I n my relatively recent pursuit of fitness, I’m often shocked at how much being active can cost if you are seduced by the swanky gear and the numerous events available to us fitness freaks in Colorado.

The entrance fees alone have caused me to balk at participating, admittedly, because as a noob (and a person who has a hard time parting with money), I’m still deciding if I even like running and biking enough to shell out the cash. Honestly, for me, bragging rights and a sponsor-laden T-shirt (I’ll probably never wear) simply aren’t enough to convince me … yet.

Despair! So to get a grip and some insight on inside deals, I tapped my friend Kia Ruiz, a Front Range fitness blogger and yoga mama (follow her accounts @yosoykia and @bodhi_bear on Twitter).

Kia flashed her terrific smile when I asked her about how to score fitness freebies and discounts.

“I’ve done the Bolder Boulder four times and have never paid for it,” she said. “I’ve done so many races for free.”

What the what?

Hope! Tell me more, I ask. These are Kia’s tips:


Time is money, my frugal friends. And manpower talks. Check out an event’s website to see if there are any volunteer or work-exchange opportunities.

Basically, give some of your time helping out with set up, clean up, manning registration tables, etc., and receive a free or discounted entry (and probably some swag to boot). See: The Bolder Boulder or the Dash n’ Dine 5k series.

Play to win

See if an event is having any promotions or contests, especially on their social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter, to possibly win swag or get discounted or waived entrance fee.

Talk to the sponsors

If a brand you adore is an event sponsor, contact them to see if they can help you out. Or, perhaps they are looking for a brand enthusiast to sport some of their gear as you run, swim, or bike to the finish line.

Frugalista code: It never hurts to ask.

Online coupon websites

Events that want to fill any remaining slots turn to the online coupon sites. See: Groupon recently had a deal that saved buyers 46 percent off the race fee for the Warrior Dash later this month at Copper Mountain Ski Resort. (I’ll be there in the 1:30 p.m. wave on Aug. 20 with Kia and other Boulder area Twitterati — who’s in?)


Certain events waive entry fees if you can raise funds for a worthwhile cause.

Again, determine if you have the time to do the legwork — collecting pledges and donations before putting your legs to work in a race — don’t be a jerk and let people down.

Do not bring shame upon the Frugalista code. See: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program, which helps to train participants for races (more than 200 events to choose from) willing to fundraise for cancer research. Win-win, if you ask me.

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