I’m talking about race size here. Each year I do a wide variety of races in terms of distance, size, terrain, etc. I like them all for a different reasons, but lately I’ve been thinking about race size and how much it affects my enjoyment of the event.
As I see it, the cons to racing the monster events:
- Hassle factor–getting to these races is generally an ordeal–it requires leaving at some ridiculous hour to make sure you can get parked and have plenty of time to warm-up, line-up, etc.
- Fighting the crowds at the start. While many races are getting better at setting up corrals and enforcing them, there’s still the jostling for position. In really big races, you sometimes never get much breathing room.
- Finding family and friends at the end can be difficult and time consuming.
- Getting back out of the venue can suck up half your day.
The pros to the big races:
- Usually very well-run events
- Great crowd support
- It can be fun to be part of a huge community of runners out there sharing the day
The cons to small races:
- Organization is not always the best
- May not have accurate mile markers/timing
- Lack of crowd support
- May not have adequate water stops, etc.
The pros to small races:
- Easy to get into/out of
- More camaraderie with your fellow racers
- Finding family and friends at end is easy
- More room to spread out and run a good race
Clearly, there are upsides/downsides to both. For me, though, I think I’m starting to lean towards the smaller affairs for most of my races these days. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a NYC marathon sometime (gotta run it once, right?) or that I won’t partake in some of the local big events like the Cherry Blossom 10-miler. But for the most part, I think I’m giving my nod to the small- to medium-sized races. What about you?