Tuesday, March 13

What do you want in a race?

A few months ago Jamoosh (Last Mile Lounge) and Miss Zippy each posted some interesting questions around the topic:
"What do you want in a race?"
1. Do you prefer a lower race fee/fewer frills or are you willing to pay extra for a nice premium?
Lower fee with less bells and whistles is the way to go. I prefer to race early and often.
2. At the finish line, do you want something simple like bagels and bananas, or do you want goodies like beer, pizza, and desserts?
As long as there are orange slices and water, I'm a happy camper. If there is beer, too, even better. But orange slices are my only must-have. I do enjoy a good post-race party, but I'm there to run. I can go out to brunch later.
Orange slices are the way to this runner's post-race heart.
3. Is a finisher’s medal important to you or do you think they should be reserved only for those who place?
I do keep my bibs from all races, but the only medals I've ever kept are medals earned by placing (either AG or O'all). The rest go to Medals for Mettle.
I don't have any moral objection to races handing out medals to all finishers, I just don't have any particular attachment to finisher's medals. (...except that one from the Gulf Shores half. That medal is really a beer bottle opener. I'll probably keep that one.)
I'm wearing the medal post-race,
but I won't be keeping it...
4. Do you prefer a big race with a high cap on participants or something a bit more intimate?
I used to think I didn't care... Then I spent a year running 150-400 person races. I'm hooked on the small stuff now.
5. Expo or no expo?
No Expo! I really dislike it when the packet pickup procedure forces participants to weave through the expo vendor booths. It's like we're being herded like consumer cattle. I almost never buy anything at an expo and just find the whole thing a total waste of time. (This might explain part of #4 above.)
So I guess I've become a small-town (runner) girl?

What are your answers?


  1. 1. Cheaper with fewer frills. My definition of cheap might be skewed by the fact that I live in the South and I run a lot of trail races though.

    2. I put a nice spread in the plus column for a race but I am usually not hungry after a race so no big deal.

    3. I like a nice medal but I don't have to have one. I'd rather have no medal at all than a really cheap one. I'm waiting to run a race that gives special clothing for finishing. One local trail race gives nice fleece pullovers for finishing.

    4. Intimate. Oddly enough, the more racers there are the higher the price works out to be. Seems like it would be the opposite! I can't see myself enjoying a race with 10K+ people.

    5. I don't mind expos if the race offers race day packet pickup too. I hate hassle. Wasting my lunch break to drive downtown the day before a race and pay $10 to park is a huge turnoff. I have paid extra money to have a packet mailed to me instead of doing this.

    1. Oh... good point on packet pickup. I LOVE races that have packet pickup on race morning!

  2. 1. I have grown to like smaller races as well. the nightmare of traffic and logistics has turned me away from frequent big name races. although a few are worth the extra hassle.

    2. At the finish line, do you want something simple like bagels and bananas, or do you want goodies like beer, pizza, and desserts?
    water and maybe a granola bar and I'm good. I'll want a real feast once my stomach settles!

    3. I do like finishers medals, but it's not a dealbreaker if a race doesn't have them for all finishers

    4. give me small races! i participated in the hot chocolate race in DC and it was awful. way too large and not well organized! although I don't mind a few hundred people so I'm not the last one to finish!

    5. I really only walk around 1 expo per year, so I'd be okay if they didn't have them.


    1. I heard hot chocolate DC was a disaster... but some of their other races were good?

      Anyway - I can't imagine eating chocolate that soon after running. Give me an hour to recover, and I'll demolish a stack of french toast, bacon, scrambled eggs, coffee, and a bloody mary... but at the finish line my stomach is not usually a happy camper.

  3. I have to admit that I really love the energy of bigger races, and think I definitely prefer them for marathons. I am fine with smaller races for shorter distances, though, it makes it easier to try to PR when you don't have to constantly weave around people.

  4. made a blog out of it :) check it out!


  5. I definitely like keeping it small. I think many of the big races are too big for the course.


Penny for your thoughts?