Planning On Running A Race? Register Before It Fills!

Running races is more popular than ever with races of all distances grabbing more and more participants, in spite of rising prices for major races. As a result, these races are filling to capacity faster than they used to!

It used to be that you could wait until the last minute and enter for a race at the expo (although paying a higher walk-up price). Now, if you want to run a race, you had better sign up well in advance of the designated registration closing date. Many big races have moved to a lottery system to handle the tens of thousands of eager runners who want to get in. Other races are just filling that much faster.

One of the fastest, if not the fastest, to fill was the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon actually filled in 2 hours and 27 minutes – almost faster than the winner of the Marine Corps Marathon ran the actual race in! It was after that that the MCM moved to a lottery like other large marathons such as Chicago and New York.

But, there are many other races that fill very quickly and if you want a stab at entering those races, you better be ready to sign up as soon as the registration opens. I am going to do my best this year to keep track and let you know when such races open so you can sign up in time, but for now, check your race to see when the registration window opens!

The most recent race to fill quickly was the Lincoln Marathon. It filled all 12,500 spots in under 7 hours! To make the timing even more amazing, the registration opened at 3AM on Saturday morning (January 3) and filled by 10AM! That shows you really need to take note and be ready to move.

The next big race coming up with a short window for registration is the 17.75KM Marine Corps race. This race sells out very fast and all finishers of that race (held March 28, 2015) will receive a guaranteed entry to the Marine Corps Marathon in October. That makes it a very good reason to sign-up for and run this race. Registration for this race opens March 11th and I will have a post to remind everyone as we get closer. In the meantime, check out the page here.

Which races have you signed up for that filled quickly? Have you ever missed a race registration because it filled too fast?


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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Doing dopey challenge (5k, 10k, half and full) from Thursday to Sunday Jan 8-11 2015. Race sold out on first day

      • No it will be my first tim . I have done 3 triathlons over 2 day period so the activity time is OK. Never done so much running over 4 days so it will be a new experience

      • RunDisney races all fill very quickly now, but particularly the multi day challenges. Last year wast the first year for the Dopey Challenge, BTW. We’re heading out tomorrow to run it for the second time!

  • When I don’t know my work or play schedule half a year in advance, it is very difficult to commit money to a race. RunDisney races are notorious. The Expedition Everest 5k in May sold out in just over an hour, at $125 per entry, on December 16th. Now I run the smaller, local races that have race day entry, but I miss the big race excitement–big time. I have noticed that the Rock ‘n’ Roll series races almost always have day prior entry available. Even when sold out, they have a waitlist that usually clears participants.