I was analyzing my 2010 race plans and costs to see if I should add in a few more races when I got a call. It was from the Comfort Suites in Duluth saying that they had a room available. We had our choice of a whirlpool room $289, fireplace room $309, or a room in their new building for $329. Now that is per night and it does not include taxes.
But first let me give just a few more details, it all started years ago when I ran my first marathon at Grandmas back in 1993. I ran it 10 years in a row and then missed a year and added in a couple more, so my Grandmas completion total sits at 12. Needless to say it is one of my favorite races. For many of the years that I had run Grandmas we usually stayed at the Edgewater along London Road. After my last Grandmas where we spent close to $700 for the Edgewater (that was in 2006, when they added their new waterpark), we figured if I ever did the race again, we should stay in Canal Park as the cost was not that more expensive and it would be a delight to just drive into Canal Park and park. We could then walk to the expo, watch or run the 5k, take in the boardwalk and the beauty of Lake Superior and the best reason of all, I could run the marathon and then hang a left and walk about 100 feet back to the hotel. I have to admit I love Grandmas, I love Duluth, so should we go back? So it was with that in mind that this past summer when we were in Duluth, I added our name to the Grandmas weekend wait lists at many of the hotels in Canal Park. For those that don't know, all of the hotels in Duluth (and most within 75 miles) sell out for the race so if you ever want to run Grandmas it can take some planning.
Since 2006, I have been boycotting Grandmas Marathon because of the costs. It is because of the cost for Grandmas that I started running marathons in other states, we figured instead of spending $1000 in Duluth why not go to 2 or 3 other states and run. So with the thought of spending the money to go up to Duluth, I went back and added it to my 2010 race cost projections and here is what I came up with (for the sake of simplicity, I have not included gas, food or any other extra costs, just the cost of the race (+processing fees) and hotels if needed or required).
Current 2010 projected race cost:
So based on costs, it is hard to justify adding Grandmas. The two night minimum hotel fee and the inflation for the rooms is still a hard one to digest. To think that I can run 3 50 milers, 2 50k's, 2 marathons and a triathlon for the same cost as Grandmas Marathon that too is hard to digest. Now to be fair, for Grandmas you can stay in a UMD dorm pretty inexpensively, you can try to camp at a state park or many other places in the area or you could drive up the morning of the race, oh you can't do that as there is no packet pick available on race morning. I have debated before driving to Duluth (~2 1/2 hours), picking up my packet on Friday, driving back home and then driving back Saturday morning for the race but that just seemed like a bit too much hassle for me.
So much as I would like to add one more Grandmas as it would get me to my magic number of 13 Grandmas completed, I think instead I will just wait a few more years and run it in 2013. Somehow that seems to make sense.