Races aren’t cheap. These days it seems like even the small local races are starting to up their prices. Don’t get me wrong – I know that there are a lot of costs that go into races, even if you are able to get volunteers to handle much of the packet pickup and day of activities. There are costs for permits, cops, food, supplies, t-shirts, and sometimes medals. I get that, but sometimes it feels like the races are trying to make as much as they can off the runners. (Spoiler: they are – either to maximize the amount they are giving to a charity or to make a profit, sometimes a combination of both.)
Today’s topic on Tuesdays on the Run is “how much are you willing to pay for a race?” We all have our breaking points and sometimes it varies depending on where the race is, how long it is, and how sweet the swag is. For me, I haven’t hit my maximum yet, but I did have a really hard time with the $200 Nike Women’s Half Marathon. That’s the most expensive race I’ve ever run and I’m pretty sure I would not have forked over the $$ if I hadn’t needed it for my trip to Venus. Even with the necklace.
For shorter races, I try to stay under $50. I’m not going to pay more than $75 for anything shorter than a 10K unless the swag is amazing, the course is unbelievable, or the cause is something I’d send that amount to anyways.
So, how can you combat the rising cost of races?
- Register early – races usually offer the best prices the earlier you register.
- Take advantage of ambassador codes or special day discount codes – a quick Google search can often net a code on a blog page or a coupon site. Also, if you sign up for emails, many races offer “flash sales” on special days like New Years or National Run Day.
- Volunteer or become an ambassador – Some race organizations will offer you a free or discounted race if you volunteer a specific number of times. And if you are active on social media or even in a big group (like MRTT), don’t hesitate to apply for an ambassador position. Many races don’t require that you blog – just that you have connections that would be interested in the race. Most races offer their ambassadors a free entry.
- Join a group – Groups like Moms Run This Town, Half Fanatics, Marathon Maniacs, and 100 Half Marathon club are often able to negotiate discounts, but you usually need to be a member to benefit. I know I’ve more than made back my Half Fanatic membership fee with all of the discounts I’ve gotten as a member.
- Get your friends to pay for it – Kidding, mostly. Fundraising is sometimes a way to get a free entry, but it depends on the race and the organization. And it’s nor really free – fundraising, especially if you do it often, is a LOT of work. (I’m not good at asking for money, so I’ve only done it one time. I’ll only do it again in the future if it’s the only way to get into a race.)
What’s your price break point? Got any tips for saving $$ on a race?