Running on a budget: Run a race each month in 2017 for less than $200

Runners listen to instructions before the 2014 White Salmon Backyard Half Marathon.

Runners listen to instructions before the 2014 White Salmon Backyard Half Marathon.

What!? $17 a month!? There’s no way to do a race each month with that budget!

Yes, yes there is. You just have to know which races to do. This is one schedule, I’m positive you could create another one. For example, you could join Clark County Running Club for $10 and run upwards for 20 free races for the year. Or seek out races where you can run free in exchange for volunteering.

Not all these races will come with chip-timing and I don’t think any of them include a shirt in the price (The EWEB Run to Stay Warm might); but we’re talking about racing and not the swag. Some of the races are more than $20, but the average over the year works out to $17/month! Also, I’ve put this together based on events that are already on the calendar or have been around long enough that I trust they’ll happen again in 2017. So, you can update your schedule as more races get their info updated.

Before you can get registered, though, you should know that this plan does require volunteering at one race. Starting in 2017 ORRC (Oregon Road Runners Club) will give their volunteers an entry to use at one of their future 5k or 10k races. So that’s one race for free. I suggest you do this early in the year; if you want to stay within the Portland Metro area to volunteer, may I suggest the Up the Lazy River in West Linn on Memorial Day? (Fellow Run Oregon blogger Abby Meek and I are the race directors.)

Finally – do you know of other low-cost races we should tell people about? Let us know!

So, here we go:

January: Clark County Running Club’s Salmon Creek 3 and 6 miler – $2 – Salmon Creek Trail in Vancouver, Wash. Scheduled for Saturday, January 7, 2017.

February: Zena Road Runs 3 miler, 6 miler, or 15k – $25 if you sign up by 2/2 – Outside Salem, Ore. on Sunday, February 5. (Super Bowl Sunday)

March: Cherry Blossom 5k – $15 when you sign up by March 15 – running in Salem, Ore. on Saturday, March 18.

April: Pear Blossom 5k – $20 when you sign up by April 2; the 10-miler is $26 so it’s just a little bit more! The race is scheduled for Saturday, April 8 in Medford; and this is one that every Oregon runner should do at least once in their lifetime.

May: Banks Linear Trail Run 10k or 5k – $20; scheduled for Saturday, May 20, 2017 in Banks, Ore. This run makes use of the Banks-Vernonia Trail and is a fast course!

June: White Salmon Backyard Half Marathon – June 17, 2017 in White Salmon, Wash. (Across the river from Hood River). Technically, it’s a free race, but they suggest a donation of $25, and since the money raised goes to high school athletics, I’m counting this as $25.

July: SW Bible 5k – $5 – Sunday, July 9 at SW Bible Church in Beaverton. A hilly, family-friendly and walker-friendly event with dinner included. Seriously.

August: The Skamania County Fair 5k, put on by the Columbia Gorge Running Club, is still “date TBD,” but it’s only $2. (Or, FREE if you’re a CGRC member.)

September: ORRC Greenway Trail Trial 10k (Free with your ORRC volunteer voucher from an earlier race) – Runs on Labor Day (Monday, September 4, 2017 in Beaverton.)

October: One of the Red Lizards’ Stumptown XC races. The schedule isn’t out yet, but individual races were only $15 last year. These cross-country races are friendly, supportive, and offer some impressive competition … this year, Alan Webb ran at one of the events! But, I’ve also run in them, so you can definitely still run them if you don’t even own spikes. The races are at various parks in the Portland metro area.

November: EWEB Run to Stay Warm Half Marathon – $40 – Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017 – there’s also a 10k for $30 and a 5k for $20. (Prices here are good through June 30, 2017). This is our priciest month; but it’s also one of the longer-running events in Oregon and all the proceeds go to EWEB’s Customer Care program, to ensure that their customers don’t have to go without heat during the cold winter months. It’s a really good half-marathon course, flat and scenic along the banks of the Willamette in Eugene.

December: (As long as it returns for 2017, and we hope it will!) Portland Running Company 5k – $25 – Although if you sign up for all three of them, it’s only $20/per race. The dates are TBD, but it will likely be the middle of the month, at PRC’s Beaverton store.

About Author

We started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. We also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support local race organizers.

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