Last year was a great racing year for my husband and me. We raced in Montana, Arizona, Colorado, and California, and collected some free bling in the form of some shiny new medals.
But wait, are those medals really free? Well… no. Consider race entry fees, travel expenses (which can include airfare, gas, accommodations, food), and of course the tech gear and clothing that we all “need” in order to race our best. Living in Wyoming, we usually have to travel to race, and together we spent about $5,000 on our favorite hobby last year. Those are some expensive medals!
Having my husband as a running partner has always been an advantage, since he’s always understood the need to fork out money for new shoes or race entries… until now.
They say running is cheap because all you need is a pair of shoes and the open road, but we all know the person who said this didn’t run many races. I realize there are expenses involved in putting on a quality race: shirts, finish line bling, post-race food and drinks, city permits, medical and police assistance, and there has to be some left over for the race’s charity cause too! As the costs rise, so do entry fees – I get that. But unless you’ve recently won the lottery, are a sponsored athlete, or have unlimited discretionary income, there comes a time when you have to decide which races are worth the cost.
This year, my husband has decided to complain about everything that costs money in spite of sharing my hobby. When he takes off his running shoes and puts on his Money Police hat, the questions start flying: How many pairs of shoes did you buy this year? Why did you need 3 pairs of the same running shorts? How could we spend $2,000 on one race? (Umm… it was in California, that’s how).
Enter the Year of Racing Cheaply. I capitalize it because it needs to carry some significance for me, or I’ll be back to chasing shiny objects in far away places.
The Year of Racing Cheaply consists of a plan that should fit in nicely with our (his) goal to save some money this year:
First, we’re only running one out of town race, and we used a couple of Sassafras’s tips on how to make a race fit your budget. It’s just 100 miles from home, and we’ll stay with my son the night before. I registered early to prevent paying those procrastinator’s penalties in entry fees. Minimal travel expenses, reasonable entry fees – score!
Second, we’re going to run the local races we usually skip in favor of bigger, more glamorous events. None of these races costs more than $20 to enter, and they all start within walking distance of our house. No travel expenses, cheap entry fees – double score!
I have to admit, I’m going to miss the finisher’s medals I’ve become slightly addicted to, but maybe this year’s bling will be even more special. This medal is my favorite from 2013, even though it’s much smaller and not nearly as dazzling as the others. I won it by placing first in my age group on a cold, windy November morning during our local Turkey Trot 5k.
Maybe the best bling is earned, not bought.
How much do you think is too much so spend on our favorite pastime? How would you scale back on your running costs?