How To Make Money Running Marathons? A Complete Guide
Ever wondered how much a professional runner makes?
In this article, we look at how professionals make money running marathons. We also discuss how you can make money running as an amateur and the current marathon cash prizes on offer.
How To Make Money Running Marathons?
For the top runners, there are multiple ways to make money running a marathon. The first and the most common way is to place in the top ten in an established marathon. However, depending on the event, they may pay down to 20th place if you are lucky.
Alternatively, appearance fees generate income for a runner too. Since most top marathons want the best runners on the start line, they often pay appearance fees to some runners. That means a handful of the runners may receive anywhere from $1,000 up to $10,000 to turn up and run.
While this may seem odd to some, this is how the biggest marathons manage to put together a strong field of runners. With more well-known runners, they can generate more publicity for sponsors and get more people on the start line.
For a few top marathon runners, they may also get incentivized by a sponsor. This is another way how to make money running marathons as a professional. If one of their sponsors is the main sponsor of an event, the company may pay a bonus to the individual if they win or provide a bonus to just run at the event.
Overall, if you’re a world-class marathoner, you can expect to make a decent amount of money from running a marathon each year.
Marathon Cash Prizes – UPDATED 2021
Marathon cash prizes often differ between events because of the size of the competition. Although other factors such as the importance of the event, the sponsors, media coverage, and the quality of runners can all play a factor in the prize money available.
Since its inception on 27 November 1998, the Dubai Marathon has offered the highest marathon cash prizes in history for both men and women. The prize money was once up to $1,316,000, with bonuses for any records broken by both male and female runners. Although the prize money has declined over the past years, you can still expect to walk away with $20,000 if you win the event.
While Dubai used to be the highest-paying marathon available, there are plenty of other events on the calendar that pay large sums of money if you win. These events include New York Marathon $100,000, London Marathon $55,000, Chicago Marathon $100,000, and Boston Marathon $150,000.
While many second-tier marathons pay above $10,000 if you win, the marathons stated above are the most important for a professional marathon runner outside the Olympics. The prestige and recognition that comes with winning one catapults a runner’s career enormously. Bringing them in more endorsements and appearance fees in the process.
While the marathon cash prizes may seem like a lot, you must also remember most professional marathon runners often only compete twice a year over the distance. Running a marathon puts a lot of stress on the body, and each event they target takes a long period of build-up.
How Much Does A Professional Runner Make?
According to a study done by the Track and Field Athletes Association, only a small number of runners earn more than $80,000 per year. The majority of professional runners earn less than $20,000 per year. This money usually comes from shoe sponsorships and personal sponsors, although the top runners will also receive appearance fees.
While a small portion of professional runners earns six figures, these runners often take most of the appearance fees, leaving little for the second tear runner, which usually makes up most of the professional field.
Unfortunately, this is the same when it comes to shoe sponsorships. Companies like Nike pay top athletes top dollar to wear the swish. Unfortunately for the second-tier professional, it doesn’t leave much in the bank for them.
Prize money also brings in a small amount for the average professional runner, but this is relatively low compared to other sports. Most decent events with prize money will pay into the top 10, and if your lucky, the top 20. The prize money could range anywhere from $500 for winning a small competition, then up to $100,000 for a well-known Marathon. Then the rest of the prize money will trickle down into the top 10 or 20.
So How Much Does A Professional Runner Make? Your typical professional runner will earn anywhere between $20,000 to $30,000 a year. A small number of runners will earn slightly more with $80,000 per year, and the top professionals (Marathon winners, Olympic Gold medallists etc) will earn above $200,000 per year.
How To Get Paid For Running?
Many runners have a passion that goes beyond training each day. It may be through coaching athletes, writing a blog, or looking at the latest sport science studies. Either way, why not spend this time turning your passion into a passive income?
How to get paid for running – You might be thinking, I’m not fast enough to become a professional runner, or even fast enough to earn prize money. Luckily, even for the slowest runners, there are numerous ways to get paid from running, even without standing on the start line. So let’s look at the main reasons why you want to get paid from running.
– You’re passionate about running and fitness.
– You’re passionate about health.
– You enjoy learning more about the sport of running.
– You have an entrepreneurial drive.
– You’re looking for a way to supplement your income.
– Want to solve a problem for other runners.
– You want to share your knowledge.
If you tick any of the above reasons, then your already hard at work thinking of ways to build a running-related business. Luckily, there is a magnitude of options, so let’s dive in.
Ways to Make Money as a Runner
Become a running coach. Runners that have many years of training behind them often move into a coaching role. While you must have a basic understanding of training methods, it’s often the most common way runners turn their passion into a business. Although coaching is hard work, it is a rewarding experience.
Knowing this, you will need to know how to market yourself and find new clients. Usually, this process will take you one year or more to build trust and results. So start by offering your services for free until you have enough results and positive reviews. From then on you should see your business slowly grow before becoming a full time running coach.
Become a blogger. Luckily there is never a shortage of people wanting to learn how to train, prevent injuries, or even read about your experiences as a runner. That means you can use your knowledge and experience as a runner to write about running-related topics.
Unless you know SEO or have a background in internet marketing, this road is one of the most difficult and time-consuming ways to make money. Start by writing a general blog about running, and then find a niche inside running that excites you. Then start to write weekly, or monthly until the traffic grows.
As you write more the number of visitors you get will slowly increase over time. But it can take up to a year before you see any large increase in traffic. Then you can look at making money from advertising, sponsored posts, or even affiliate products. So stick with it, it will pay off in the long run.
Work in a running shop. Maybe you are stuck in a job you hate or have some free time over the weekend. Working part-time in a running store is another way to earn additional income. By working extra hours outside your main job, you can share your passion and knowledge with like-minded runners. It also gives you a way to meet new people, which is vital when if your thinking about starting a coaching business as well.
Become a running influencer. If you’re a social media junkie you can earn good money from Instagram when you have a big enough following. Once you have a loyal following of like-minded runners, you can start promoting running companies you love, improving brand awareness, testing new products, and driving traffic to your blog (if you have one). Unfortunately, just like starting a running blog, this can take many months or even years to build a big enough following.
Create your own products. As a runner, we often complain about products that don’t fit our needs. So what about starting your own apparel company or even a running-related product? While this option requires some capital to get going, it’s often a way for you to run each day testing various designs of clothing or products.