This is an open letter to race directors. It solely reflects my own personal opinion. It is not meant to bash anyone or anything, nor am I begging every race I go to make it “perfect” for me. I am just stating in a dream race situation this would be a winning combination for me.
It’s not a secret I like to run. As well as running solo I like to participate in a lot in road races. If I could race every weekend without the possibility of injury or mental fatigue I would. I would love it. That being said there are several things that I find to make the perfect race for me. I’ve briefly listed them.
There should be an option to do this beforehand online as well as at the race (for smaller races). I understand bigger races or marathons and even some half marathons this is dumb idea…but to arrive at a 5k only to find out there is no race day registration is (in my opinion) silly.
Some races are overly expensive because of the name attached. Some clothing is overly expensive because of the name attached. NYCM was 200+ dollars. NYCM is the Gucci or Prada or Road Races…you do it once and then buy most of your clothes on clearance at target for a while.
That being said, I do not think no name 5ks, 10ks and races with minimal support and swag should be 50 dollars. 5ks should not be 50 dollars period. Unless I’m getting a lot of free swag or a good tshirt, sweatshirt, COFFEE MUG, or something…5ks should not be 50 dollars ever.
Here are the prices I am willing to pay for a basic and nongoal race:
5k-9.9k: 30 dollars (the absolute max and I try and find 20 dollar 5ks as much as possible)
10k: 40 dollars
Half marathon: 75 dollars (unless it’s a goal race and falls on a specific date I want…)
If there is a corner there should be a volunteer or it is clearly marked to tell you where to go. Nothing is worse than getting lost on a course when you are on a PRing pace. Even a giant sign that says this way…just please don’t think people know. I personally catch the dumb when I run. 2+2 begins to equal 3 and my mind becomes even less directionally intelligent. You think my grammar is bad now imagine if I wrote while I was running. I would be better off writing while I was drunk.
I normally don’t care as much about water stops. Unless it’s especially hot, I need 2 cups of Gatorade per half marathon (mile 5 and 8 are my dream stops). Just please have the appropriate amount of water or stops. (I realize everyone is different in this issue and essentially it is the runner who should review the water stops…if you need more…carry your beverage of choice) I do think races should have one water stop (yes that even counts 5ks…not every runner is running a 15 minute 5k, some people are running an hour). We as runners will thank you.
Have a clock at the finish line. Always have a clock…unless it’s “not a race” I payed to race and have to have some sort of time.
A bit of water at the end is good too but I personally normally have ten water bottles in my car.
I’m sure there are a lot of different opinions on this. I don’t race to win and pick up awards. I’ve actually never won a race with a cash prize. (That’s fine). I’ve won a few gift cards, lots of trophies, medals and plaques (which I keep every single one) but at least do something for the overall winners. Even if it’s a certificate we like the extrinsic motivation. Nothing is better then instagramming a sweet prize. It makes you look good, me look good and the race look good.
There has been one race that I’ve been disappointed with race awards and that was the Nike Women’s half marathon. For a 160 dollar half marathon, you would have thought I would have gotten a certificate for winning my overall age group. Since it was such a large, expensive race I guess I expected too much. Maybe if I had a terrible race I wouldn’t have been so upset. Other then that I race for me and have never had an “issue” with race awards.
That being said if you give me a free entry for next year’s event, that is number one. I will probably sing your race songs and come back if I’m around. In my dream world, every race I have won, I would get a free entry for next year. (that’s just me though). If I get any sort of award, whether it’s a baby medal I’m generally very happy.
One more thing:
What you do for the top male do for the top female. Yes I understand the top male is winning and there is no one else in front of them but it really stinks when the top male breaks the tape and the top female does not…or the top male gets 3 cyclists and the top female does not…is that selfish I don’t know but I am a woman and I work hard.
I love to race and if anything of this really upset me I wouldn’t race. I do realize that putting a race together is hard work and I will always be in awe for those who do. I’m just saying if race budgets were not an option and every race was tailored to my style…this would be a perfect race for me.
Question for you: What is a perfect race for you?