Cost is biggest factor deterring UK event participation, says report.

The events market in the UK has changed significantly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report published by online ticket sales company Let’s Do This. The company’s internal and external market data, user surveys, and advice from industry experts show that participation numbers are continuing to lag across the UK. The report also found that the events landscape is now unrecognisable from the pre-pandemic era.

The report found that running events have lost 20-40% of participants compared to 2019. This decrease was particularly pronounced for longer distances, such as marathons and half marathons, compared to 5k races. The report also found that cost is the biggest deterrent to attending races, with 60% of those who have been put off attending an event citing cost as the main factor.

The report also found that female participation has taken a particularly large hit, with the balance of male to female participants decreasing from 43.1% in 2019 to 40.3% in 2022 – a relative decrease of almost 7%. This decrease was seen across all event distances and was most pronounced for women in the 20-40 age bracket.

Here at TriBourne Multisport Events, we have seen a decrease in entries for our longer-distance races, while entries for shorter-distance races have remained stable or increased. This trend suggests that cost is a significant factor, with the more expensive, longer races seeing the biggest decrease in participation.

With the costs of delivering events increasing and participation numbers decreasing, many event organizers in the UK are struggling. This puts the triathlon community at risk of losing many races over the coming years. It is important for competitors to support local, independent race organisers by signing up now for events in 2023. Ultimately, an increase in the number of participants at events is what will keep entry fees lower for everyone.

We understand that cost can be a major barrier for participants. That’s why we’re committed to offering competitive pricing for our events, and we’re always looking for ways to make them more affordable.


  • Matthew Dowle

    Mat Dowle is an experienced triathlete who has completed over 20 Ironman distance triathlons and countless shorter distance events. He started his athletic career as a runner, completing many marathons and ultra-distance events. After 10 years of running, he decided to try his first triathlon, despite never having learned to swim. Despite the steep learning curve, he loved the experience and has been competing in triathlons ever since. Over the years, he has picked up many good results and has represented Great Britain on the age group team at multiple world and European championship events.