Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to Pick Your Next Race

Having just completed a 50K, I'm not concerned about whether I'll have the endurance to get through the Burlington Marathon.  But at this point, I know I don't have the speed to keep up with my buddies.  So, while they struggle through week after week of long runs, I need to work on getting faster.

What better way to push myself than to sign up for a race?  It seems like every week, there are a dozen races in the DC area, so the only challenge is choosing between them.  Here is how I rank the factors:

  1. Date.  Obviously, if I am out of town on a given days, I'm not going to run.  Luckily, most days work.  This factor isn't going to help me narrow things down too much.
  2. Location.  If possible, I'd prefer to get to a race by public transportation.  In any case, I'm willing to commute only about 30 minutes.  Any further, and my time is better spent going to the local park.
  3. Course.  I'd love a run along a river, or in the woods, or through a historic neighborhood.  Back and forth along a new stretch of highway that is about to be opened up?  Not so much.
  4. Entry Fee.  Most races around here seem to start at around $30.  For me, that's about $10 too much.  Unless it's a very long race, or a must-do race, my budget is low.
  5. Cause.  I'd prefer the proceeds go for a good cause.  Which doesn't necessarily mean a big name.  A great race might be a fundraiser for a small, but important, community institution.  As long as the institution isn't the local rich kid's school, which doesn't really need my dollars.  
  6. Reputation.  I trust other runners!  If there's good buzz about the race, I'll head in that direction. 
  7. Size.  All things being equal, I'd prefer to keep it to around 1,000 entrants or fewer.  Big races seem like big hassles.
  8. Distance.  All the way down here at #8?  Yup.  It's not too important to me if it's a 5K or a 10-miler.  I'll be middle of the pack, regardless.  As long as I'm having fun. 
  9. Swag.  For a short, local race, I really could not care less whether I bring home a medal, a t-shirt, or nothing at all.  
Are there any considerations that I have missed?  What is most important to you?

Related posts:

1 comment: