7 Ways To Save Money when Running a Marathon


Marathon On A Budget

Earlier this year, someone estimated that the costs of running in the last 2015 26.2 mile Boston Marathon run amounted to around $1,697 which is an immense amount for one marathon because it does not include the training and much of the preparation that goes into joining a marathon.

The costs involved can be categorized into fixed expense and variable expense. Fixed expenses include the registration fee while variable expenses are those that you can lower with smart financing.

Here are 7 incredibly smart ways to lower the cost of running a marathon and still enjoy the experience.

Plan Way Ahead of Marathon Weekend

Book early to save money on your marathon

According to the online travel website, Expedia, the best window for buying airline tickets is 57 days before flying. Booking too early or too late could cost you hundreds of dollars more. However Expedia also says that 50 to 100 days in advance is still considered safe zone for cheapest airfares for domestic flights.

For international flights, the lowest you should go is 100 days before take off and the closer you are to your flight date, the fewer chances of getting a good and reasonable rate.

The same study also revealed that if you book a Tuesday flight, you can save up to $28 compared to a Saturday flight. Of course, the other side of the coin is the cost of accommodations and food for those extra days so you might want to consider booking a Wednesday flight which is about $20 cheaper than a flight closer to the weekend.

Travel Agent or Online Booking?

If you have been to the location of the marathon before, then you should book your travel and accommodations on your own. Doing this online is a cheaper alternative than making calls or spending time with bouncing emails back and forth but if you plan to book online, make sure you look for features like “price assurance” and check if there is a fee for booking online.

Some airlines charge a small fee for online transactions and if the amount is similar to the average travel agency fee of $20, go with the travel agency and save yourself the hassle of making the arrangements yourself. This will free up your time to do other things like training.

The advantage with a travel agency is there is someone you can personally call and talk to by name if things go awry.

Consider Non-Traditional Accommodations

AirBnB supporting the NYC marathon

If you are willing to skip the hotel and motels, why not consider websites that offer local B&Bs like AirBnB or BnBFinder.com. If you have never tried AirBnB, it’s a cheaper alternative that give you options for a more personal and intimate form of accommodations. You also get to experience living like a local and meet like minded people.

According to Entrepreneur.com booking through a website like AirBnb will give you a whopping 41% on accommodation savings. Unfortunately, in most cases, you’ll have to forego with the standard amenities in hotel room accommodations like a concierge, maid service, room bar, or even the free toothpaste.

If you have fears about going non-traditional, then buddy up with another marathon participant and share the costs.

Find a Sponsor, Be a Sponsor

If you are a frequent marathon runner and have done well in the past, you might want to approach a business to fund your participation in exchange for advertising and marketing exposure. You can also sign up to raise funds for a charity accredited with the marathon to get free entry to the marathon. For more info check out our guide on marathon sponsorship

Finding a sponsor

The feeling of having saved money while running for a charity is inexplicably rewarding. It adds meaning to your love for the sport and makes it a worthwhile endeavor because you won’t feel like you’ve spent everything on a one-day event: money, time, energy and got nothing in return. By helping others you become part of an amazing circle of human beings who actually do something positive for a better world!

Your Main Investment: Gear

It’s important not to scrimp on your gear because proper equipment is a must-have especially running shoes. Your feet need all the help it can get for the 3 to 5 hours you will be subjecting them to a grueling task. Fortunately for marathon runners, the Internet is one way you can buy the proper equipment without paying full price.

  1. First, you don’t need to buy the latest models in shoe and running gear
  2. Second, allot time to do the research on the equipment you want and need and then save up for November 27 – the next Black Friday sale that actually starts on November 26, Thursday
  3. Three, online stores are expecting the Black Friday rush and will try to preempt it by offering items on sale early so keep an eye out by subscribing to your favorite stores. This way you get notifications early in your email inbox

As for buying second-hand goods, there are items worth buying such as second hand like clothing (not including running shoes). Shoes tend to take the shape and form of its wearer so used shoes will definitely be uncomfortable for you.

Check for Marathon Deals

As soon as registration for any marathon opens, expect local businesses to start offering special deals. You can save on meals, drinks, even tickets to events by showing your marathon voucher. Some meal deals even continue on after the event which you can avail of by presenting proof of participation like your medal of completion.

Early Bird Rates & Special Loyalty Rates

Many marathon events offer special rates for early birds and previous participants. These may or may not be available on a limited time frame so it is important to visit the website and read the fine print on registration. More importantly, these special rates are limited in number and they often get sold out fast.

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