Want to sign u for destination races without breaking the bank? Susan Lacke has tips for racing on a budget.
Cheap Destination Races
There’s a lot to love about scheduling a vacation around a race. Think: a change of scenery, a new adventure and racing with hundreds (or even thousands) of your new best friends! But what we don’t love? The cost. Travel is expensive enough without adding the high price of most race registration fees. But what if you could get away without going broke? From coast to coast, there are a ton of cheap destination races to be found.
Columbus, OH; May
Brokeman’s Running is a local grass-roots running movement taking glitz and swag out of the racing scene in favor of the beauty of the grind. Its Brokebabes Marathon, a women-only full and half event, boasts a $35 entry fee to this low-frills but full-fun race.
Kalamazoo, MI; July
Thirty bucks for a half marathon? Count us in. This race takes place on a shaded, crushed-limestone stretch of the Kal-Haven State Park Trail.
Milwaukee, WI; August
Every Labor Day weekend, the Badgerland Striders running club puts on a fun half marathon through Milwaukee’s stunning Estabrook Park. Entry fees start at only $28, which means you’ll have a few extra bucks left over for the finish-line beer tent.
Philadelphia, PA; February–December
Lock in your race calendar with this $100 racing pass, which serves as your entry fee to eight different races in the Philadelphia area, beginning with February’s Feel The Love Couples 5K and ending with the Schuylkill River Loop Race, an 8.4-mile, cross-country classic.
Essex Center, VT; April
Celebrate the arrival of spring with 13.1 miles through Vermont’s beautiful rolling green hills. The best part: it will only set you back $15 to enter.
Rochester, NY; December
Register for $20 by Thanksgiving, and Santa will spoil you at this holiday race with a 5K entry, a cotton T-shirt and a festive pair of reindeer antlers to don while you’re dashing.
Fort Campbell, KY; March
A mere $15 gets you entry to a beautiful 10-mile race through the Fort Campbell forests, a fully catered post-race bar and a long-sleeved tech tee with built-in mittens. (Honestly? We’d do it for the shirt alone.)
Carrollton, TX; Year-Round
The Carrollton Runners Club, located just north of Dallas, only charges $2 per person and $5 per family for their “prediction” runs held on the third Sunday of each month. This fun race format asks runners to predict their finishing times for a 5K during registration. No timing watches are allowed during the race, and the individual who comes closest to their predicted race time wins.
Senoia, GA; Year-Round
Lifetime membership to an organization called the “Darkside Running Club” might seem a little sinister—but it’s all in good fun. For $35, you get free entries to the club’s yearly holiday marathon and ultramarathon races on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Seeley Lake, MT; February
Maximum bragging rights for minimal bucks can be found at this wintry half marathon around Seeley Lake in western Montana. Entry fees start at $30, unless you’re under the age of 19—in which case, you’ll only need to pay 10 bucks.
Anchorage, AK; June
In order to include all women—regardless of economic circumstances—the Run for Women 5K has no set registration fee. Most runners donate around $25, and the proceeds go to grants for breast cancer research and mammograms for underserved women.
Hurricane, UT; September
The $35 entry fee for this late-summer half marathon is worth every penny. If the racing itself doesn’t take your breath away, the stunning red rocks of Zion National Park will.