One of the attractions of running is that it’s quite cheap to get started. Until you start ultrarunning and running on trails when your cheap hobby can start to be more costly with mandatory kit lists, race fees, travel and the need for nutrition.
We know these costs can mount up but getting into ultrarunning doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some of our top tips on how to ultrarun on a budget (and sustainably too). We’d love to hear from you on your best ideas so that we can expand this.
Race local: there are so many ultras around the UK now that most of us don’t have to travel far to do an ultra. Racing locally not only saves on travel and accommodation costs but reduces emissions, means that race day is less stressful and also makes it easier for your friends and family to support you. A great resource to find a local ultra is runnersretreat.
Volunteer: if you volunteer to help at a race, they often provide a free place in return. Volunteering also allows you to learn about how others manage their races and meet the community. You’ll probably love it too.
DIY ultra: rather than running an organised race you can run an existing course or create your own 50k or 50 miler. Follow a National Trail or create your own route – the Slow Ways path network routes through towns so you can refuel. Anything goes though some navigational skills are necessary. Or Skamper has thousands of running routes across the UK for you to try.
Less kit, less costly kit
Lift share: buddy up with someone local to get to and from the race. You can often organise this via a race’s Facebook group.
Low cost nutrition: in shorter distances, expensive gels and specialist nutrition are widely used. However, for longer races unless you are trying to podium you can satisfy most of your fuelling needs with regular food and of course you can use the checkpoints as a free buffet! Take a sandwich bag for a take-away. Test different approaches and work out what works best for you perhaps cooking up your own fuels – runners’ groups on social media have some great recipes for home-made gels, flapjacks etc.
Buddy-up: by joining a running club (look here) or a social run group (try Maverick and Run Together) you can meet like-minded runners and also you can get tips and support on races, kit, routes and training. Some of these are free.