What do you want from a race?

2005start What do you want from a race?

What do you want from a race?

Sunday night I did #runchat again on Twitter. If you’ve never done it and you’re on Twitter, check it out. A solid hour of questions and answers from runners on a huge array of running topics. One of the questions last night was, “If you were a race director, what tag line would you use to attract runners to your event?”

I thought this was a fun one and the answers were of course widely varied. My running club recently polled our members on our own races so that we could ensure we are delivering what they want on race day. As a board, it was clear that some of the old schoolers (me included) have a different set of priorities than that of today’s newer crop of runners. I’m betting the same could be said of all my readers. All of this has me curious–what do you like from a race? Give me your feedback:

1. Do you prefer a lower race fee/fewer frills or are you willing to pay extra for a nice premium?

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 someone suggested in #runchat)?

3. Is a finisher’s medal important to you or do you think they should be reserved only for those who place?

4. Do you prefer a big race with no or a high cap on participants or something a bit more intimate?

5. Expo or no expo?

Talk to me people–what’s important to you in a race?

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  1. says

    This is a tough one, I am back and forth. I do love the simple, smaller races, as I typically do better in them, but I do like some of the bigger races SWAG. I think for the most part, the smaller races for most of the season to be finished by a bigger, swaggier race.

    I love Capital Running Companies races, as they typically give cotton shirts as the race shirt, with a very low registration fee. BUT, if you are an OA or AG winner, the prize is a VERY nice plush, vest, fleece, pullover, with the race logo embroidered on. It makes you try your best to place! :)
    Dash recently posted..2011 ARMY Ten Miler Race ReportMy Profile

  2. Colleen says

    This is interesting and I can see all of those things from both sides. I’ve done small races with a few dozen people and races like Chicago Marathon yesterday with 45000 racers. There are pros and cons to each. I guess I’m a little more small town kind of girl. I like the intimate feel of a small race, no expo needed, I don’t care if there are medals, food doesn’t matter at the end, I’d rather not pay an arm and a leg, etc. I’m there to run and be around like minded people. But a nice pamper fest isn’t a horrible thing either and I usually do a few big “high energy” races as well so I’m probably not much help! :)

  3. Pat says

    I definitely like smallish to medium- sized events, say a couple hundred to no more than a couple thousand runners. I’m good with an upgraded premium a couple of times a year, but really live races that offer a no- premium option. What is the most umportant rhing I look for in a race? An ACCURATE course!!!

  4. says

    1. Do you prefer a lower race fee/fewer frills or are you willing to pay extra for a nice premium? Not a big “frills” person. Give me a cheap fee and a duct tape start/finish line.

    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 someone suggested in #runchat)? A banana and a beer is all that is need, banana optional!

    3. Is a finisher’s medal important to you or do you think they should be reserved only for those who place? Depends on the distance. If I do something epic then a medal is nice but I have a ton of medals in a shoe box now so it isn’t important. I’d rather have race fees go to making sure the course is safe and well stocked.

    4. Do you prefer a big race with no or a high cap on participants or something a bit more intimate? I like small, local races

    5. Expo or no expo? No expo, please
    Jeff recently posted..Things that Bother Me: The Triathlete EditionMy Profile

  5. says

    1. Cost of race should relate to what’s in the bag. Make sense? Don’t cheap out imo. I don’t think there are 5K’s in IL that are less than $25/30. I’ve heard of $15 one’s in other states and if they were all that cheap I would do one every week if my foot worked.

    2.I would prefer something to them running out which has happened at local over populated races. I like beer and can drink it no problem after a race and if I am with Speedy we usually do. lol.

    3. Finisher medals are nice but it’s rare for them to be handed out in IL for 5k’s. I’ve seen them mostly for 8K’s (not the BOA Shamrock shuffle though) and up. A medal only determine’s if i participate if it’s more than 8K. It doesn’t tip the scale for a 5k for me. Cost and distance matter in that + course!

