How to Save Money on Races

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! Saving money on races takes planning.

How to save money on races

You make time for what you want to do, but you also budget appropriately for what you want to do.  Saving money on races isn’t too hard to do, but it does take planning. It’s like budgeting for a vacation, a new car, or even a new house.  Budgeting is important for any life circumstance.

I was thinking a lot about budgeting for road races last week, so I decided to compile tips on saving money on races.  Hopefully, these tips can help you too!

So How Can You Save Money on Races?  

There are some 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 only one!

  1. Look at Your Options: Taking time to look at all available options can help you save money on races. 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. That alone is a huge way to save money on races. Local races are a lot less expensive!  Traveling to a neighborhood 5k and supporting a local cause is a lot less expensive than traveling 300 miles to a highly competitive 5k. You can do 20 5ks for the cost of traveling across the countries.

  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, and that saves money on races.
    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. Half of the racing is the community, and I love to see my friends.
  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. You can save money on races just by avoiding signing up for race day.
  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! People don’t realize your local running store can be a source to save money at races.
  4. Finally, remember that every 5 dollars count.  If you save 5 dollars on each road race and run 15, that is 75 dollars.  That is enough for a few more races! Saving $5 is still saving money on 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 many 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 on races.  If you research and see what is available near you, oftentimes, 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!

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



  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.

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