Have you got a list of marathons you’d love to do?
When I first started running I set my sights on completing a marathon. Living in Sydney made it easy to do, with the Sydney Running Festival being in my back yard.
But after that I became aware of other races around the world, and these drew my interest. I didn’t even know if it was possible to run them, but they looked amazing, and I wanted to be a part of them.
My first overseas marathon was really a case of serendipity. I was going to be in L.A. for a conference that finished on a Friday, and I found that San Diego was hosting a Rock n Roll Marathon on the Sunday.
The stars seemed to align so I entered and ran.
And I was hooked.
The atmosphere was so much bigger than at home.
The crowds lining the streets were big. There were bands and DJ’s every mile or two. School kids came out to support the runners including the cheer leaders.
I was still running the same distance, and I still had the same race goals, but the experience of the race was different.
I love running on home soil, but with our population size the number of entrants in our races is much smaller, as are the crowds of supporters.
I’m slowly working my way through my list (although it never seems to get smaller!).
I’d never really stopped to work out what it will cost to tick them all off. But I met with a couple recently who presented me with their bucket list and asked me to develop a plan to make it happen.
The list is pretty simple, but it’s fantastic. Their aim is to run all 6 of the World Marathon Majors, and to run a marathon on all 7 continents:
We are planning for them to run one of these a year over the next 9 years, culminating in the trip to Antarctica.
They have already run several races in Australia so have covered this continent.
The potential problem for them is these races are the ones many runners aspire to complete, so competition for entries is intense. For instance, there were 30,000 entries available for the 2015 Tokyo marathon and they received nearly 310,000 applications.
So how do you get access to them?
Some people who have been involved in running clubs for many years may have contacts who can help them secure an entry.
Elite runners and high performing age group runners may have access to preferential entries. New York for instance has some places available for 45-49 year old males with a marathon time of better than 3:05 (females 3:38).
But for those of us who sit behind the lead pack you can try your luck in a ballot entry (for instance New York), and if you are unsuccessful initially, keep trying.
Or you can use a travel partner with access to guaranteed entries.
I have used Travelling Fit for 3 events so far, with another later this year and I highly recommend them. They have access to guaranteed entries at all of these races.
Please note, I don’t receive any financial rewards for recommending them.
I spoke to Mari-Mar Walton, the founder of Travelling Fit, to help me price this list so we could budget for them each year. The costs we have allowed for are economy class flights, the marathon package (which generally includes 3-5 nights accommodation, race entry, and a pre-race dinner) plus additional accommodation costs and travel expenses for approximately two weeks in each destination.
The total cost of pursuing this dream we estimate at $185,000 in today’s terms, or $20,500 per year. Some of the events are a little cheaper, some (like Antarctica) are more expensive. You may also be able to save some money with cheaper accommodation costs before and after the event.
You can also ‘option them up’ if you would like, the obvious starting point being Business Class airfares.
Now that we know the cost of achieving their goals, we can budget for it and they can see the impact on their other objectives. Based on completing this list over the next 9 years, they will need to save $1,713 per month, or $395 per week. If they felt this was beyond their means, they could look to extend the timeframe to complete the list. If they traveled to one event every two years their savings goal would be reduced to $197.50 per week. They are in control and they can make decisions about what trade-offs they would like to make. Importantly, we can design a plan for them to achieve this, while still working towards their long term financial security.
Now while some people might think this an incredible extravagance or indulgence (not those still reading though I’m sure!), it’s small change compared to the cost of reaching the end of your life and realising your life has not been fulfilling. Finding an outlet for your passion (and sharing it with your partner) is also much cheaper than a divorce.
So go forth and run (or ride, or swim, or whatever else you are passionate about) – it might be good for your life, your relationship and your finances!
Important Note – this estimate of costs is just the costs of travelling to the events. We have an upcoming article looking at what it actually costs to be an athlete.