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Taking Back the “OCR” (Obscene Cost of Racing!) - Tips to Save You Money

Posted by Team Xtreme on Nov 4, 2013 9:06:00 AM

The sport of Obstacle Course Racing has miraculously bucked the trend of our recent economic struggle, and has seen a meteoric rise despite the high price tag associated with a day of running around getting muddy.  Going through the laundry list of items involved when Tips to Save Money on an OCR (Obstacle Course Race)doing an OCR, here are some ideas on how to save a few bucks (and maybe then do a few more!):

1. REGISTRATION - Sign up costs, which now may also include added insurance fees, are easily on par with a day at Disney World or skiing lift tickets.  So what can you do to save?

  • Volunteering for a day, which all races rely on, will almost always earn you a free entry and maybe some free or discounted gear/merchandise.

  • Sign up early! Most races have an ascending scale on price as it gets closer to the event (plus you have better chances of the race not being full or getting the heat time you prefer)

  • Search for discount codes.  Many race companies circulate promotions by email or on social media, and also have grassroots marketing groups (“street teams”) that encourage giving 10% or more off the price.

  • Try an online discounter site.  Groupon, LivingSocial, and others may offer steep savings off the cost of races.  However, I would note that these deals don’t usually surface until closer to race day, when the event is trying to fill unsold tickets. However, read the fine print! Sometimes these offers may not include all the full perks included with a “regular” sign up.

2. TRAVEL - Odds are the races you sign up for are going to be a few hours or more in the car, and some could even be worth spending a night in a hotel before the race (or after, since you might be pretty exhausted from conquering miles of mud!).   

  • Sharing is caring!  It just makes sense, for your wallet and the environment, to go with friends - which is more fun anyway!  Carpooling to split the price of gas, tolls, and parking (many races charge around $10 per vehicle to park at the venue) plus dividing a hotel room if possible, will drastically cut down these added expenses.  You might even be lucky enough to know a friend that lives in the area of the event you could stay with, if they have a spare room.

3. RACE DAY - This is where the costs can really add up.  After running, all the extra stuff for sale can quickly break the bank because it’s convenient and appeals to your excitement.

  • Souvenirs and merchandise are fun to grab, but the prices can be worse than sporting events or concerts.  Remember that most races already give you a finisher t-shirt, but here’s a little secret if you really want that foam finger or beer coozie with the race logo - wait until later in the day and give a try at negotiating. These events want to sell everything and to not have to truck boxes of merchandise back to a warehouse. Many are willing to sell a few things together for a discount, or shave off a few dollars on individual items. It doesn’t hurt to ask and after all - it’s still advertising for them when you wear their branded stuff back home!

  • Food and beverage are the #1 gripe I have at OCR events.  Not only are they rarely healthy choices, but I’ve seen simple lunches (for one) with price tags as high as $15.  No thank you.  I bring my own snacks, drinks, and often carry some extra for friends that forgot (or are really hungry)!  A lot of races give you a “free” post-race beer if you’re over 21, but that second pint will cost you another $5-8.  While you likely can’t bring alcoholic drinks from outside, I can tell you that many folks (including myself) don’t use their beer ticket.  I’ve given all of mine away this year and know lots of people that would gladly trade it away for your Gatorade or granola bar.  Just food for thought, literally ;)


kevin laPlatney headshotThis article was written by Kevin “Mudman” LaPlatney, a VPX Team Xtreme OCR Athlete who has been a veteran of the sport since 2010.  Kevin is 36 years old and lives in Long Island NY, where he is a Certified Athletic Trainer and enjoys caring for his injured student athletes.  After each obstacle course race, Kevin blogs on his race review website, The Mudman Report, to help fans decide which events they might want to sign up for.

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Topics: OCR, obstacle course racing

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