Choosing a Race – What Do You Consider?

Howdy readers,
I’m thinking of profiling some races here at iRunFar and am wondering how you choose which races to run.

  • Do factors such as date, size, cost, and location – all of which are usually found a race’s website – play a predominant role? If so, which ones?
  • Which factors beyond the vital stats that are typically found on the websites do you consider?
  • Do you consider on other people’s descriptions of past events? Do your consider written race reports? Do you look at photos of past events?
  • Are there questions that you’d like to ask a race director about his or her event, such as about community relations, environmental impact, charitable giving, or anything else for that matter?

Please share your thought process in how you choose races, so I can provide you and others with the information that’s most important to you!

There are 7 comments

  1. angie's pink fu

    date, location and cutoff times are my top priorities.then i think about vital stats – distance/elevation gain/aid stations (well supported or not? do i want one vs the other?). generally, by this time, i've registered (regardless of the price).then i go searching for photos and race descriptions to get a feel for what i've gotten myself into :) i especially like to find elevation profiles and photos. i like to ask RDs about accommodating they are towards slowpokes like me (early start? cutoff times?).

  2. AnthonyP

    Typically, the top factors in choosing a race to run for me are DATE and LOCATION. This is particularly important to me in light of my busy work and family schedule. I will tend to choose one "big travel" race each year (involving air travel and more then a weekend of time away from home) and as many "minor travel" races (short to mid length drives usually involving taking one day off from work) as I can.After figuring out which races are doable as far as DATES and LOCATION, I will take a look at mystique and challenge – I like to do races that have a rich history and that are challenging. To assess those aspects, I will talk to other runners (like you) and read various race reports and race statistics/write-ups. I will also look at photos, elevation profiles and stats of past events, especially to see if I can get a good idea as to what the course is like (smooth, hilly, rooty, rocky, etc…).

  3. Loomdog

    location location location. For me some of the best runs are the local ones that are easy to get too and get back. Also the ones I really want to travel for are always in a great location I want to visit.Then Date and course are a tied for 2nd. Planning the calendar is a challenge these days with all the great runs out there, however. Course is truly importatnt because lets face it…some courses just are not fun. If I am not trained specifically for faster turnover…and easy flat road/dirt road course is gonna suck or be a mental downer compared to past performances. Conversely if I have not been doing hilly technical footing work a course like MMT is going to be a sufferfest. I try to go to the races my gut wants to go to and then train appropriately…if I am not trained how I should be I will forgo those that will have more suck and less fun to them.

  4. olga

    Course comes first – how tough, how beautiful. History of the race, remarks of other runners (hopefully who I know and can relay in description). Then date and location (I travel for half of yearly races) – duh, silly me, location determines toughness and beauty…may be not. Cost – not for entry fee, but for airfare. Yes for race reports and pictures! Pictures for a look at the trail terrain and what's around. I look at race results and try to find somebody who is around me in other races to predict how long it'd take me (and I prefer it'd take me over 11 hrs for a 50:)). I don't care for goodie bag, and generally never ask question from the RD (once I became an RD, I can't believe how many questions people do have! Just come over and run!). Size – as long as it's over some 20 folks…otherwise it's boring out there for a race (not for a run, mind you).

  5. Bedrock

    As with everyone else, location is a big one for me. Also, the terrain and date/time are big for races that I use as training runs. For example, I chose Bel Monte because of its close (realtively) proximity to Charlotte. The terrain and timing also fit in very well with Massanutten in May.As I am relatively new to ultras, I am in the process of "trying" a number of races in various locations across the US. Therefore, location will likely be my top reason for the next couple of years.

  6. audgepodge

    Definitely the course – I chose Chicago because it was flat and Disney because I knew it would be fun to run through all four parks. Climate is now also going to be a focus – looking for perfect running weather this time around.But I also like to see what kind of medal I would get too :)

  7. Trail Goat

    Wow – thanks for all the input guys. There are some new races, as well as some oldies that I want to profile. All this information will really help! Plus, it's just interesting to know why people run the races they do.

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