Once again I find myself in San Francisco for work and I realised the American distrust for free extends to running too.
On Sunday morning I went for my last long run before the London Marathon and ran the length of the Embarcadero. I like the route as it's nice and flat, except for the big hill round Fort Mason, and has great views of the bridge and Alcatraz. It's also a great sunny route so I can top-up on my vitamin D at the same time. Anyway, my run was cut short because of an event starting and finishing at Crissy Field, the Presidio 10 Mile/10KM/5KM. I knew this event was on but chose not to enter any of them as a) I didn't want to tempt fate by racing so close to London, b) I had other plans for a long run already scheduled and c) I objected to paying what I consider an exorbitant entry fee. And it's this last point that I want to come back to.
The 5K race had 727 finishers, all of whom paid between $35 and $45 to run those 5 kilometers. $35??!! And all they got for their money and time was a T-shirt. Saturday morning, Crissy Field parkrun, which takes place in the exact same place, which costs absolutely NOTHING had 19 finishers.
What's the affliction with free? parkrun is not an inferior product. Yes, you don't get a T-shirt and medal after each run, but you do after 50, 100, 250 etc but that's not the point. It's about getting out and having fun and keeping healthy all for the handsome price of nothing, zip, nada, not a penny. And best of all, officially timed results each and every time.