Race On the Cheap: Budget Friendly Runs

We all know that there are some great races out here in the Pacific Northwest. Many of those come with a higher price tag, which is completely fine. However, to keep your race schedule full, sometimes it takes filling it with some more inexpensive and lesser known races. We will be highlighting some of those races so you can keep your competitive drive up and have money in the bank to get to those big ones!

1- UP/PSU Tuesday Night at the Races

Beginning January 20th and open to everyone, the University of Portland Indoor Track at the Chiles Center offers a range of events from 150 meters to 3000 meters. The Tuesday Night at the Races is held at the Chiles Center (5000 N. Willamette Blvd. Portland), runners show up with $5 cash and can participate in as many events as they want for the night.  Registration is available from 5PM- 7PM and races begin at 7:15PM.

January 20: 1600m, 300m, 800m

January 27: 2,000m, 200m, 800m 

February 3: 1500m, 150m 800m

February 10: 1 Mile, 400m, 800m

February 17: 3,000m 

February 24: 1 Mile Oregon Indoor Championship night

2- Oregon Road Runners 5k Series

Races begin in May and run through October and average out to about $15 a run for members and $21 for non-members. The runs are capped at 100 runners and all participants receive a technical shirt. For everyone that completes all 5 of the runs, they earn a tote bag with the ORRC logo.  Annual membership for ORRC is $30 for an individual and $40 for a family. The ORRC 5k race series is a deal; all 5 runs cost $75 for members and $105 for non-members.

The 5k series includes:

May 2: Hagg Lake

June 21: Summer Solstice

August 8: Garlic Festival

August 23: Oregon Zoo Event

October 10: Blue Lake

3- Clark County Running Club Runs

Members run these for free, non-members pay only $2 per run. The CCRC website has the complete list of free runs. They also organize the popular Vancouver Lake Half Marathon, which fills up fast every year and is a steal at only $35.

January 17: Salmon Creek 3 and 6 Mile Run at Klineline Park- free for members, $2 cash for non- members.

January 31: Heritage Trail 3 and 7 Mile Run at Heritage Trail- free for member, $2 cash for non-members.

4-Oregon Track Club 5k Race Series

The second Thursday of every month from March through October, runners of all ages and abilities are invited to run in this 5k series in Eugene. OTC Members are free and non-members are $5 per race. Show up race day to register between 5-5:45PM. The first three races will be held at Alton Baker Park in Eugene. Later races will be held at Island Park in Springfield and Amazon Park in Eugene.  Races begin at 6PM.  Annual membership for the Oregon Track Club is $30 for and individual and $40 for couples/families.

5-The Vortex Half Marathon and 10k Trail Run

Held Saturday, March 28th at Milo McIver State Park (21300 South Springwater Rd. Estacada) the Vortex Half Marathon is only $40 ($50 on race day) and the 10k is only $20 ($30 on race day). Run Wild Adventures and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department are working together for this inaugural event. The Vortex celebrates the only state sponsored rock festival in US history that took place in 1970 and was held at McIver Park.

6- Canby Dahlia Half Marathon and 10k 

Register by January 18th and get in on early bird pricing for this one. The Canby Dahlia Half Marathon is only $35 and the 10k is only $25 through the 18th. Organized by a Run Oregon blogger, this event will not disappoint. Held on Saturday, August 29th, the race starts at the New Life Foursquare Church in Canby. It’s a relatively flat course, so hand cycles and wheelchairs are welcome.  With a 7AM start time, you can head out, get the race done and still have most of your day to play.

7- Heart and Sole 5k/10k

Celebrate Valentines Day with your loved ones with this reasonably priced race held in Longview, Washington. The 5k is only $10 and the 10k is only$15. Online registration is available as well as a printable option for runners to mail in. Runners will meet at the Elks Building at 2121 Kessler Blvd. and run through Lake Sacajawea Park. A great deal, check out all event details at the Heart and Sole 5k/10k website.

8- Gorgeous Portland Pub Relay

The same guys who started the Gorgeous Relay are expanding their popular series with a Portland Pub Relay on Saturday, May 16th at 10AM. It will be free for the inaugural year and registration opens on February 1st, so continue to check back for details or sign up for their mailing list. Runners will start (and finish) at Base Camp Brewing Company and do a scavenger sort of race collecting coasters among local breweries.  The Portland Pub Relay will include 6 legs and a total of 25 miles, so run it solo or grab a couple of friends and make some memories. Cheap runs are out there, free relays are extremely rare.

For a sport that only requires a pair of running shoes, it isn’t always cheap when you start adding races on the calendar. Help spread the word and let your running friends know there are still some cheap runs out there. There are tons of wallet friendly runs that won’t break your budget. If you know of a cheap run in Oregon or Southwest Washington, we’d love to hear about it.

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