I used to not look at anything other than when the race was to decide if I was going to do it. But, over time that has changed. Now, I look at lots of different things. First, I have to check our schedule and see if we are free, and if we are going to be able to have somewhere to stay the night if it’s an early start. (My husband has been to every one of my races, and I love having him there at the finish line or on the course cheering me on!)
Sometimes I do look at the price. Most races around here are $25-$30 for a 5K or 10K. I have seen a 5k advertised for $45, which I thought was ridiculous! But, that’s not a huge deal to me if it’s a race I want to do. (We pay $30 for Jake to run a 1 mile race. But it goes to our local animal shelter. And, he loves it – mainly because they have swimming pools at the end for him to lay in!)
I also look at where the entry fee goes. If it’s for a charity or a good cause then I’m all about it. We had a glow run in my town a few years ago. It was advertised as raising money to feed local families during the holidays. So, I was all over that. Not only I had not run a night race before, but it was for a really great cause that help families in my town. I ran with a few of my friends, and both of my parents did it too. The guy that put this race on was trying to save money so it could all go to the charity, so he didn’t have official timers. He had someone sitting at the finish line with a stopwatch. My official time, according to them, was 45 minutes and some odd seconds! It was hilarious! I really didn’t care that much at the time, but I’m pretty sure that I PR’d, it was just frustrating that I didn’t have an “official” time to show it. But, what was even more frustrating about this race was that the guy didn’t use the money to feed local families. He used the money to buy all his own timing equipment. After I found that out, I have never run another one of his races again. Plus, none of his races are certified courses. He has several a year, but I don’t trust that the money goes where he says it does. I know after that first one, a ton of people haven’t run any of his anymore either. When I am looking at races, I definitely look to make sure that he’s not the one putting it on.
Another thing I look at is if it is a race that I have done before. I mentioned our local race a couple of weeks ago. I hate the 5K and 10K courses. “It’s A Hill of a Race”. That’s the slogan for it. It’s not a race that I get excited for. Actually, I really dread it when I do run it. When I race, I want it to be something that I enjoy so I will want to keep doing it. To be honest, running that course makes me hate running and makes me frustrated with myself for not being able to do it well. Why would I put myself through that when I know it’s just going to frustrate me? So, when I look at races, I look to see if it’s something I’ve done before and if I enjoyed it. I have run several of the same races and I like them, with the exception of my hometown race.
Finally, I do look to see if there is a finisher’s medal. Now, this isn’t a deal breaker for me, but I do love a medal! Who doesn’t? I’m not ever going to be fast enough to place in a big race, so I would love to get a medal for finishing! Plus, if I’m paying a lot of money for the race, I would like something to show for it.
I’m really not as much of a race snob as I sound like. The only races that I will absolutely not run are the ones put on by the guy in my town. Most of the time, if it sounds fun or it’s for a good cause, I’m in!
How do you choose races?