    4. I like them smaller. The Wisconsin Half marathon was awesome field participant wise.

    5. Only if the expo is good. If it’s a suck fest than no. But I can only see them for big races.

    I’m going to post a pic of the swag bag for Chicago. You can tell me if it was worth $145.
    Michel recently posted..I cried just a *little bit yesterdayMy Profile

  6. says

    Big questions here! I will be back! Finishers medals not important really. lower fee/fewer frills. simple food is fine. It totally depends on the race. If I’m out to kill a PR then it doesn’t really matter to me as long as the course is well run, the support good, and the timing efficient and accurate. I think medals and a good award ceremony is nice if I”m going to bust my butt to place. :) But big races with expos are great too! I love the energy of all those runners together. I am a mixed bag kind of girl. GREAT post for discussion. :)

  7. says

    1. Do you prefer a lower race fee/fewer frills or are you willing to pay extra for a nice premium? I like lower race fees. I go to run and for tee shirts or another medal. I do like race support along the way esp. during longer ultra length events.

    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 someone suggested in #runchat)? doesn’t matter to me.

    3. Is a finisher’s medal important to you or do you think they should be reserved only for those who place? not at all important

    4. Do you prefer a big race with no or a high cap on participants or something a bit more intimate? My upcoming 50k was capped at less than 100 runners…we got sponsors for another “bus” which will allow for another maybe 40 runners…I didn’t need more runners. ;-) intimate races are my cup of tea. If I want to run alone I can plus less feet on the trail usually more better footing.

    5. Expo or no expo? Who needs an expo?! That’s what the bonfire and beer after the race is for, we talk best gear, best races, all that first hand good stuff!
    shelly recently posted..Simply SaturdayMy Profile

  8. says

    Awesome post — even better questions! Let’s see if I can help:)

    1. I am suuuuper new to the race world, but I will admit to shying away from expensive races–especially if I’m only doing a 5K or 10K. I almsot expect marathons to be expensive, but at the end of the day I definitely prefer lower race fees.

    2. After a race I honestly don’t need anything more than bagels and bananas. The last race I participated in had both + pizza and some ice cream sandwiches — but seriously, am I the only person who dislikes eating crap-food post race? For future races I’ll probably just bring a protein shake!

    3. I have never received a finisher’s medal and while I do think those awesome momentos should be reserved for those who earned it I also think those are phenomenal keepsakes for participants. I take pictures to savor a memory, but a lil loot doesn’t hurt!

    4. I’ve participated in a couple large events, but I don’t think there was a cap since I didn’t have to qualify and signed up kind of last minute… Anyway, the smaller events can be a little intimidating when you’re an insecure runner, but once you get over that it’s fun. I suppose I enjoy both!

    5. I’m not sure about everyone else, but for me the EXPO is what makes a race!! I love love looveee the Expo’s and attend them even if I’m not racing.

    =)

  9. says

    Honestly, what I want in a race depends on what my goal at the moment is. Right now, since I’m trying to qualify for Boston in a narrowing time frame, I’m looking for a fast USATF-accredited course, preferably at sea level and at a time of year when it isn’t likely to be hot. I don’t care much about medals or food or that sort of thing as long as those basics are there.

    When I’m running “goal-less,” I like smaller races, especially trail races. It’s nice to get a finishers’ medal, but the more I’ve run, the less I’ve cared about that kind of thing. M&Ms are always nice at the end of anything half-marathon length or longer. :^)
    Terzah recently posted..Fall Arrives in Earnest!My Profile

  10. says

    We probably lean more toward smaller, lower key races. Despite the fact that neither of us do many races, when we do, both of us usually enter so it’s 2x the entry fee – so lower fees are nice on the pocket book. And again, since we don’t race much, a finishers medal or a nice technical shirt is a nice item to help remember the moment. On the flip-side, there is a lot of charged up energy and excitement with the really big races. It’s a give and take but overall, we prefer the smaller scale. We did one last week that was around 950 people or so – it seemed about perfect. But we’ve done some that were 300 and 600 that seemed perfect. Probably depends a lot on the organization, too.
    Kathleen recently posted..Finally a race Report – Run Crazy Horse Half MarathonMy Profile

