird entry fee is £38 for non affiliated and £34 for UKA affiliated.
— Reading Half Marathon 2017 early bird entry fee rise of £11 was 'admin error'.
I think the "admin error" here is they revealed their cards too early. I suspect £45 is the normal extortionate "non-early bird" price they plan to charge closer to the event.
Big business has been putting its grubby paws all over great events in the USA for many years, cranking the prices up with little reason and no improvement in return for the runners or local community, and now it's becoming more and more prevalent in the UK, with the likes of Vitality leading the way.
Vitality events are some of the most expensive races, per mile/km, in the UK now and the local clubs, community or runners don't get very much for the extra cost. The Reading and Oxford half-marathons used to be lovely affordable, moderately sized "clubby" races before Vitality got involved. Now they're hellish expensive, big money-making ventures which somehow pull in significant numbers of runners - maybe this little "ooops" may make people think twice, but I doubt it.
I'd love to say that I won't be running any of these big business sponsored events in the future, but I can't as some of the races on my bucket list are now heavily sponsored with silly entry fees with little in return. I can say that I will always choose a smaller club-run, UKA licensed event, over one of these rip-off events wherever possible, and continue to hope the likes of the Wokingham half and the Abingdon marathon, both brilliant, affordable well organised club events, don't become money-making events for big business.