How to Save Money on Race Entry Fees

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race entry fees

Jesse and I are putting together a wish list of races to run this year and as the list gets longer, the dollar signs get larger. We love events for several reasons, new challenges, new scenery, motivation, camaraderie, and any excuse to travel, but we need to be mindful of our budget or we’ll break the bank on race entry fees alone.

There are ways around paying top dollar for race entry fees. (Ways that don’t include running without a bib. Don’t be that person.) All it takes is a little planning, a little commitment, and maybe a little compromise.

5 Tips to Save Money on Race Entry Fees

Sign Up Early

Most races offer a discount for early registration. Stop dragging your feet and sign up right away. Signing up for a race early serves a dual purpose because not only will you save money, but you’ll also be motivated to start training sooner. Go ahead and make the commitment.

Search Groupon

Groupon partners with a number of major races like the Spartan Races, Tough Mudder, or Color Run. Before you register for your next race, do a quick Groupon search to see if you can find discounts on a race near you.


Race organizations who run multiple events encourage runners to volunteer by giving them a free race entry to another event. We volunteered as a family for the Martian 5K one year and had an amazing time. It was great to be out there encouraging the runners and a great example and opportunity for our boys. I’ve also volunteered with the boys for ultra events that Jesse has run by himself. It gives us something to do while he’s running an obscene amount of miles and we get to support him on his route!

Register for Smaller Races

Newer, smaller races generally have fewer bells and whistles which allow them to price their entry fees much lower than some of the more popular runs. Look for inaugural events or small town events that limit their registration numbers. Often times these are our favorite races.

Apply for Ambassador Programs

If you’re a runner it’s likely that you enjoy talking about running. Race organizers know this about you because they’re likely runners who like to talk about running too! Visit the website of your favorite race to find out if they have an Ambassador Program you can apply to. In exchange for a free race entry, they’ll ask you to post on your social media profiles a few times a month about your training progress and encourage others to join you in the event.

It all boils down to where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you’ve considered running and are on the fence about starting up I encourage you to bite the bullet and register for a race. The commitment alone will spur you on to train and keep training once you’ve started. This is what helped me push through the first few difficult miles and once I crossed that finish line I was hooked!

We’ll be publishing a wish list of our runs later this week. Which races are you looking forward to that we should consider adding to our list?

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    • Amy January 4, 2017