  11. says

    1. I probably prefer the lower race fee… but if it’s gonna be higher, the premium better be nice… the Chicago R’nR shirt was unisex and went to my hubby… really for $120 entry fee?!?!
    2. I rarely ever do the beer. Just have the water accessible – don’t make me stand in a LINE to get water. I lean to the side of simple.
    3. For a half or full marathon, definitely medal. Those are big events that the avg runner only does 1-2 x a year. It’s special. Anything less distance, skip it… although my hubby does get tickled when he gets a “marathon medal” for doing the 5k at one of my events. I think it’s wrong…
    4. Big races are fun once in a while for the excitement and array of events that go along with the race. But if I’m looking for a PR, medium-size town are where it’s at. I don’t want to be alone out there, but want congestion gone by mile 1.
    5. Expo… keep it or leave it. Again I like it once a year with a BIG event to wander around, but most of them are pointless…
    Run with Jess recently posted..The Women of the Chicago MarathonMy Profile

  12. says

    This is an awesome blog post. I’m only 25, but here are my opinions:
    – no cap on participants. because if all races did that, running would become an exclusive elitist thing. and we should encourage everyone to run and have the confidence to race :)
    – fewer frills (bagels and bananas at the end are good enough for me!), as long as we get participant T-shirts! (I’d pick a race that costs a little more, if I get a shirt, over a race that’s cheaper that doesn’t offer a shirt)
    – i love my marathon finisher medals, but i don’t see the need for one from smaller (<26.2) races. same probably goes with expos.
    Just Run With It recently posted..PRs at the Denver marathon!My Profile

  13. says

    1. Do you prefer a lower race fee/fewer frills or are you willing to pay extra for a nice premium?
    – Race fees are going up and up and up… I will pay big bucks for a few “big name” races every year with all the bells and whistles, but I REALLY appreciate the smaller events that keep it a bit more low-key and try to keep costs down.

    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 someone suggested in #runchat)?
    – Chocolate milk is my FAVE! Pizza would be a real treat – I always crave it after a race. I usually pass on the dry bagels, but fresh fruit is always good too!

    3. Is a finisher’s medal important to you or do you think they should be reserved only for those who place?
    – I like the bling!

    4. Do you prefer a big race with no or a high cap on participants or something a bit more intimate?
    – Do I have to choose?? I actually love both and mix it up equally when choosing my races.

    5. Expo or no expo?
    – Not necessary except for the big ‘uns.
    Marlene recently posted..Week 18My Profile

  14. says

    I want a medal if it is a half or a marathon. I don’t want to have to pay more than 25 for a 5k or 10k. T shirts are not a big deal, i wish they were tech shirts and gave ladies instead of unisex.

    I have never been to a race with an expo so I would love to go to one someday. I want good road guards and water stops. Beyond that the thrill of racing is why I am there!
    Christy recently posted..Flashback!My Profile

  15. says

    GAH!!!! So many questions. At this point in my life, I’m feeling the lower fees and good course support (i.e. copious aid stops). A pretty course is always a plus too! Decent t-shirts are a bonus. Don’t care so much about the medal.

    I love expos because of the fun gear, but the good expos are usually associated with a HUGE race. That means an over-crowded and stressful expo. I felt claustrophobic during the RNR San Diego expo. It was ridiculous. We could not get out of there fast enough.
    Allison Johnson recently posted..A Half Day in the Life of JOATMONMy Profile

  16. says

    1. I don’t mind paying a little more if the race is well organized. I enjoy nice t-shirts, but that’s about all I wear. Paying for speakers seems a little over-rated because they always have the same ones, and there never seems be much of a crowd when they speak.
    2. Simple – but I’m not much of a socializer … I think it’s nice when races have big events at the end, but I usually don’t stick around too long.
    3. I LOVE the medals for all who finish. Even though it’s a stupid little piece of metal, it really signifies a huge accomplishment for most people.
    4. Much prefer big races. Small races bore me. I can run by myself everyday in my training.
    5. I’m not a big Expo guy, because I have only seen a couple where everything was the same. Plus, I’m probably not shopping for the right stuff, but I’ve never really found THAT great of deals.
    Jim recently posted..Back-to-Back Plan of AttackMy Profile

  17. says

    1. Do you prefer a lower race fee/fewer frills or are you willing to pay extra for a nice premium?

    I’d prefer a lower race fee. Unless it’s a nice tech shirt, I’d rather NOT get a tshirt and save a little $. I can count on one hand the number of race shirts I actually wear.

