I love to run and be around people while doing so which is why I participate in races – they motivate me to run faster and longer. Unfortunately most races in New York City are expensive. If you enjoy racing in New York I’ve found the best, low cost options are Active.Com and the New York Road Runners (NYRR).
Registration for Active.com is $69.95 that includes access to races throughout the U.S. This is a good option for those who enjoy venturing out of the city. Once registered on their website fees for each race are avoided. After registering for four races the fifth is free resulting in a savings of ~$70. It’s important to retain your receipts from each race, as you’ll need to submit them to get the 5th race at no charge. Active.com downsides are there aren’t too many races in NYC affiliated with this club and the few I participated in were not well organized.
For NYC-only runners, NYRR, is the best option. Registration fee for NYRR is $40 annually. Once you’re a member there’s a courtesy savings of ~$5 on races that are priced from $30 – $50. They offer a ‘9+1’ program for runners interested in the NYC Marathon. In addition to the NYC Marathon they organize some of the best races including the NYC half marathon and Brooklyn half marathon.
After completing nine qualifying races plus volunteering at one race of your choice (e.g., helping setup, providing water to runners etc.) access to the New York Marathon is guaranteed. For a non-professional runner this is the only way to be guaranteed a spot in the world’s most famous marathon. The NYRR’s races are well organized. You’ll have access to bag checks, drinks and fresh fruit at the end of a race. Who could ask for anything more?!