What do you consider when choosing which race to run?

It seems like EVERYBODY raced this weekend and everybody is wearing their PRO Compression St. Patrick’s Day socks while they race (I wore mine to watch 3 episodes of King of Queens this morning, does that count).

It got me thinking about what factors runners take into account when signing up for races!

I am going to list a bunch of different factors and in the comments I want you to tell me the TOP 3 FACTORS that you consider when choosing what races to run!

1.  Friends.  Do you take into account whether or not you have friends that are racing the course too?  Does that make you more likely to sign up for the race?

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2.  The price of the race.  Does the price of the race determine if you will race it?

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(One months teaching salary was used to pay for this race;)

3.  The LOCATION!! Is it close by?  Is it somewhere that you have always wanted to travel to?  Has the race always been on your bucket list?

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4.  Level of difficulty!  Is it a course that is going to get me a personal record?  Do you sign up for a race because you have heard it is an ‘easy/flat/fast’ course?

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5.  Race distance.  Is the distance of the race what determines whether or not you will do it?  (I have a phobia about 5ks)

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6.  Competitions at the race.  Does knowing you could place or age group place determine your desire to sign up for a specific race?  What about the size of the race…. do you prefer running smaller races or big races?

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7.  A beautiful course?  Do you sign up for a race because you know that course is going to be outrageously beautiful and take your mind off of the fact that you want to pass out because you are so tired?

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8.  Shirts, the medals and cool SWAG!  Do you factor in the cool stuff that you get for doing the race into actually signing up for a race?

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9.  THEME RACES?  Do holiday races, mud runs, color runs etc. make you more likely to sign up for one?

10.   OTHER (please specify)

 

What are the top three things that you take into consideration when signing up for a race?

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89 comments

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1. location
2. timing of the race on the calendar
3. cost taking into consideration the factors of the whole event and the benefits that you get (flat course, swag, low hotel cost, etc).

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1 distance. I never do 5ks either. Too fast
2 atmosphere. I like to have fun and a lot if people
To rave with so I’m not last
3 location. Urban races are my favorite. I’m a city
Girl afterall

10ks are my favorite

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Never reply on your iphone. That’s not rave that’s race!!

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I ran my first half by myself because it was a goal to finish, but now I sign up if I have a friend going! :) Donuts are goood! The race I did today had baked beans at the end of the race. Weird..haha :)

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Definitely, for me, it’s FRIENDS, price and location!!! BTDubs, loooove the pinata costumes. Amazing!

xo

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I consider the price, the swag bags and if the race is sponsoring a charity. =)

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What are the top three things that you take into consideration when signing up for a race?
1. Location
2. Distance (I’ve been going for more long distance runs 10k or more)
3. Price

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1. weather (hot & humid are evil to my body)
2. course (includes the location, & will it be visually distracting)
3. cost (unfortunately it is a big factor–running is an expensive hobby; but hey, at least it’s healthy!)

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1. Shorter races I often sign up are for half marathon prep (so b4 a bigger race).
2. Friends
3. Often sign up for a race to beat my time of last years.

Race season starts soon here in Chicago!

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1) Location (I’ve actually only ever done races close to where I live..I need to travel for a race sometime!)
2) Friends
3) Price

**I also do consider the season I will be stuck training in (i.e. will I be long-running through the hot hot summer or super cold winter?)

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Pretty much the same as Cori.
1. Cost
2. Location – Prefer is the race is somewhat local or an easy drive. I haven’t had the pleasure of traveling to a race. As much as I would love to. Most of my races are fairly close to home. Farther away = typically more costly = longer drive = no bueno!
3. Whether the distance matches up with if I am training for something else or not

Seriously considered a St Patty’s day run, they had one fairly close both last weekend and this weekend but didn’t feel like spending the $! We have a son about the same age as Brooke. Instead I just did my long runs at home…Training for my 5th half marathon.

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Location – Can I drive there that day, or is it close enough to a family/friend where I can spend the night at their place for free.

Race Course – If it has hills, I say no!

Friends – who else can I pressure to do it with me.

Price – Under $100 for sure!

Swag – Is the price going to give me enough swag?