    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 someone suggested in #runchat)?

    Bagels/bananas are nice. The race this weekend had fresh bread and honey, which was AWESOME. Pizza is nice, but not important.

    3. Is a finisher’s medal important to you or do you think they should be reserved only for those who place?

    Finishers medals are cool, but for me more just for the long races. For shorter ones, meh. That said, having a medal for my very first 5K was pretty cool.

    4. Do you prefer a big race with no or a high cap on participants or something a bit more intimate?

    I like running with fewer people, but the downside of that is that there’s usually less spectator support. The marathon I ran with my brother had such sparse encouragement along the course. I was really glad we had each other or it would’ve been really lonely.

    5. Expo or no expo?

    Nah, I don’t have much money, so I probably won’t buy anyway.

    Talk to me people–what’s important to you in a race?

    A good, fun route. Something interesting to look at is nice. Lower cost is better. Really, I’m racing for the RACE itself, not for the extras.
    Kate recently posted..What would you do-oo-oo for a Klondike race?*My Profile

  18. says

    1. I’d like race fees to be affordable. Really, the only thing I’d like out of it is a NICE tech tee shirt. And by NICE I mean one with a thoughtful design/artwork/logo. And a ladies option would be nice. Otherwise, don’t bother and keep the cost down.

    2. I don’t care too much about finish line food, since I always bring my own post-race food – being Paleo I don’t really want bagels, donuts, pizza and the like. And there’s never enough fruit, so it’s easier just to bring my own. We did have beer after a metric century ride, once, which was GREAT, but nothing like that after a running race unless we brought our own.

    3. For running races, I think you can leave the medals for those who place, which would also help keep costs down. But I just did the Maui 1/2 Marathon and got my first finishers medal (for a running race) and I like it. Perhaps for larger races it’s more appropriate. I think I’d like one for a marathon for sure.

    4. I just ran my first BIG race (meaning more than 100 people) and it was great fun! I like our smaller Maui races and run as many as I can, and would love to see more large races here on island.

    5. I only want an Expo if they have quality sports-related vendors. I don’t want to see another Expo that has a bunch of knick-knacky, swap meet stuff. Bring us big names – footwear, apparrel, accessories, authors, etc. THAT WOULD BE AWESOME (but then, I live on an island and even a handful of vendors would be great!).
    Di-Tri-ing recently posted..Smoothie Friday: Kiwi GreenMy Profile

  19. says

    1. I’m willing to pay more for a medal, but generally cheaper is better.
    2. I loved having Jet’s Pizza and Rita’s at the end of a 5K, but for longer races I find that stuff a little overwhelming.
    3. I will never be fast enough to place. Ever. So yes, I love finisher’s medals.
    4. I tend to prefer something medium sized. I don’t like to come in too close to last, but huge crowds make me really anxious.
    5. I’ve only been to one expo and it was lame, so I prefer just doing packet pickup at my local running store because I like having an excuse to stop in and visit.
    Sarah S recently posted..Bobble Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  20. says

    I go back and forth on some of these things. I know for my next marathon I want a bigger field with more crowd support than the last one that I ran because I like the energy of the bigger events especially in those final miles. For my next half, though, I imagine that I will be trying to PR and a no-frills, less crowded course might be nice for that. I like getting a finisher’s medal for anything more than a 10K, and I’m willing to pay a heftier registration fee for a marathon or a half. If I’m paying more than $30 for a 5K, I better be getting chocolate or roses at the end of it.
    Raquelita recently posted..Two Miles and a Thank YouMy Profile

  21. CJ says

    1. Do you prefer a lower race fee/fewer frills or are you willing to pay extra for a nice premium?
    I like a nice premium (like the Baltimore 10-miler has offered in recent years), but I don’t want to pay through the nose for it. Recently, I really wanted a specific premium, but the race seemed too disorganized so I asked myself whether I could get a nicer jacket for the $65 race fee, and the answer was yeah, probably.

    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 someone suggested in #runchat)?
    Simple is just fine with me. I might register for a special race once every year or two with something extra (champagne? chocolate?), but I hate beer (unlike a lot of other runners) so it’s not a draw for me. This year’s Baltimore 10-miler with almost no post-race food, poor to mediocre course support, and the emphasis on beer and after-party kinda turned me off, for example. OBX last year didn’t have much in the way of post-race food, but the course support and medal were way cool.

