Racing on a budget

Whether you are a OCR veteran or a newbie, you will come to know running these events can get expensive very quickly. Most of the cost are beyond the price of entry: food, gas and lodging. Here are a few tips to help reduce the overall cost.

1. I need my space – Lodging

Depending on the distance you have to drive, this could likely be your highest expense. If you HAVE to bunk alone, check out the discount hotel websites like Travelocity or Expedia. Book these rooms as far a head as you can for the best discount.

2. Love thy neighbor – Lodging

The best option for lodging is sharing a room or a house. This will drastically reduce the cost of lodging. During the Spartan Race Texas Weekend, several members rented out 3 entire houses. The cost for the weekend was about the same price someone would pay for a hotel for one night.

3. Be one with nature – Lodging

Don’y really care where you sleep? Why not camp out near the venue where you plan to race? LOTS of racers do this. Some venues even allow people to camp ON the venue where the race is being held. This also avoids issues of being late as you can walk to the starting line from your tent.

4. Get in my belly – Food

Plan out your meals. Prepare and pack them before you leave home. You can purchase an inexpensive cooler from Walmart or Academy. Get a cooler large enough for a weekend worth of meals plus ice. Don’t be afraid of the price tag, you will be able to use the cooler again for the same reason. Skip the flavored drinks and stick with water. Buy a 5 gallon water cooler from Home Depot, load with ice and you’ve set for the weekend.

5. Show me the money – Race entry

Know the races you want to run and register as soon as they open. You can even pre-register for some events for the best pricing. Also check daily deal sites like Living Social and Groupon for further discount.

6. Broke as a joke – Race Entry

Most race companies have just enough money to get through to the next event meaning they can’t hire a lot of staff to build and operate the events, thus they rely on volunteers. Companies like Spartan Race are well known to compensate your volunteer time with a FREE race entry. I have volunteered and have also received a free entry into Spartan Race. That is how I ran with the Lone Star Spartans during the Texas Beast last year. Best things in life are free.

7. Beam me up – Transportation

If you are traveling alone, figure out what your highway and city MPG (miles per gallon) are. You will need to clear your odometer once you fill up. The next time you fill up, look at how many gallons you just put into your vehicle. Use the mileage on your odometer and divide this by the amount of fuel you put into your vehicle and this will be your MPG.

For example, I drive a performance modified Nissan Titan. On day one I clear my odometer and fill up. On day five I need more gas. I have driven 300 miles and I JUST put in 20 gallons of gas. 300 miles divided by 20 gallons gives me 15 MPG. With this information you will be able to calculate an estimate amount of fuel you will consume to and from the race venue. Also consider renting a cheap eco friendly car.

8. Clown car – Transportation

If you have friends in the area, consider carpooling to the venue. This will require planning because everyone will need to coordinate lodging, race time or who is staying and going.

9. Don’t text and drive

Many races have set up group pages to provide their participants information. People also use this to help with lodging, social meet ups and travel. Find the race you want to run and join their group. Likely they will be able to assist.

At the end of the day, the best way to save money is to plan out what you want to do. Figure out what is necessary and go from there.

Posted in Race Hacks.