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I take all those things into consideration, but top three are probably:
1. location
2. time
3. cost

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1. Location
2. Swag and other (I run the Hot Chocolate Run for the hot chocolate and the bag of chocolates from Chocolaterie Stam)
3. Price

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I think I have four top things I look at when signing up for races:
1. Price
2. Location (it has to be close to where we live)
3. Of course, the medals HAVE to be awesome.
4. I hate to admit this one, but the course has to have portable toilets at least every two miles because I have gastrointestinal issues. not fun! I’ve seen some races where aid stations are every five miles, or non-existent (like in some inaugural races, and I was mad!)

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Ashley, you would love the Frederick Marathon (Maryland). They had porta-potties every mile!!!!!!!!!!! It was wonderful!

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That sounds awesome! I am actually from Maryland, but live in CA now. Maybe I should save up for it! :-)

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Gosh, so many things go into my race selection.
1) distance (I prefer half-marathons and 10-milers). I rarely do 10-K’s and it’s been forever since I’ve run a 5K–not enough distance for my entry fee $$, lol! Also, it now takes me about 3 miles to warm up for a race. So, I cross the finish line of a 5K all ready to go! =)
2) location (someplace fun to travel to either with my family or solo, cool scenery, a new trail? Love it!)
3) swag (I’m doing the NWM half marathon in D.C. next month largely for the swag, lol! That Tiffany necklace called my name!)
4) size of race–I like a balance of funky, small races and big ol’ productions through the year.

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Location, price, and how big it is. I ran my first half-marathon yesterday in DC with 30,000 other runners, I will never run in a race that big again!

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Top 3 for me are Price, Location, and overall feel of the race! If I can’t afford a race because it’s to much, it kind of deters me only because it’s hard for me to rationalize the “good” factor when there are so many other races out there to run! My Bebe’s certainly come first =) Location is another factor because of course you have to travel and with travel comes money. And I like a good, fun race to run! I think it’s ultimately all about what you feel is a good fit for you and whether or not you’ll have a blast!!!

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I always look at the elevation chart and recently decided not to do a beautiful race because the elevation was crazy! Usually I’ll choose one near by or driving distance or if we travel to visit family/ friends I try and sneak a race in! I’ve always wanted to do NYC and Nike Women’s .

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Very good question! What I care about the most is:
1) day and time (I mostly do Saturday races as hubby and I volunteer at an animal shelter each Sunday AM; and a start time after 8AM so that we don’t have to wake up too early)
2) distance… I won’t sweat for a 5k.
3) location – I’m a huge fan of local races, hubby thinks it’s crazy to run a race on vacation (but I’ll do it if it will be convenient)
4) organization – I prefer locally organized races, not big shows like Rock’n’Roll…

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1. Competition/prizes/awards for top finishers – I consider this all the same because generally if there is a decent prize/award there is good competition!
2. Distance – I am the opposite of you! I almost only run 5Ks! Maybe a 25K or 1/2 marathon once a year or every other year!
3. Price.

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1. friends – I just love doing races with my friends
2. beautiful course – We flew to the west coast to run Big Sur because of the beautiful course!
3. fast course – I ran the Steamtown Marathon becasue I read that it was a fast course, and that was my PR race.

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I take into consideration the price of the race and what I get for that price. For example, I ran the Princess Half and I just signed up for another Disney Race and while their entry fees are pretty steep, what you get for them (and the overall experience) makes it worth it. I also pick a race based on what (or if there even is) a beneficiary. I just signed up for a race that benefits Autism Speaks because special populations hold a high place in my heart.

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It’s so hard to decide. It all depends what race season you’re in. I love your top reasons and I would agree to all of them. Mine would be
1. location, location, location
2. race organization/purpose of race
3. distance

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1. Friends – if I’m going to force myself to run for a long period of time, I don’t want to be the only one suffering!

2. Price – as a poor college student, this is definitely a factor!

3. Location – like you said, a pretty course is a great distraction!!

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I love all of these races. Destination plays a big part in my decision for sure. But it makes it 1000 times better if you’re doing it with friends! I love the costumes. Donuts are a plus too of course.

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1-Price
2- location
3- distance

I would run every race physically possible if I could afford it but those bucket list races are definitely worth their hefty price tag.

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Three things I like to consider are: friends/family/anyone to run and talk to!
Atmosphere… Are there lots of people cheering, fun environment etc. and also competition! I was also way jealous of all the racers/prs out there today!

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1. short races are the best.. I like it over with fast.. 1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles.