    3. Is a finisher’s medal important to you or do you think they should be reserved only for those who place?
    I want to earn a medal through effort, but I’m not ever going to place. Effort for me means going long (marathon or longer), and I feel like it’s medal-worthy. Medals for 5K, 10K, 10-miler seems like the #1 ribbon for everyone at a kid’s event.

    4. Do you prefer a big race with no or a high cap on participants or something a bit more intimate?
    Up to several thousand is fun. Cherry Blossom pushes my tolerance for crowds–it’s never a PR try for me. Huge races don’t appeal to me.

    5. Expo or no expo?
    Expos can be fun, but I always like the option for alternate packet pickup (running store prerace). Sometimes the race is too close for a hotel overnight, but it’s too inconvenient to travel to both the expo and the race (Washington or Baltimore Beltway?).

  22. says

    I want lower race fees.
    I generally want something simple for snacks. I HATE hot food at the end of a race.
    I want a finisher’s medal for a half and full marathon.
    I love big and small races. I prefer small for the most part but a big one now and then is awesome.
    Expo for a big race but only if it is a good one. A HA Expo is not worth it.

  23. says

    Good questions. I live in and started running in NYC, which is dominated by the New York Road Runners (the ones who put on the New York City Marathon). Every race is HUGE – normally about 5000 people – with very little in the way of frills. A bagel, a t-shirt, that’s about it (although they ARE extremely well organized, and always have reliable chip timing). I got into triathlon and was amazed that there was schwag! And real food at the finish! And other good stuff! So, I think my opinion is skewed. Anyway…

    1. Do you prefer a lower race fee/fewer frills or are you willing to pay extra for a nice premium? I am cheap and already spend WAY too much on this sport thing. I’m fine with NO premium, frankly, but a tech shirt is always appreciated. Cotton t’s? Meh.

    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 someone suggested in #runchat)? I like fruit. Chicken broth or hot chocolate at cold races is fantastic. I’m always especially pleased to get Muscle Milk / Coconut water / other sponsor drink goodies.

    3. Is a finisher’s medal important to you or do you think they should be reserved only for those who place? I don’t care. For a marathon, maybe.

    4. Do you prefer a big race with no or a high cap on participants or something a bit more intimate? I like not being alone / lonely, since almost all of my training is alone.

    5. Expo or no expo? Except for at the biggest events (world marathon majors, for example) the expo is always lame. So no expo.

  24. says

    ok first off i am pissed i missed the chat as i am in a bad state about negative thoughts while racing and need some help on how to change that.

    as for your questions:
    1- if it is a small race then smaller fees and don’t need much, but if it is a big race i would pay more to get more
    2-i like simple, bagels, bananas and COLD water
    3- don’t need medal, but i will say a great 5 mile female only run in my area, gives out flip flop charm necklaces instead of a medal to all finishers, that is a cute, nice, different touch.
    4-i like the smaller races for my local area, but big ones for traveling
    5-love love love expos
    feener recently posted..running with daughter and racing or pacingMy Profile

  25. says

    1. Do you prefer a lower race fee/fewer frills or are you willing to pay extra for a nice premium?
    -> I depends. If it is a local race, I rather pay less. However if it is a out of state race, I like the little details.

    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 someone suggested in #runchat)?
    -> Bagels and banana works for me

    3. Is a finisher’s medal important to you or do you think they should be reserved only for those who place?
    -> I like medals. If it is a local race, I think only the AG winner should get one, but if it is an out of state race I like my bling. Great memory!

    4. Do you prefer a big race with no or a high cap on participants or something a bit more intimate?
    -> I prefer small races, 2000 runners is perfect!

    5. Expo or no expo?
    -> Not a big expo person, either one works for me
    Christine recently posted..Life after the MarathonMy Profile

  26. says

    1. How about medium-sized fees? I do a variety of races (cheap entries to really expensive fees). As long as it’s a well-organized race with some amenities for the runners (mainly, a good number of water stops), I’m set.

