This past season I raced more than I had ever raced before and spent less on racing at the same time and you can too. We all know Obstacle Course Racing can get real expensive real quick but below are a few simple suggestions for lowering the cost of your OCR addiction.
I volunteered at almost all of my races this past year and it was an amazing experience. Everyone should volunteer at least once and see how the sausage is made, so to speak.
Most companies will give you a free race for volunteering your time, and if you are stationed at an obstacle you are mostly just a glorified cheerleader. The only problem with volunteering is that some companies will only give you a free future race, which means you volunteer in the morning and race in the afternoon or possibly a future date. If you want to race in the first heat of the day that can be a problem.
Most companies, however, are willing to work with you if you reach out to them. Multiple companies that I contacted had me pay for my race up front and then reimbursed me after I completed my volunteer shift after I finished my race. Conquer The Gauntlet simply took my Driver’s License and held onto it till the shift was over. In addition to getting you a “free” or discounted (I’m looking at you Spartan and OCRWC) race, you should volunteer because it’s fun and necessary for any race to run. (Stay tuned for my article on how to make the most your volunteer experience)
The largest cost of any race tends to be travel, and hotels are expensive. You can defray your travel costs by camping. Generally only $10-$15 bucks a night for a tent site at most state parks. Let’s face it, we are OCR people, we like a challenge, we like mud, we like being outdoors, we should like camping. If you have an RV or a truck with a topper on the back and a mattress just park it at Wal-Mart for free.
If camping is not for you then look to Airbnb. You can find entire apartments/houses for less than a hotel, or you can just rent a room in someone’s house. I’ve stayed in rooms for as little as $25/night and gotten a room which was basically a hotel room off Airbnb for $38.00 which was far nicer than the “cheap” $50.00/night hotel rooms I’ve gotten in the past. My favorite Airbnb which I’ve stayed at multiple times for races was a kid’s tree house in someone’s backyard and it was only $10/night and 20 mins from the venue. Cheap places are out there my friends, all you have to do is look.
Race Local and Sign up early
If you really can’t or don’t want to volunteer there are probably a lot of great local races that aren’t that expensive and are probably a lot of fun. Signing up early is always a great way to save some bucks too so plan ahead if you can.
Local and regional races are almost always going to be less expensive than the major brands out there (Spartan knows you want that 12XTrifecta and they’re gonna milk you for it and you’re gonna like it so STFU).
Local races can be hit or miss but the vast majority of local OCRs I’ve been to have been amazing. If you are unsure about any OCR check out ORM’s race reviews and see what someone else thought about the last race. A couple of the lower price national OCRs out there are: Terrain Race and Rugged Maniac.
If you sign up for a race without using a coupon code you are doing something wrong. Almost every race except super small local races (and OCRWC) have coupon codes floating around out there. Rarely should you pay full price. Do some research, ask your OCR friends, search Google or I think there is a website that has race discount codes… I can’t remember but I think it’s called ObstacleRacingMedia.com I’m not sure though.
If all else fails and you still need more dough to fund your OCR addiction you can always be like Matt B Davis and sell your old race medals.
Photo Credit: Justin Smith, The Battlegrounds, and Matt B Davis
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