How to Run Lots of Races Without Going Broke

@cpenree via Twenty20

1) Choose local

Whenever possible, I will choose a race within driving distance to avoid the cost of hotels, airplanes, and extra meals. If a race is within a couple of hours of home, I will simply get up early and use my time in the car to drink coffee and eat breakfast.

2) Split travel costs with friends

If I traveling to another city for a race and I must stay overnight, I always try to share hotel rooms, car rides, airport parking, rental cars, and/or Uber costs. Not only will you save money, but it is far more fun to have a race weekend with friends.

3) Camp out

Not everyone is up for forgoing some creature comforts to camp, but it is definitely a bargain compared to hotels. Camping isn’t just for trail events either, plenty of cities have RV sites with tent camping allowed. I try to choose sites with electrical and a bathroom nearby to make life a little easier.

4) AirBnB

Homes owned by others and rented out aren’t a new way to save money when it comes to travel, but AirBnB has made 1-2 night rentals easy. Just pay close attention to cleaning fees and cancellation fees to make the most of your booking.

5) Be a pacer

Not only do most races comp your race entry fee, but you also get all of the race swag for free as well. Racing isn’t just for fast people either. As long as you have experience running races and can maintain the pace, you can help others reach their goals.

6) Be a volunteer

Either gain race entry for the following year or choose an activity such as bib pick-up or cleaning up after the race. Volunteering really is about giving back, but there are some races that will comp an entry for helping out.

7) Register early

Though some runners are apt to hold off on registering early in the event of an injury or problems with training, those who register early will get the best prices. Unless it is the type of event that holds a lottery or sells out quickly, most races are cheapest when registration opens.

8) Support small races

They don’t have the same fanfare as big city race events, but community events are awesome for other reasons. Easier parking, no waiting in lines, a relaxed atmosphere, flexible race directors, and most importantly, less money.

9) Run ultras

Even if you aren’t an ultra runner, many ultras offer a shorter race distance in conjunction with an ultra. These events are often on trails and therefore require a lot less money to put on as police and road closures are not necessary.

10) Shop airfare dates

If you don’t have your heart set on a specific race, look for great airfares and then try to match up a race. Spring and fall in most large cities will net you a race almost every weekend – especially if you consider a range of distances.

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

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