    2. Sometimes, I find it difficult to eat after a race, so just a little food is fine by me. My husband and I usually go out to eat after a big race, anyway. We splurge on the good stuff then!

    3. I think finisher medals should only be given out for longer distances, like half-marathons, marathons and ultras. Medals for 10-mile races are good, too. Medals for 5Ks are just silly, unless you placed overall or in your AG.

    4. Big races are fun every once in a while, but I run small local races more than anything. Big races are fun to travel to, so that’s why I throw a destination race in my schedule once a year.

    5. Expo or no expo? I only like race expos if I’m traveling to a race (although I did spend WAY too much money at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon/10-Mile expo).
    Richelle recently posted..Race Report: City of Lakes 25KMy Profile

  27. says

    It really depends. I run both. I’ll run cheap 5ks, 10ks, and 15ks all day. No t shirt or food needed. But if I run a half or more, I do want a medal. The amount I care about swag and food depends on what I paid. If I paid $100, there better be a nice shirt and food… If I paid $40, a medal and a stale bagel is fine.
    Lesley @RacingItOff recently posted..Tyler Rose Half Marathon Race ReportMy Profile

  28. says

    I typically only pick a couple races a year because of the entry fees. So it’d be cool to have races with the appeal of a great course and post-race fun with maybe less “schwag”. After all, I can buy a tech shirt for $16.99 at Target. It’d be great not to have to pay $80 to enter a race and only get a shirt and some coupons to Applebee’s or Waffle House. Now, I get races aren’t cheap, but take some of what you’d spend on goodie bags and put it toward the event itself, and it’d be a lot more fun! Medals for overall and division winners, and maybe commemorative bumper stickers of the event for all finishers (again, cheaper). I like medium-sized crowds. Don’t wanna run alone, but don’t need to be shoulder-to-shoulder.
    Jen recently posted..Monday Morning MuseMy Profile

  29. says

    I’ve been running for so long that I really don’t mind if there is no swag at all. I also prefer small races with no expo and very few people. I would rather pay less and get nothing. I have more than a thousand medals at home and about 270 t-shirts still in plastic bags. Lately I enter 2 or 3 expensive but very exclusive races each year. These are open for limited numbers and usually include a run through some wilderness areas where the public is not allowed. The race I’m doing at the end of Oct is one of those. Only 100 runners allowed and you have to give R500.00 (SA Rand) to conservation of that area.
    Johann recently posted..Golden Gate Challenge PreviewMy Profile

  30. says

    i’d rather a cheaper race with just bananas at the end!! maybe a bagel if it’s a longer event. and a medal is a must!!! i love getting medals and i think if it’s a multi distance event (half/full) there should be 2 diff medals. sorry, i did twice the distance at my half ironman and got the same medal as the olympic finishers. yea, no…i want a different one! ;-) i think expos lately are a bunch of crap, i could never go to one again and be perfectly happy.
    Denise recently posted..It’s Not Just A Dream!My Profile

  31. says

    I like races that have different kinds of foods at the end. Not just bananas and bagels. I think that companies miss opportunities to showcase healthy aspects of their menus by not showing up to hand out free food or get involved in races.

    I like a medal. Its just what we do as runners is collect these things. It doesnt even have to be a medal but something to bring home.

    I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to a race. I like for it to be well organized but the size of the race doesn’t really bother me. A good expo is a plus but not necessary.
    Coy recently posted..Bourbon Chase. I did shots at 7 am.My Profile

  32. says

    1.) I am willing to pay a little more for a little nicer tech shirt or a lot of goodies in my race bag (cheap fees to me equal cheap cotton t-shirts and a low end goody bag).

    2. ) Oh how I like my beer at the end, but I would be ok with bagels and bananas.

    3.) I like having some sort of souvenir from the race. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a medal, but I do like having something with the race name and date. Having a medal placed around my head is always cool though. :)

    I’m indifferent on this on #’s 4 & 5.
    Tara recently posted..Molly’s Virtual Fall 5K Race RecapMy Profile

  33. says

    For me:
    Great race shirt
    Good course support – with fun music or kitchy stops like the pickle juice
    Expo
    Food at the end – ehh I need something but I really prefer those that do something creative like hot apple cider or the whole hot chocolate run than beer and burger. I don’t stick around for that
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  34. says

    Don’t need the expo. End up spending money I don’t need to spend and eating things I don’t typically eat, BUT it is great for me to meet people running the booths so as a business they have become a necessary evil.