2. I love to place in my age group. I don’t care about my time as long as I place and get a metal or trophy! I’m working on being the first woman finisher overall!!

3. close to home = less runners and cheap $.

I have zero races right now that I want to do… because of cost and location. ;0(

Does anyone else run the same races year in and year out?

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Cost is my my first decider (hence why I have never done a Disney race). I also consider the atmosphere of the race. I am all about having fun and look for races that are full of other people there for a good time, not necessarily breaking records.

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1) Location – I tend to stay close to home

2) Price – I am a teacher too!

3) Logistics/organization – I used to do the Broad Street Run in Philly. It’s a great 10 mile course that is fast and flat. But over the past few years it has tripled in size since I first ran it (they finally had to cap it) and it became a logistical nightmare first to sign up and then get to the starting line on time on race morning. So I “retired” from that one :)

Today I ran the Caesar Rodney 1/2 Marathon and it fit all three of my requirements!

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Location is numero uno for me! I am not big on having to drive over an hour to race.
The only time I factor in the speed of a course is if I need a quick time to get a good seed for a more important race.

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All of the above – #1 is location, then everything else just falls into place! There are many I am considering to do and will eventually that are out of state. Those I have heard talked about forever!

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1. Location – both local, if it’s easy for me to get to with public transportation, or destination, if I can make a vacation out of it.
2. Price to swag ratio :)
3. Timing on the calendar

I wish friends were a factor, but I have very few run buddies!

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For me I mainly consider: price, location, and distance. I will run a race with friends too, but usually it depends on those first three factors as well.

Speaking of color runs, I’m surprised you’ve never done one (at least that you’ve blogged about) it seems like you’d have fun at one. I’ve never done one either, but hopefully I will sometime. That is one race when I think it would be no fun to do without friends.

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I love running races that aren’t toooo busy (yet I’m running the Seattle RnR- go figure), have gorgeous scenery, and I prefer to run with my boyfriend. Price definitely plays a factor too!

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Distance,location,swag

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I’m really practical when it comes to choosing races:
1. Distance
2. Cost
3. Location… which directly relates to #2

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1. Location 2. Cost 3. Timing. I’ve only done a few races so far, but I’m not willing to spend a bunch of money to travel far for it or pay for a fancy one. Hopefully someday I will though! The far away, expensive ones always intrigue me the most.

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Those are all things I think about, but my top 3 are:
1. Location – I like rural and trail races and somewhere fun to go!
2. Beautiful course – I ran my first marathon on Saturday in Pocahontas State Park, VA, and it was a gorgeous trail race!
3. Theme – I love mud runs! I’m also doing a color run in July!

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i LOVE that last picture of you. HOW oh HOW do you look SO AMAZING after running a marathon?!?! And I do believe you placed in that one- I remember the post a few months…or year? back. You really ARE superwoman :D
I definitely take into consideration cost, location, length & size of the event. I prefer something that is not too crazy in price- although the NY marathon would be a dream…so I would love to do it once, even though I know it’s SUPER expensive. Location is pretty key right now, with G..since she won’t take a bottle I can’t be too far from her for very long. Length- definitely half marathon or longer..I’m not a 5K fan either. Too short. And size- I like something that is pretty large, but not so big that you are tripping over everyone for the first mile or so.
Hope Brooke is continuing to feel better!! XO

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I do them for motivation, and sometimes the swag. :)

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For me the date has more to do with which races I choose than anything. I don’t run at all on Sundays, so that cuts out a lot, but then I have to work around my husbands race schedule, which is insane. So date is number one. Then price. Then distance. I don’t get to race as much as I’d like.

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1. location!! there are hardly any halfs around my city so when there is I jump at the chance.
2. price. why are race registrations so stinkin expensive?
3. friends…okay, so I’ve never run a race with a friend, but not on person. now that I think of it, I probably need to make more (any) running friends. if I know a friend is doing a race I’ll definitely do it too!

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1. Location. Usually I go local or if I travel I want to be able to also vacation or visit friends!
2. Price. I don’t want to break the bank for a hobby.
3. Distance. I am obviously a long-distance person, so I don’t seek out short races.
4. Day of week. I don’t like to race on Sundays because I don’t like to miss too much church! I will do a big goal race like a marathon on a Sunday, but that is about it.

