For the purposes of these lists, prize money is defined monetary awards that are generally available to a broadly defined category of runners. As such, the prize money distribution is generally known to the participants, i.e., private arrangements between a race and a runner are not considered prize money. Monetary awards available to a select few runners based on performance such as bonuses offered by the runner's sponsor are not considered prize money since they are private arrangements and are not available to a broadly defined category of runners. Likewise, appearance money is not considered prize money since these are private arrangements. Non-monetary prizes are not considered prize money; it is generally quite difficult to assign a proper value to a non-monetary award such as an automobile.
Prize money does include both open and age-group awards as well as awards based on nationality, residence (state or local), and club membership. It includes record and time incentive bonuses, provided such awards are not private arrangements. Awards made in non-USA currencies have been converted to US$ at the prevailing exchange rate.
Prize money won by athletes who were later disqualified has been removed and the prize money awards for the affected races has been adjusted and credited to the athletes who would have won the adjusted prize money amounts. Disqualified athletes are required to repay any awards paid for performances that were later disqualified. It is difficult to determine if this prize money was recovered and actually paid to those athletes who should have won it. Hence, the some of the prize money noted in this section may not have actually been paid to the athletes that it is credited to.
It is often difficult to obtain prize money distributions from prize money races. Often, publications providing race results omit any mention of prize money distributions. Some races prefer to keep a low profile with regards to awarding prize money. With these caveats, the following life-time prize money lists are presented.
Single Year Earnings (US$)
Most Prize Money Awards Lifetime (#)
Award Totals By Year