Save Hundreds of Dollars in Race Fees This Year
By Golda Smith
Running is one of the most inexpensive activities that you can do if you’re serious about getting in shape. All you really need is a good pair of running shoes. That’s it. No fancy clothes, no trainer, no gym membership necessary. The thing that makes running so great, for me any way is the joy of hitting the pavement with other people of various skill levels from all walks of life.
I LOVE when my path crosses another runner and we acknowledge each other with a simple head nod. Seriously, we’re most likely to winded to actually utter any words but that head nod says “I see you putting in work”.
If you get really serious about the sport, then you’ll eventually enter a race. To be honest, the only reason I enter paid races is to get my hardware. I love collecting race medals! A race, a race there can add up to big bucks…especially if they involve travel. I know some people that spend a couple thousand dollars per year. What?! Seriously! When you add up the cost of track club fees, race registration, hotel cost, air fare, babysitter/dog sitter fees, running shoes, accessories and other miscellaneous items, it can get pretty pricey.
What if you don’t have the financial resources to run in all the races you’d like to, local or not? Introducing Virtual Races! Here’s why I LOVE virtual races and why you should consider adding them to your race roster.
No Travel Involved
You don’t have to travel far to get to the starting line. All you need to do is plot your course and there are some great apps to help you with that, one of them is Map My Run or download from iTunes. You can create your own running route or find one near you and save it for future runs.
Low Registration Fees
Many of the live races, while great and can qualify you for the BIG races like the New York City Marathon or Boston Marathon, can cost anywhere from $75-$100+ (ouch). If you have no desire to enter these bigger races then save your money and go virtual. Many of these virtual races are free or they have very low registration fees, $20-$50…BIG difference!
One of the very reasons that I enjoy entering races, the hardware aka medal, is available in some virtual races. Usually the virtual race organize, if charging a registration fee, only charges that to cover the cost of awarding medals to the finishers and some other cool stuff depending on who the sponsors are. Sounds really good to me, how about you?
Pick Your Day
There is usually great flexibility in virtual races. Almost all have a set start time but it could be a one day event or span over the course of a weekend or week. The only thing is I wish organizers would require participants to use a running app and send a screen shot of their time when done, just in case someone is tempted to fudge the numbers. Runtastic is my app of choice but there are plenty of others.
Overall, if the high cost of running live races prohibits you from participating as fully as you would like then include some virtual runs into your schedule. Virtual races SAVE money! I’ve outlined some really great advantages to doing virtual runs, whether it’s a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon. I haven’t seen a virtual ultra-marathon but I’m sure it’s coming.
Interested in giving it a try? Do a Google search for “virtual races 2013” and see what comes up. Here’s one you may be interested in, the Virtual Half Marathon & Treadmill Challenge 5K Summer Heat Series. It’s in July, so you have enough time to get ready. Have you participated in a virtual race? How did you enjoy it and would you do it again? I really want to know so please leave a comment. Thanks and I hope to “see” you on the trail.