At WJHS during the 1960's, one of the better high school wrestlers carried a honey bottle with him. He was one of those guys who dieted to an extreme so that he could compete in a lower weight category (about 125 lb). He would suck on the bottle during practice.
For purposes of a marathon, honey might have disadvantages to gels. It is heavier. It burns faster, since it is a simple sugar rather than a complex sugar (a complex sugar is a chain of simple sugars). It is messier. It contains few other useful nutrients. It's flavor variations are more subtle than that of the gels.
You can economize on gels in two ways. Buy them in bulk (5 or more). Save selected containers and return them to the manufacturer for a deposit refund (similar to bottle and can refunds).
Alternatively, as you suggest, you could carry honey in something like a ziplock bag.
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