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Jul 23, 2012

Race expectations

Rest day on the schedule.  I sure do need it.  35 miles last week along with cross training equals a well deserved rest day.


The other day I was reading another running blog(sorry, I can't remember who since I follow so many).  Anyway, it was about racing.  The popularity of it.  The overcrowds.  The race bling.  The race so large you don't know anyone.  Not the way it used to be Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Some of the comments related to race bling and do we really need it?  Now of course we don't NEED it, there's very little in this world that we do need.  Food, shelter, etc.  That's about it.  But the question came up about what is needed at a race.  As you know, I've reviewed many races over the last few years.  I enjoy racing.  I do it often enough and I think I know what makes a good race and a bad one.

Race bling is part of that.  I love receiving a medal at the finish.  I think most people do.  It gives me something to take home, hang in my office and remember what I accomplished.  Even if it's a short race, like a 10k, I like it because I have that memory when I see the medal.

 It's just like when we go on vacation, we buy shot glasses.  No, we don't really drink but that's not the point, it brings up a memory for a vacation we took and we've got lots of them.  Each time I look at one, I remember something about that vacation.  Maybe races should start giving out shots at the end?  Haha!
Detroit Marathon 2011 medal - every time I look at it I remember my PR
Ok, where was I?  Oh, yes, the bling - I also enjoy getting a t-shirt.  I sure don't need another one as I've probably got 25 in my closet but I use them to train with and I always see people training wearing their race shirts.  Is it advertising for the race and/or the sponsors - sure but who cares?  Actually, I do because they help keep the race costs to a more reasonable level.  Plus, if you really like the race, why not help promote it and the products of the sponsors.  The more people at the race, the better chance the race will grow and continue each year.
Race shirts
I've heard suggestions about making the t-shirt optional and some races do that but I enjoy getting it and I think most people do.  I also think as the number of races continue to grow, they have to do things to stand out from each other.  For example, The Back to the Beach half marathon I did in May had cold wet towels at a couple aid stations and it was a really hot day - fantastic!!!  It stands out from the other races because most do not have this.  It's ideas like this that are needed to bring people back each year.

Food at the end of the race - expected.  Medals for half marathon or longer - expected.  T-shirts - expected.  Timing - expected.  A great course - expected.  A marathon expo - expected.  If we are going to use our hard earned money to race, many of these things are expected.  I'm not saying I expect them all or any of these for every race but I think the majority of runners these days want all this so they feel like they are getting something for their money.  They want to walk away with something.  They need to walk away with something.

So what do you expect in a race?

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!


  1. Back in the olden days!!!!!! I remember receiving medals with no where to put them, T-shirts piling on top of T-shirts.... I'm old school and don't have a lot of expectations, other than a reasonably priced event.

  2. I love the race shirts more than the medals for some reason. As for the food at the end, I did an event in Chicago this last weekend and was amazed at the hoarders! Yes, like you said, these aren't things we pay for as much as sponsors providing them since company's have a captured audience eager to use their product after running.

  3. The running culture here in SA is quite different to most other countries. We don't expect too much 90% of runners use races as training for some big ultra and mainly the Comrades marathon. A survey showed that 75% of SA road runners only run because of the Comrades Marathon. So we don't expect that much from the other races.

  4. I really enjoy the medals as well. Like you, everytime I look at each of my medals I can always remember something from each particular race.

    I just finished the University of Okoboji and the only thing they had at the finish line was bananas and powerade/smart water. No water! It was pretty bad. I expect a little better choice after a marathon.

  5. It's funny how things change over the years, I can remember getting t-shirts and badges at races, now (here in Cape Town) only a couple of races will give you a shirt and some will sell them on the side... While all I want is a cheap entry fee and a chance to kick some butt!!! Oh and if I do, I want better prize money, at some races it hasn't changed in 10-15 years!!!