MDS - Victim of it's own sucess?

I've just been informed by the organisers of the Marathon De Sables that the prices are going up about £300 per year for the next few years.

I am paying an extortionate £2800 for 2009 (2006 was £2100) and this is to increase to £3500 for 2011.  

"Fuel costs" are to blame apparently for this price hike. I'm sure they've just taken advantage of the fact that so many British people want to do this now. This week the 2011 race sold out within a day, a whole 3 years before the event is due to start. Tha's a lot of people who have paid a non-returnable £500 deposit and may not end up doing it because they get injured/ill/made unemployed/die.

This is not a complaint. Fait enough if they want to charge more for their brand. I believe this will lead to the demise in what the race stands for. The strange thing is that the harder and more expensive you make a race to get in the lower the standard of competitors who enter. Now that it costs so much entrants are forced to badger their friends and family to fund their event. Those wanting to run for their own reasons are priced out or look elsewhere.

The "Flora" London Marathon is a great example. This race has become so sucessful that the organisers can now charge £300 to charities for places. These are lapped up as they represent guaranteed return for the charities.

Again, NOT complaining. However I do not consider the London Marathon a runners race. How long before the Marathon De Sables is not a proper ultra runners event? Has it already happened?