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5k phobia! Oh no!!!! Why is that!? They are so fun!! :)

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1. location…I’m poor and don’t want to pay for plane or hotel costs
2. price…again broke, prefer cheaper races
3. course profile…not looking to climb mountains

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I will sign up for adventure races (wayyyy done with marathons since I discovered the Tough Mudder) if 1) my training friends sign up for it. 2) it’s a tougher course than the last one I raced 3) if its in a cool city that we’ve never visited!

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1. Distance. 5Ks are creepy.
2. Location. I don’t have the mula to jet around, so I pick a race near where I’ll be at a given time.
3. TIME. Nike makes running the elements sound badass but I can’t do rain/falling snow.
4. Friends. Especially recently, especially for halfs and marathon(s? first coming up soon :D)

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1) Location
2) Distance (I haven’t ran anything more than a 10K so I love running 5Ks until I’m ready for a half/full marathon)
3) Level of difficulty

Honestly, I just pick 5Ks in my town because they are cheap and easy. Once I start running longer distance races I would love to travel to other places to run them!

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price, location (distance from me), and size of the race (the bigger, the better)

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It’s funny that you posted about this today, because due to a situation out of my control, I’m not going to be able to run a half I had been planning on next weekend. My first reaction was to be really upset, but after wallowing a bit, I decided to sign up for another race and make a plan to be stronger and faster for that race than I would have been for this one! I bought the Hanson’s Marathon Method book you have posted about, and I’m planning on starting the beginner’s plan and running a half half-way through it. Thank you for always being so positive on your blog–it helped me when thinking through what I should do instead of being upset about the race I can’t run. :)

Things I considered when signing up for a new race: 1. Course (I PR-ed on this one last year); 2. Location (it almost goes past my mom’s house!); and 3. Size (relatively small race–good for PR-ing!)

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Price is the number 1 consideration for me. In a close 2nd is location for pretty much the same reason. I don’t want to pay for a hotel at this point in life. Third is swag. If I can find a cheap race where I get a shirt and a medal if its a half or longer then I am in!

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1) Location. For now I am not able to travel to races (broke college student) so races need to be within about 2 hours or they’re a no go for me.

2) Price. I’m a very practical person so I need to feel the race will be worth what I spend on it.

3) Course. I generally prefer more scenic/flat courses so that has a lot to do with whether I sign up for a race or not.

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1. Race bling (if there is no medal at the end of a half or full I won’t run in it. I train hard for those baby’s!!!)
2. Location (I only race in my city and area bc I cannot afford long distance drives or flights and hotels etc…)
3. Price. If I’m torn between two races then I usually pick the cheaper one.

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1. Location: Usually near my home, my family, or where friends live. I’m also planning a 8K in Hawaii during a previously-scheduled vacation.
2. Theme: I’m a swimmer, and elaborately-themed meets are relatively unheard of, so things like color runs are kind of a novelty to me. If you expand this to also include the charity sponsored, it counts even more for me.
3. Friends: I don’t have many friends that run, but if they’re doing a race I’m usually there!

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1. Location. Is it in a city/area I’ve always fancied running in? If not, is it easy to get to etc.
2. Price. Races here are two or three times the price of races in the UK. That makes me a little more choosy. Like you, it’s only NYC that would make me pay more than $100 – and that’s a LOT anyway!!!
3. If it’s a Saturday or a Sunday. On Sunday, I’d rather be in church (oooh, how holy I am) so I don’t do that many Sunday races, I’m quite picky about them. Which is why trail racing is getting more and more attractive to me. It’s cheaper too.

Flatness/PR-ability is also important for a few key races per year. Swag I’m not fussed about at all. As long as I get a medal, I’m a happy girl.

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1. weather. Oh yeah. If it’s hot, I will just die. I did Steamboat here in CO when the heat index was 95*. I didn’t run again for almost 4 months because I hated it so much.

2. distance. I love longer distances.

3. Location. I love seeing new places. Even if I don’t have to travel very far, if I haven’t been there, it’s an adventure.

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1. Location – would love to do more races outside of Ottawa – but for “big” races, I want to go somewhere else
2. Prices – Races here in Ottawa tend to be pricey – so if there is a reasonable race, I am more likely to join in
3. Swag – The Running Room Resolution Run came with a running jacket, enough said!
4. Friends – love racing with friends!

