Happy new year everyone. I hope you had a merry rest-mas and a fun new year. If the Black Friday and Christmas sales are leaving you on a budget for running races this year, I’ve found a few ways to help you to still secure a place on running races without spending a penny.
1. Free entry
As easy as it sounds, there are a races, which offer free entry to participants. The London City of Mile race offers free entry for every participant. You are allowed to enter into as many different waves as you want. For example, a father may want to participate in the men’s wave, the mixed wave and the family wave.
2. Local Residents
Some races offer free entry to local residents. They usually advertise the free entry to the races in local papers, magazines and websites. The BUPA Westminster Mile gives a £1 discount to Westminster residents and the Great London 10k offers a limited number of free entries to residents of the borough.
For those in Cheshire, USA, the Cheshire Kids’ Fun Run during the Ion Bank Cheshire Half Marathon is free entry to Cheshire residents.
If you have your heart set on a particular event, but for whatever reason can’t get entry, competitions are a really great way to secure a place. I obtained my entry for the Hampton Court Half Marathon through a Half Marathon List competition. I had missed the registration deadline and all the places were sold out. I had my heart set on running that race so I did some searching to find a way of getting into the event. Competitions are risky because you don’t know for sure if you will win, but what have you to lose?
From looking at a few different races overall, I have noticed that competitions usually take place after entry registration, so this is a last option if you have your heart set on a certain event.
Pacing is something to consider, if you are an experienced and a fast runner. Admittedly, I haven’t been a pacer yet, but it is something I am considering for my future 10ks. Xempo is always looking for pacers. All you need for signing up are your fastest times for the distances you want to pace. Then it is just a matter of waiting to be contacted for a race. The faster your times and the longer the distances you can run, the higher the chance of securing more pacing roles.
5. Volunteer Marshalls
A majority of races, regardless of size and distance, rely on an army of volunteers to help the events run smoothly. These people might have roles like handing out medals, assisting with race number collection or handing out water to runners at the water stations.
With a volunteer marshall position, many races promise a variety of rewards. Quite often, the main reward is free entry into the race the next year. obstacle course races (often known as OCRs) regularly recruit volunteer marshals: The Gauntlet Games is currently recruiting Gladiators and Volunteer Marshals for its upcoming races.
6. Charity Entry
Last, but by no means least, secure entry with a chosen charity. With some charities, there are fundraising targets; for some charities, the targets are quite high. Choose a charity that has a cause you believe in, make sure that fundraising target is realistically reachable for you and have fun!
Are there any other ways you would recommend to runners? I hope this was useful and shone some new light for you. Don’t let the cost of race entry be a barrier for you in 2016 and beyond.