Subsidization of race entry fees lowers barriers to participation in 5K races in children 14 and under 

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Background: Numerous studies have highlighted the physical health benefits of children's participation in sports and more recently, a body of research is growing that details the mental health benefits. Despite these benefits, children are leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles and this puts them at greater risk of chronic disease, obesity, and poor school performance. The key barriers to participation in sport for children have been identified by researchers as 'cost' and 'time'. One way to reduce the cost barrier is to subsidize race entry fees for 5K races.

Methods: Data for national averages was retrieved from a public database (, which calculates statistics for the aggregate of all 5K events in the system. Data from selected races where fee waivers are available was retrieved from public databases containing specific event information ( and Male and female participation in the age group of 1-14 years was analyzed.

Results: Nationally, in races where fees are not subsidized, participation by children aged 1-14 is 7.0% in females and 10.5% in males. In selected races where fee-subsidization is offered, participation by children is much greater. Over the course of five years (2015-2019) in the Cherokee National Holiday 5K, average participation by females aged 1-14 years is 14.3% and males is 21.3%. In the 2019 Redbird 5K, female participation in the 1-14 age group was 16% and the male rate was 26.8%. The 2019 Beat the Heat 5K had 15.4% female participation in the 1-14 years age group and 21.5% male participation. The Isaiah Sapp 2019 5K was 17.8% females aged 1-14 and 28.2% males. The Huckleberry 5K 2019 was 12.5% females aged 1-14 and 21.3% males. The Mayes Co HOPE 2019 5K had 14.3% participation from females aged 1- 14 and 20.1% participation from males aged 1-14.

Conclusions: The races where fee waivers were available took place at different times during the school year and summer (the Holiday 5K was calculated over a five-year period). These races took place during differing weather conditions and in different cities around northeastern Oklahoma. There is a commitment necessary by parents to enroll the children into the wellness program in order to receive the race fee waivers and there is a requirement to attend the races once registered. However, despite the membership, registration, and attendance requirements, children are still motivated to train for and participate in the races at a greater rate if their fees are paid. Policy makers, parents, and teachers should be aware that 'cost' and 'time' are key barriers to participation in sport for children. More opportunities are needed where costs are reduced and this provides one example of an effective cost-reducing method for increasing participation in running.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 4 Sep 2020
EventOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Day 2020 - Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine, Tulsa, United States
Duration: 27 Feb 202028 Feb 2020


ConferenceOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Day 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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