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I pick races based on 2 things:

1. If someone I know will be able to come and cheer for me I will do that race. Every race that someone from my family or a friend has come to has been exponentially better than races where no one cheers for me. I love knowing that someone I love is in the crowd waiting for me to run past.

2. Nature. I like trail races (which does make it hard for family and friends to cheer, but they still do) I like to run in nature and over rocks, through mud and up big mountains. I don’t so much love road races.

Those are my two biggest factors. I’ve been to Vegas for a 1/2 and that kicked my butt, and the red eye home 3 hours after I finished was no fun so I promised myself I wouldn’t go far away to run a race again. Plus no one was there to cheer for me so that stunk too. I’m training for a 14 mile trail race in April, my husband was going to run it but he broke his rib so he and our dog will be cheering for me! :)

Lauren

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1. Friends also running the race – I like enjoying the excitement of race day with friends.
2. Location – I usually choose races close to home, but I have also done a few in places I wanted to visit (Nashville and Vegas)
3. Distance – I prefer races that are at least 10 miles but I am running my first 10k in a month.

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so far i’ve been an” i race local” girl. the funds are just not there to travel to run. i can barely afford the entry fee. distance is a big one for me. i have yet to do a less than 1/2 marathon race. 1/2’s are just perfect.

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I definitely pick my races based on the donuts.

At this point, no races on the horizon. So, so sad. I hope to race in a local Turkey Trot next Thanksgiving. I like races with easy logistics. The difficulty of the course isn’t of tantamount importance, and swag and medals are meaningless to me…unless I actually WIN.

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1. Location.
2. Distance.
3. Date (does it fit with my other training plans).

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Friends/family also running
Price (I feel like races are getting so expensive) – which usually ties into size (smaller races tend to be cheaper)
Course – scenery, difficulty (sometimes it’s nice to have an easy/flat and other times I want a difficult trail!)

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Friends and location is definitely big for me. I think the price of the race PLUS the price of travel is what I really consider.

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I typically will take into consideration
1) Location – will I need to travel and spend dollars on lodging? Can I convince others to run / spectate…
2) Price / swag – to me it goes hand in hand, if the race is really pricey and they are giving me a cotton t shirt and no medal… I’ll be else where
3) Season – I typically like to race outside of the june/july/august months because I’m a total baby with the heat. I am doing a trail half this year in june though, ideally I don’t pass out.

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1. SWAG! The only reason I signed up for my first race was for the t-shirt! :p I can run any distance for free stuff.
2. Price…’cause I’m a cheapie.
3. Course – little to no hills is preferable. I huff and puff enough on flat runs as it is.

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1. Price
2. SWAG for sure!!! and the Expo and what I have heard about it and how it is
3. The course. I usually like flat courses, but don’t mind little hills if there aren’t a ton!! :)

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the weather, the location, length of the race

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The races that I have signed up for lately have been because
1. dates
2. Location
3.does it look fun?

I did my first ever “5k” this past weekend (it was 3.01 mi) and I chose it because I had a score to settle with St. Patrick’s Day Races (I ran a terrible horrible 1 mile race when I was like 12 on SPD) and I liked the town it was in.
The next 5k I have in April I picked because it looked well organized and it was a bigger “to do” than the previous.
And I’ve also signed up for “Color me Rad” in May. This was the race that got me running again. It looked WAY fun and it’s along the water in Detroit…so the view should be nice! :)
I have some other races in mind for this year that were picked for date/location/distance…
If I had any runner friends that would probably influence me as well.

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For me, it’s 1) distance, 2) location, and 3) reputation. I don’t want to run a disorganized race!

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1. size – I am not really super specific on a preferred size, but have done a few super small races and found that they were poorly organized/planned and it really took away from the experience.

2. distance for the price – i prefer longer races because i feel like i’m getting more bang for my buck (and they are more fun!). it was hard for me to swallow paying $45 for a 5k recently when i have a half coming up that was only $55.

3. SWAG. of course. i am not gonna lie – I race for medals, magnets and fabulous free samples. I will never win, or place for that matter, but you are dang sure I will have a rack full of medals on display at my house. ;)

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1. Friends! I will always run a race if a friend asks me to join them…just so much more fun that way! Especially if there are matching costumes involved! :)
2. Location. I love running in my city (DC) so I’m always up for races close to home. Sleeping in my own bed is nice too. :) Now that I’m doing more triathlons it’s also much easier to race locally – so many logistics involved in shipping a bike!
3. Size. Maybe because I’m getting old and cranky, but I’m really loving the smaller races lately. I ran the Rock and Roll USA 1/2 this weekend and while it was a great race, the bag check lines were so long because there were just so many people!

