It’s pretty hard for me to go to a race without taking a racecation. While, yes, I could do some local races, many of the OCR’s that I love are several hours away from me, so it usually includes hotel stays and eating out, which I consider to be a part of racecations. I love traveling to races and spending a long weekend away, but it can add up quickly if you’re not careful. (Do I really want to add all this up and find out what I actually spend? Lol!). I probably should, and since this is the topic for Tuesdays on the Run with Erica, Marcia and Patty (a link up I haven’t joined in a while) I’ll take a closer look.
Recently, I just traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for the Tough Mudder event. This is a little further than my typical racecation travels, however, it’s a good way to estimate what a racecation weekend costs for those of us obsessed with OCR travels.
Let’s start with these. While some racers will fly to race destinations, I typically drive, as it is cheaper and cuts back on the cost of having to rent an additional car when you get off the plane. As many of the races aren’t in close proximity to the actual city, renting a car would be essential if you flew. Really all I have to worry about in this case is gas.
For me to fill up my tank from 1/4 tank (typically when I stop to refuel), it costs about $20-$25. On the way to Atlanta, including the tank I got before I left home, I filled up twice, so it cost about $50. The following morning before volunteering at Tough Mudder, I got gas and was able to drive on that tank about halfway back before filling up again, and once more when I dropped off my friend Jolene who had been riding with me, where we once again filled up my tank before I went home. So on the way back it was about $75 in gas.
Total gas cost: $125
Had I flown from my hometown to Atlanta for the same race, leaving Friday and returning Sunday evening as I did driving, it would have cost me $350. This isn’t including the car I would have had to rent in order to get back and forth from the race site, so I saved about $200 on travel costs by driving.
Food is always a huge cost for me, due mostly to the fact that I try to avoid fast food. This means I’m eating in restaurants that typically cost more than your typical $5 fast food meals. While it also means I’m healthier, it’s a bit more challenging on the wallet. Let’s break down those costs:
Breakfast: ate at home, save $$
Lunch: Olive Garden, lunch special, $10
Dinner: Marco’s Pizza delivery, $23.39
Starbucks card reload for coffee on the go: $10.00
Total meals for the day: $43.39
Breakfast: Twist Coffee, $6
Lunch: Food Trucks on race site, ATM withdrawl (non bank), $24.00
Dinner: Pure Taqueria, tacos and margarita, $25.19
Total meals for the day: $55.19
Breakfast: Provided for us on site volunteers, $0
Lunch: Also provided for on site volunteers, $0
Dinner: Texas Roadhouse: $10.69
Total meals for the day: $10.69
Total Meals for the Weekend: $109.27
Obviously this is much more than I would spend had I not traveled, but normally I do pretty well on my meals. It would have been a little more had I not volunteered and received the free breakfast and lunch on Sunday from the volunteer coordinator for Tough Mudder as well. Races typically feed their volunteers pretty well, so that’s a cost cutting area.
I was lucky here because I was able to stay with a friend who lives in the area, however, if I do get a hotel for the weekend, it typically costs somewhere from $100-$120 a night. When I volunteer and run (which is typical for me to do as volunteering usually nets a discounted or free race entry), I stay two nights as I usually have to be on site for volunteering quite early in the morning. So if I stay in a hotel, I’m looking at about $200-240 in hotel costs for the weekend. The past few races I’ve done I’ve been able to stay with friends who live in the area so I haven’t had to worry about that, but occasionally I do get a hotel.
Since OCR’s have this awesome volunteer program that allows you to volunteer and then run for a steep discount (Tough Mudder has full and half day options for volunteers that cost $20/$40 respectively), my cost for this Tough Mudder was only $47.38 (including processing fees). However, had I paid full price at the time that I registered, it would have cost me $170. While I’m not against paying full price for an event, especially one that I know is a good event like Tough Mudder, I’m glad I have the opportunity to volunteer and race free, or I wouldn’t be able to race as much as I do.
Overall Racecation Expenses:
Adding up all my expenses from this weekend at Tough Mudder, it cost about $281.66 for my weekend travels. While this is considerably less than I spend had I gone to a Disney race, it’s still not something I can do every weekend. Many factors this weekend saved me more money than had I had to book other travel arrangements, so that worked in my favor as well. I do think that my racecations are worth it though- the experience we had at TM Atlanta as well as the beauty of the course and the opportunity to meet and race with new friends was definitely a defining moment this year for me. I’m very glad I went and happy to be the proud owner of my first yellow TM headband (for people who have done 4-6 Tough Mudders…read more about Mudder Legion here).