Are events worth the money?

Guest writer Lucy Young says you get a lot more value from events than you might first think.

I’m currently training for a swimrun in July. It’s an ambitious event (by my standards) and looks indulgent and expensive for a part-time teacher and mum of two but somehow it still feels like great value for money. In part, that’s because I understand that event organisers have costs, and everything costs more these days, but it is more than that.

This event is already occupying my brain, forcing me to plan and book ahead, encouraging me to adapt my training and challenging me to push myself. I’m apprehensive and excited and these emotions are life-affirming. Naturally, I’m anticipating stunning scenery and an ‘event buzz’ on the day. Obviously, I’m hoping to finish to give me a sense of achievement and, while I’m still feeling stiff and tired, I’m looking forward to viewing the event photos to relive the fun and enjoy the shared experience and memories.

All this emotion and anticipation stands in stark contrast to the flat ‘sameness’ many of us experienced during the first lockdown. I was busy with my family and my job, of course, and grateful that I was protected from the trauma and loss that others were suffering. However, I found the months without swimming hard as swimming doesn’t just keep me fit. Swimming, I’ve come to realise, helps to define me, it balances me, injects fun and friendships into my life and it makes me feel strong. 

Events, whether swimrun or just swimming, are part of this as they punctuate my year and give me highlights to work towards and reflect back on. They take me to beautiful places and provide a safe way to feel a little bit adventurous. Organised events have energy, and they draw in competitors and helpers alike. They attract newcomers but it is incredible how many familiar faces you see so I’m clearly not the only one to feel their magnetic pull. 

If lockdown taught us anything, it is the value of human contact and events offer the opportunity to take part in something exciting with a swathe of people you would not otherwise have met. Life is simply more joyous and fulfilling when you take these opportunities so I’m certain of the value of events, it’s just that the more valuable things in life can’t always be quantified.

Image: Lucy taking part in Breca Swimrun Jersey (c) Breca Swimrun