Budgeting for the Cost of the Boston Marathon

Use this guide to plan for what you need to cross the finish line

For many runners, crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon is the ultimate goal. But you can't just pin on a number and go. It can take years of training, preparation, and racing in Boston Marathon qualification runs to participate in the big race. The total cost of attending the Boston Marathon and preparing for earlier qualifying races means that you may need to start setting aside funds earlier in your training. But, if you plan ahead and use the right financial tools, you'll be better prepared to run toward Boylston Street.

On your mark: Preparation and training

Start by adding up all your expected costs, including training, running in qualification races and racing in Boston. Examine your normal spending patterns during training, race entry fees and of course, travel and accommodations for the Boston Marathon (we've outlined a few below). Then, consider opening a personal checking account for the specific purpose of covering training and racing expenses. One Deposit Checking from Citizens Bank® is a great account to use when you're budgeting for a specific goal, as there's no minimum balance and the monthly maintenance fee is waived with one deposit of any amount each month. Plus, you can use our mobile banking app when you're out shopping so you can double check your account balance before making a purchase.

  • Running shoes. Running doesn't require a lot of equipment, but it does require the right pair of high-quality running shoes, especially with the number of miles you'll be logging in preparation for race day. Whatever your fitness level, it's important to find the right shoes for you. If you've been training for a while, you probably know what works, and you also know how many miles you can log until your shoes are ready to be replaced. If this will be your first experience with distance training, online running shoe guides are helpful, but you may be better off going to a running store and working with an experienced salesperson to find a shoe that's best suited for your size, gait and running style. Running shoes start around $50 and can cost upwards of $200, and you should be prepared to go through several pairs during training.

  • Apparel. When race day rolls around, the last thing you want to do is try something new. Over the last year or more you'll have logged thousands of miles, and you know what apparel you're most comfortable in. You'll also probably have worn through several outfits. From cold gear to heat gear to compression sleeves, there are many apparel costs you'll need to work into your budget. Set aside funds for both training and race day apparel.

  • Running gear. There are likely a few additional things you may need as you start building your mileage. A hydration belt or other water carrier will help you stay fueled on long, hot runs. You may want a belt with compartments for your ID, keys, running snacks or gels and more. Anti-chafe balm or gel is another must-have for long runs, and if you're injury prone, Kinesio tape may help facilitate healing as you push through training. Foam rollers to reduce lactic acid buildup can also come in handy, but really it's about whatever works for you.

  • Training expenses. Preparing for Boston Marathon qualification runs and eventually the race itself will require extensive training year-round. There's no 'one size fits all' way to condition for a marathon - everyone is different, and the needs of a beginner will be unique from those of an experienced runner. No matter what your skill level, you may want to consider a gym membership for strength training and cross training, or just treadmill workouts when snow covers the roads. You may also consider working with a personal trainer to help you reach your race goals. You can use your personal checking account to set up automatic payments or send money directly to your trainer by using PopMoney.

Get set: Qualifying and registering for the Boston Marathon

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon isn't easy - the race has strict time requirements that can be a challenge even for experienced runners. It's not uncommon for athletes to make several attempts in Boston Marathon qualification races before they qualify for the race. Each race can easily cost around $100 and may require some travel or additional expenses, as not all local races meet Boston standards. So, you'll want to plan ahead to make sure there is room in your budget for entry fees, transportation, accommodations and more. You'll also want to pick qualifying races that are early enough in the year for you to make the fall registration deadline for Boston. Expect to pay close to $200 for the Boston Marathon entry fee.

Go: Running in the Boston Marathon

All your training has paid off and you're Boston bound. As you make final preparations, replace any shoes or gear in advance so you'll have plenty of time to break them in, and try to book your travel and accommodations as far ahead of time as possible. Since you'll be visiting, you might want to take the opportunity to see Boston on a budget. Make sure you have enough cash on hand to cover not only Boston Marathon costs, but also your travel expenses, discretionary spending and any incidentals that may come up while you're in Boston. If you need to find an ATM or Citizens Bank branch while in Boston, our mobile banking app can help you find a location close to your hotel, along the Freedom Trail, at a post-race pub or even along the marathon route.

Plan for race day costs and more with a personal checking account

It takes strength, dedication and planning to make it to the Boston Marathon, but you have what it takes to cross the finish line. And Citizens Bank is ready to help with its award-winning mobile banking app and online banking options that make it easy to budget, pay bills, transfer funds and check the balance of your personal checking account while training for the big race. To learn more about using options like our One Deposit Checking account to manage your Boston Marathon budget, contact a Citizens Bank branch near you.


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