Getting Discounts on Race Fees

Sure, any of us could go out for a run at whatever distance without spending a dime. But it’s so much more fun when roads are closed off to cars, a ton of people cheering you on, music and aid stations along your route, and of course, the glorious bling as you cross the finish line. Yes, all of this costs money (here’s an idea of the costs associated with a race) but some of these race fees are becoming outrageous – the New York City Marathon costs $266 with processing fees! Unless you live outside of the United States, you can expect to pay nearly another $100.

I definitely plan to add to my bling collection this year but I definitely can’t afford to do a ton of these, especially when travel is involved. Here are some of my tips to cutting costs on race fees:

  1. Google the race name with words like coupon, promo, or discount. I do this every time, even if the race fee is reasonable, because who wouldn’t want to save a few bucks? RetailMeNot or similar sites typically will pop up with various codes – try them all out. For one race, I went through about 10 codes and wanted to give up, but then the second to last discount code saved me $20!
  2. Go to the expos of other races. They usually have vendor booths for upcoming races and offer discounts if you sign up at the expo.
  3. Sign up for the race the day after it’s over. Sure, it’s a year away but signing up early guarantees the cheapest prices.
  4. If you run enough races a year, consider getting a membership with Active Advantage. It’s $70 for the yearly membership but they usually waive processing fees and the fifth race is free, up to $70, so paying for itself.
  5. Smaller races are sometimes cheaper. AND depending on your speed, it can be easier to place at smaller races!
  6. If you are looking for a race in SoCal, here’s a website, RaceSched, with a compilation of race discounts and coupons.
  7. If you are a member of a larger running group, check with them to see if they already have or can get a discount to an upcoming local race.

Hope this is helpful. If anyone has any other websites or tips, please feel free to share in the comments. Happy running!

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