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1. Date of the race (I tend to have a busy schedule, especially with marathon training!)
2. Location (I tend to do races I’ve never done before)
3. Cost (Some 5ks are way overpriced in my opinion)

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1. Location — I ran my first marathon in Montana, because I didn’t want the memory of my first marathon to be ruined by Nebraska. And I made the mistake of running my first 50K between Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska (straight, flat, and deathly boring). Never again. If I ever do another 50K, it WILL be somewhere out west, either on a trail or somewhere with more scenery like mountains. I love traveling and running around a new city – the San Francisco Half was amazing because of this.
2. Distance/Course — I don’t find the point in forking out $30-40 for a 5K, when that distance is either routine or not even in my typical training plan. I might spring for a 10K (depending on location), but these days I’ll usually (with a few exceptions) pay for a race 10-miles and over. I also don’t like out and back courses (get creative, people) and lots of repetition (multiple times of the same loop) during a race. I’m not paying to be bored.
3. Swag — I figure if I’m going to run a half or a full I should get a decent medal/shirt. This is the number one reason I am done with the Omaha Marathon series of events. Their shirt provider is ridiculous, and two years in a row I got a poorly fitting shirt. And despite their cool medal designs, I got a poopy brown colored one after the marathon. Uncool.

(I also factor in cost and time of year. Training for a marathon/50K during a midwest summer just blows. There’s no other way to describe it. Unfortunately, despite my love for four seasoned climates, it usually means that at some point there will be some sucky moments during training because of weather.)

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Definitely distance, cost, and location. I did my first half in November and want to do another one as soon as I can get back to training again (currently preg – due in June) – but also don’t like to pay an arm and a leg for a race either. I prefer races that I can drive to (although I’ve never done one that I haven’t been able to drive to so who knows?!)

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I”ve never raced before, but it’s been a blast reading through everbody’s top three! I will say that the things I’ve been thinking about lately (I’m getting ready to sign up for my first 5K) have been cost, location, timing on the calendar, and prettiness of the course :)

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It is hard to pick a top 3, but here is what I decided on!
1. Location (we prefer to be able to drive to a race, so no more than 6 hours away)
2. Price
3. Race reviews

So much more goes into it than that (as you know!) but those would be the top 3 things I’d consider for any race I was looking at.

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I usually pick races near craft beer breweries. That way, my husband and I can travel to races all over, and he’s happy to spectate when he knows there’s a brewery tour afterwards! :)

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I like small races. I have no desire to stand on the line for hours on end. Local is nice too, and if it’s for a good cause, even better.

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For me the biggest factors are:
1. Distance
2. Time of year (not too hot, not too cold)
3. Cost of race, and whether the race supports a charity

This year I signed up for a half in Stratford-Upon-Avon primarily for the location (something I don’t normally do, but I’m an English literature nerd–birthplace of Shakespeare), and have been training in sub-freezing weather. Probably won’t do this race again!

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I look at thedate, starting time, where it is (travel or no travel). I don’t usually have anyone running with me. The price is a huge factor!! I hate how expensive races are!

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Themed races and location. I’m doing the color me rad, and a mud run spring/summer. It think popularity too, like the Rock and Roll is super famous even as a non runner ealier last year I knew about it.

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Wait now reading all of these, I feel like maybe I should keep in mind price. Tough Mudder was 125 bucks for 12 miles. I thought paying 35-40 for a 5k was reasonable but maybe I’ll look into doing the 10k for that price. Glad I read these other responses.

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I found some good info I thought I’d share. In Seattle the 5k-10k and 15k’s are average 40 bucks and I paid 13.00 bucks to park and plus the gas to get there. I found a local running club one city over from me, that holds charity runs 4-5 times per year. The cost of these runs are 20-25 and free for kids which I love, because they will be joining me on 5k’s this year. I also randomly just looked at YMCA’s site and they hold 5 and 10k’s for 10-20 as well and you don’t have to be a member. So if you like the shorter runs or just starting out like me, you can do it without the big city price tag. These runs also give out freebies, so you don’t miss out on anything. Hope this helps.

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