Doing the Boston Marathon on the cheap!

It isn’t really easy for many people to do the Boston Marathon on the cheap. We just so happened to have one of the best situations that I’ve heard of in a while, aside from several of the top elite athletes that get everything paid for.

It all started back in April 2016 when my wife and I made the decision to move across the country with our tiny house from CA to TN. I met up with Dr. Scott from SWORD at the 2016 Knoxville MarathonWhile on the run during the marathon, Dr. Scott mentioned the Kentucky Ale Horse Capital Marathon in Lexington, KY in May. SWORD was a sponsor for the Horse

Since SWORD was a sponsor of the race, he mentioned he could pass a race entry my way, which I was super pleased with a free race! Dr. Scott also mentioned there was a Boston Marathon Goal Incentive Program that the Kentucky Ale Horse Capital Marathon had created to incentives runners to participate!

The Boston Marathon Goal Incentive Program was something nearly unheard of at races!

The title sponsor of the Kentucky Ale Horse Capital Marathon, Alltech, mentioned they’d reimburse anyone’s registration fee ($185!!!!) to the Boston Marathon upon the following stipulations:

  1. The runner must participate and complete the 2016 Kentucky Ale Horse Capital Marathon with a finishing time that meets the official qualifying standards for the 2017 Boston Marathon.
  2. Runner must additionally be officially invited to participate in the 2017 Boston Marathon.

  3. Runner must register and pay his or her registration fee for the 2017 Boston Marathon retaining payment receipt from the Boston Athletic Association.

  4. The runner must run in the 2017 Boston Marathon.

  5. Runner must submit receipt of payment of his/her registration postmarked on or before May 6, 2017 to the race organizers.

I really wanted to set a PR at the Horse Capital Marathon, which at the time was 3:00:46 from 2012 with not much specific training. Going into the Horse Capital Marathon, I had a decent amount of training (about 3 solid months worth), but I knew that the course was going to be challenging as it was on the huge rolling hills of Lexington, KY.

kentucky ale horse capital marathon - boston marathon goalFast forward, I finished the race in 2:58:34 and in third place. I submitted my entry to the Boston Marathon when registration opened and was accepted about 10 days later.

The first part of the Boston Marathon on the cheap goal was accomplished!

Next on the docket, we had to find flights on the cheap. Well, back in 2015 and part of 2016, my wife and I were pretty savvy with airline and travel points, so we were able to book our flights for around $73 for the two of us… Yes, that’s about $36.50 per person ROUND TRIP! Basically, we had to pay the security airline fee that everyone has to pay. We’ll take spending $73 over $1000!

Part two of the Boston Marathon on the Cheap was finalized!

Since plane tickets were taken care of, the final thing was going to be lodging. This was going to be the death of me. I checked hotels and it looked like everything was $200-$700 or more per night! YIKES! The logistics for the Boston Marathon weren’t like normal marathons either, since the race was a point to point race. Most races have the start/finish in the same area, which makes things easier. I did not want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on lodging, but if it came down to it, we’d make something work, probably on the lower end, ideally just a few hundred dollars.

Thankfully, one of my co-workers and I were talking about the Boston Marathon one day. She mentioned that her mom lived in Boston near the finish line. My eyebrows lifted up with excitement. I didn’t say anything, as I did not want to come across rude asking if she’d talk to her mom for us.

Moments later, my co-worker said, “My mom loves the Boston Marathon, normally has a brunch on the patio to watch the runners go by. If you want, I can talk to her about you staying with her?” I graciously thanked her for saying that to me! About a day later, my co-worker told me her that her mom said I should contact her. I did and we set the plans!

I officially found a place to stay for the Boston Marathon on the CHEAP! SUPER CHEAP!

I was so stoked about the whole process and the stars really aligned to make this happen.

Essentially, we only had to pay for our transit around the city and our food! Even still, had we wanted to be super frugal, we could have done some mystery shops at restaurants. Most of the mystery shops that we’ve done cover the cost of food, plus a stipend of sorts. Technically, we could have made money on the trip and netted positive. We decided against that route, as I wanted to make sure my wife enjoyed herself and ate food she enjoyed.

All in all, we spent about $232 on food and transportation for the 5 days we were there. $42.50 of that was for transportation around Boston. Another $22 was for parking our car near the airport while we were gone.

If you include the $73 we spent on airline security fees for our plane tickets…. we spent just over $300 for the ENTIRE Boston Marathon trip!

Doing the Boston Marathon on the CHEAP is possible!

Next… I told my wife I’d like to find a way to do the rest of the Abbott World Marathon Majors on the cheap. The Abbott World Marathon Majors is a series consisting of six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world. The races take place in Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City.



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