Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: A closer look at the Grant Thornton series of 5k races...

Friday, June 15, 2018

A closer look at the Grant Thornton series of 5k races...

Following on from the recent Grant Thornton 5k in Cork and the follow up comments, I decided to have a closer look so that runners can get a better overview of the event and what it's all about.

The first Grant Thornton 5k started in the Dublin docklands back in 2012 and grew to over 4,500 finishers in 2015. Since then, the numbers have eased back a bit but it still gets over 4000 finishers. The 2018 edition will be in September of this year.

Grant Thornton 5k in Dublin

With an entry fee of €100 to €120 for a team of four, at least €100,000 is taken in race fees so it's not an insignificant amount of money.

Contrary to what some people might think, this isn't a charity event. A lot of events like this have what is termed a 'charity partner' and some of the proceeds go towards that charity. The Grant Thornton event is organised by Athletics Ireland and is their way of raising funds from the running boom. While there are hundreds of club races around the country, very little of the money generated finds its way back to Athletics Ireland in Dublin.

Traditionally, inter club races have been organised by Athletics Ireland registered clubs while inter firm road races have been organised by the Business Houses Athletic Association... the BHAA in Dublin and the Cork BHAA locally. The Grant Thornton 5k series is Athletics Ireland's version of inter-firm road races.

The purpose and ethos of their respective races are different and this can be seen in the entry fees.

The BHAA events are designed to have a reasonable entry fee (€5 reg / €10 non-reg), refreshments afterwards and a full prize structure with categories and teams. The Grant Thornton races cost around €20 to €25 per runner and are designed to raise as much money as possible.

In the BHAA events, it's the individual who is paying the entry fee where as with the Grant Thornton events, the company will probably be footing the bill in a lot of cases.

Following on from the success of the Dublin event, other  Grant Thornton 5k races have popped up as shown below...

A 5k was tried at the National Sports Centre in Dublin 2015 & 2016 but the numbers were poor. Probably good enough for a general race but not big enough to raise funds.

The Cork version began in 2015 and had 834 finishers that year. It has dipped a bit since and got 784 this year.

The Belfast version started in 2017 and got 562 runners. The 2018 race is coming up at the end of June.

A new Grant Thornton race was started in Galway this year and had 348 finishers.

Taken all together, the Grant Thornton series of 5k races in 2018 will probably generate in the region of €120,000 - €130,000 in entry fees. Once the costs of organising the event and the charity contribution are accounted for, the funds generated for Athletics Ireland will obviously be just a percentage of this.

It's probably fair to say that a lot of the entry fees paid by the corporate sector is 'new money' as such and would not have made its way into the running scene otherwise. These type of events won't appeal to everyone but they are now part of the overall running scene.


Anonymous said...

That's well written and very helpful many thanks John

Anonymous said...

and why or how was it on the same night as a bhaa race a few miles away??