    Finisher’s medals are a must. I don’t believe in the everybody gets a medal mentality we see in little league these days but there are people who are doing something they never thought they could do (run) and it is great for them to get something to remember it by.

    Being a city kid I love big races, but at the same time cannot say I have participated in a small running race. Triathlons yes have been small in comparison to HIM and IM but not in a running race. All that being said I love seeing people and hanging out after a race so the bigger the better.

    Bagels and bananas are all I need otherwise I may eat needlessly.

    How small is small? Do you pay $10 less and have $100 worth of less goodies? That is all dependent I think.
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  35. says

    1. I am willing to pay a little more to have the race organized! and have a time chip that is a must for me.

    2. simple for me as I usually cannot eat after anyway. water and banana is fine.

    3. a finisher’s medal is important yes for everyone!

    4. I like both.

    5. Expo or no expo? No Expo. I don;t care about it at all.
    caroline recently posted..Giveaway winner and some newsMy Profile

  36. says

    When I first started running, I really liked the whole big race, big bling aspect. (but I always dislike expos – too many people!)
    Now, if I’m racing, I prefer a much smaller field. That way I’m not weaving in and out so much. I really don’t need swag, most of it is stuff I don’t want or need. But I love seeing people getting excited about a first medal and the finisher’s shirt!
    That Pink Girl recently posted..Texas ToughMy Profile

  37. says

    Great post with some easy answers for me. 1. I’m cheap so lower race fees are right up my alley. 2. Fruit and bagels are perfect! Add in some water and I’m all set. 3. All finishers of “longer” races should get a medal. I don’t expect on at a 5K or 10K or even a 15K, but if I’m going to run a half I want a medal. 4. Intimate!! 5. Could care less whether there is an expo.

  38. says

    I’m going to be honest with you, I like to mix it up. I run big races and small, expensive and cheap. Medals and no medals. Every race attracts me for different reasons. But, specifically:

    1. Do you prefer a lower race fee/fewer frills or are you willing to pay extra for a nice premium?

    My favorite races have been somewhere in between. I personally think that the down-home races that are run privately but are still run well with frills are better than the big huge races with tons of frills, tons of cost, and a corporation running them. Comparing the St Lukes Lehigh Valley Half Marathon in spring 2010, which was privately run but had a ton of frills (good food at the end, bands on the course, nice medals and premiums) and the Rock & Roll Philly in the fall of 2010, which had the same stuff but on steroids, I prefered St Lukes. It had a more personal feel, and the race fee was moderate. The rock & rolls are expensive.

    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 someone suggested in #runchat)?

    I like to snack on a few things. Banans and bagels are fine. I also like some sort of protein if possible. This depends though. I don’t want to pig out, and if the race is late enough in the day, I don’t mind a beer. Personally, my favorite post race food happens to be at the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler in Baltimore, where they offer soup and mulled wine. In fact, all colder temperature races should offer soup!! (the St. Lukes race mentioned above had soup!!)

    3. Is a finisher’s medal important to you or do you think they should be reserved only for those who place?

    Since I have never placed, and probably won’t until I’m in my 60s and that is just for age group, this question comes to me the same as saying “medal or no medal.” I don’t frankly care what the people who place get. Otherwise, it depends on the size of the race. Don’t give me a medal for a 5K. Really, half marathon or marathon, I expect a medal, and that’s it. No other races need to offer them, and I don’t need a whole bunch of extra medals for running more than one race, either. I’ll take a nice shirt.

    4. Do you prefer a big race with no or a high cap on participants or something a bit more intimate?

    I ran a 5K in 2010 where only 40 people ran, and it was such a great race and so low key. But… big races with lots of spectators are nice, too. I like to mix it up. I’ve only run marathons that were 15,000 participants or above, and if I run another after this year, I plan to pick a smaller race.

    5. Expo or no expo?

    I need to go to at least a couple of expos a year, just to browse. That’s right, I said NEED. But, I don’t need one for every race. They are nice to have, for sure.
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