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RE: $40 for local 4 mile Turkey Trot is absurd
$40 is up to the individual but your post illustrates why I rarely race. Maybe I'm an old curmudgeon but I don't want to have to pay for a frickin' DJ and bogus city race permit fees as part of my entry. Moreover if you as a RD are selecting a crappy shirt just cuz it's cheap, why even bother? Race insurance so you don't get sued and advertising to attract yet more 15 minute a mile walkers doesn't benefit racers either.
We all know it costs money to put on a race, but almost none of the expense you listed is really money well spent. If we are just talking about what you need for a race (cops/safe course, permit, and I'll give you portajohns), you're only at $6 per person. The OP was talking about a $40 race. Anybody with any sense can see $40 is crazy for a 5k or 4 miler with thousands of entrants.
Also, if you are raising money for charity, say what it is so people know (either a fixed donation or per runner). I hate races that say they are raising money for a cause, then it turns out they only donated $100 out of $30K in entry fees.
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