how to save money on races
Running, Running Reads

How to Save Money on Races

I race almost every weekend.  I posted about it recently.  It’s a hobby I really like to do.  I’m not made of money, and when I can save money, I try too!

Any hobby cost money and paying for something I want to do doesn’t bother me.

You make time for what you want to do, but you also budget appropriately for what you want to do.  It’s like budgeting for the vacation I’m wrapping up, a new car, new house.  Budgeting is important to make time for hobbies you want to do.

I was thinking a lot about budgeting for road races last week, so I decided to compile tips on how I try and save money.  Hopefully, they can help you too!  This also keeps in mind that I do not have children to take care of.  Both my husband and I enjoy racing, and that can cost as much as groceries some months.

So How do I Afford to Race Almost Every Weekend?  

Looking back at the last few months, I’ve spent between $120-170 a month on racing 5ks or a few half marathons. That is the cost of 2 half marathons sometimes even one (Please don’t get me started on the Philadelphia Half Marathon…I have yet to sign up but it’s $130)!

  1. Look at Your Options: Spending a few minutes the morning of (or if you are more prepared, the day before), you can look at various options and see what the cheaper races are.  As someone living in the greater Philadephia area, I’m fortunate I do have options from Wilmington, Philadelphia, and of course NJ.  When I lived in Texas or Alabama that was not always the option.

Running at local races also prevents paying money on extra gas, hotels and even meals the night before.  Local races are a lot less expensive!  Traveling to my neighborhood 5k and supporting a local cause, is a lot less expensive than traveling 300 miles to a highly competitive 5k.

  1. How does LOLZ choose races? I scout out races by some factors: 
    1. Price: if there is a 5k that’s 15 dollars or a 5k that’s 50, it’s easy to choose.
    2. Location of where I’m working:  Since I work at multiple places in NJ, I try and find the closest to work.
    3. Friends status:  Are any of my friends doing it?  I love seeing local racers and friends.  As well as if I use the resources the race is benefiting.  I’ve paid more for races that I use already use their benefits such as the Cherry Hill Library.
  2.  This is fairly obvious but sign up for races early.   Many races cost 5-10 dollars less if you sign up the Thursday before versus race day registration.  Yes, I’m as guilty as anyone for waiting last minute, but every $5 does count.
  3. Check out the brochures running store.  Sometimes race directors will drop off special coupons/discount codes at the local stores.  We have plenty of race directors that do that at our store!
  4. Finally, remember that every 5 dollars counts.  If you save 5 dollars on each road race and run 15, that is 75 dollars.  That is enough for a few more races!
  5. Read Blogs or Google Races:  Sometimes just putting X race coupon code into google will yield a discount code.  This can also be said about saving money with a lot of different products.  Races and products are trying to promote online and many bloggers have coupon codes!

The moral of the story is planning and strategizing for races can save a lot of money.  If you research and see what is available near you, often times it’s a lot easier to save.  It doesn’t have to be months or even weeks in advance.  I’ve found codes the week before a race, just by google searching!

Related Posts:

Should You Race in Racing Flats?

Racing My Way to Fitness

Questions for you:
How often do you race?
What are some tips you have for saving money?  



9 thoughts on “How to Save Money on Races”

  1. I enter one or two races every weekend, I wouldn’t call what I do “racing”.

    I save money by only going to races with race-day packet pickup. Who has time to drive to an expo the day before and perhaps have to stay overnight?

    Be careful about signing up for a race too far in advance to get a bargain rate. If your plans change or if you get injured, then any money that you’ve saved (plus much more) will be lost.

    1. This. I used to sign up at the lowest rate but after losing $400+ in a bad few weeks last year (NO REFUNDS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!). Never again. Now I sign up at the latest possible time and risk the race becoming sold out (very rare).

      Losing $100 to save $5-10 doesn’t make sense for us injury prone runners (I type this one week away from my next race and a nagging ankle issue is keeping me from committing, even at one week out!)

      1. Big races such as half and full marathons, I usually wait until last minute. Of course, I like to save money but as someone who is also injury prone, I’ve lost a lot of money when I can’t race.

  2. Typically signing up for a race online involves an additional transaction fee charge, so often times I look to see if I can mail a check in instead and save that extra $2-$5!

  3. Also, look for running clubs or Grand Prix type events where you can sign up once and get access to lots of races. I’ve joined the Atlanta track club, which gives me a bunch of free races throughout the year, as well as early cheaper signups for other races.

  4. I race 2 to 3 weekends a month. I never do race day sign up and do early registration when I can.
    In Boston there are many race options also. Aften social clubs have low cost, no frills races that support local organizations.
    Some races give a huge discount if you sign up soon after the race is run.
    I’m seeing more discount codes being offered and try to use them also.

  5. I’ve also mailed in race registrations to save money! I’ve also simply requested a free entry as a returning champ *as long as* I also bring a few first-timers.

  6. i used to race so much more when I didn’t have kids and was a little faster. Now I tend to focus my money on longer distances. I acctually do math of $$/mile and factor in if my friends will be there or if I love the swag.

Comments are closed.