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3591 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Mar 30, 2011 12:40 PM by TAWhit
djhocking Rookie 2 posts since
Jan 2, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 24, 2011 8:50 PM

How do you pick road races?

We're planning to start some new road races in New England and want input from the running community. Why do you choose particular road races? We have a poll where you can pick your top three reasons:




Thanks for the feedback!

  • flamomof3 Legend 1,928 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Mar 25, 2011 4:37 PM (in response to djhocking)
    Re: How do you pick road races?

    Great replies!

  • nikkicarr1 Legend 315 posts since
    Apr 28, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Mar 25, 2011 6:17 PM (in response to djhocking)
    Re: How do you pick road races?

    really its a combination of all factors and depending on time of year and work schedule reasons change but being that we could only pick 3 I picked the 3 that tend to matter most in fitting races into my crazy schedule


    2009: Opperation Troop Appreciation 5k oct 29:44 (first race), Greensburg Turkey Trot 5k nove 31:09

    2010: On Deck for the Cure sprint 1mi 1-4 9:00, Race for Grace 5k 3-20 32:11, Yough River Council 1/2 marathon 4-10 2:16:39 (goal for 1st 1/2 2:25) 3rd in AG, Pittsburgh Komen Race for the Cure 5k 5-9 30:08, Jerry Mahar Jr Parkinsons Awareness 5k 6-5-10 29:28 6th in AG

    Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon 12-5 5:01:?? FIRST FULL MARATHON (with calf tear)

    2011: Race for Grace 5k 3-19 30:56, Alpha Fitness 5k 4-9 28:57 8th in AG, Pittsburgh Half Marathon 5-14 2:17:52, 9/11 Heroes Run 5k 9-11 27:34 (PR) 5th in AG, Pittsburgh ZooZilla 5k 10-2 28:03, Greenburg 5k Turkey Trot 11-24 28:35

    NEXT PLANNED EVENT: Race for Grace 5k 3-31-2012, Pittsburgh Marathon 5-6-2012, Great Race 10K 9-30-2012

  • Joseph Tree Legend 378 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Mar 27, 2011 11:54 AM (in response to djhocking)
    Re: How do you pick road races?

    As a race organizer you might look at the results of the poll and think " Huh.  Well I can't change location or race length much, and the price point's not too flexible either."  What you will certainly have room to influence is the other end of the equation - the people who sign up AGAIN for the event.  That's where organization, party, amenities and prizes all will play a much bigger part.  I picked the big three answers myself - location, length and cost.  I have run races and said "never again for this one!"  Mostly as a result of bad staffing / organization levels and chaos at the end of the race.

    Barefoot / Minimalist Runner

    ...not maintaining this these days..

    07/29/2012 Marsh Creek Raptor Run 10 Mile Trail Race

    07/15/2012 Quadzilla 15K Trail Run, Trexlertown, PA 1:37 (2011, 1:49)

    04/29/2012 Lehigh Valley / St. Luke's HM, 1:43:15 (2011, 1:54:20 )

    03/19/2012 Kutztown Fool's Run 10 Miler, 1:18:15 (2011, 1:30:20)

    02/26/2012 Ugly Mudder 7.2 Mile Trail Run, Reading, PA 1:20

    11/27/2011 Dirty Bird 15K Trail Run, Birdsboro, PA 1:40

    10/08/2011 Lehigh Gap Nature Center 10K Trail Run (6.38 miles), 59:20 (10/07/2012)

    Started running (again) May 5, 2010

  • JasonFitz1 Legend 578 posts since
    Jun 19, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Mar 27, 2011 4:34 PM (in response to djhocking)
    Re: How do you pick road races?

    I didn't choose cost as a big issue, but it's ranked #4 on the results page and I completely agree. While I race sparingly and it's not an issue for me, paying $30 to race a 5k is obscene. Most runners think the sponsors should be helping to drive down the cost of participation.

    Strength Running
  • HelenM2002 Pro 153 posts since
    Jul 17, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Mar 29, 2011 12:56 PM (in response to djhocking)
    Re: How do you pick road races?

    Interesting responses. I'm surprised that I was the only one to choose "Family Friendly".  One thing is pretty certain about a race in New England, you probably won't find too many flat courses!

  • Daniel Hocking Rookie 2 posts since
    Jun 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Mar 29, 2011 1:22 PM (in response to djhocking)
    Re: How do you pick road races?

    Thanks for all the great input!I think having family friendly events is very important. The structure of the poll probably affects the responses. In terms of small to medium sized road races, they are either family friendly or oriented towards beer lovers. Therefore, people who don't pick the run for beer option might like a family friendly event but it's almost a given so they don't pick it. That is not to say that you can't have a race with beer that is also family friendly. It also doesn't mean that every non-beer race is family friendly. Additionally, some people with families might be the sole participant and having their family spectate might be sufficiently "family friendly". For those who choose family friendly as a top 3 pcik, they may want activities, children's entertainment, and shorter runs for the kids. I look forward to hearing more about what people want in their races.


    Thanks again!


  • Engine14 Rookie 5 posts since
    Dec 26, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Mar 30, 2011 7:49 AM (in response to djhocking)
    Re: How do you pick road races?

    I run about 10 races per year, mostly half-marathons with two of them out of state so cost is not a major factor.  Most of my unpleasant racing experiences were from poor overall organization and I'm not talking about small or inaugural races either.  Course (distance), location and recomendation are taken into great consideration when I plan my races and as most are family friendly, we often make the experience a family vacation.  We particularly like the organization of the Rock N Roll series as they've thought of EVERYTHING!  Same goes for the Boston Marathon and 1/2 Marathon.

    "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift".
    Pre (1951-1975)

  • eewdad Pro 61 posts since
    Sep 4, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Mar 30, 2011 9:56 AM (in response to djhocking)
    Re: How do you pick road races?

    I have a tendency to run a race a week.  Usually 5K races, with some 10K or a 1/2 marathon thrown in.  I enjoy a well organized race with a well marked route with plenty of volunteers.  I truly believe that a race can be successful based upon the level of volunteers.  A smile, kind word, you name it...will make me come back year after year.  One race, in particular, comes to my mind.  It was a 15 mile trail race in NH and I really had not prepared well for it.  Needless to say, my hamstrings and quads froze up just over the 1/2 way point.  As other runners passed me (most with a cheerful word of encouragement), I knew that I was going to be last.  The volunteers cheered me on and most of them were back at the finish line as I hobbled across, cheering and clapping.  Will I run (hobble, limp, crawl) this race again.  Yes, I will.  Best group of people you could have - and the racers were great, too.

  • TAWhit Amateur 9 posts since
    Jun 15, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Mar 30, 2011 12:40 PM (in response to djhocking)
    Re: How do you pick road races?

    I suffer from FRS (Frequent Racing Syndrome) and with in the space of 24 hours can go from racing with 17,000 people at the Gate River Run to racing against 65 people at the Name Your Medical Condition 5K in a small Virginia town you've never heard of.  The most important thing to remember when organizing a road race is to look at your announcement flyer or sign up sheet and make sure everything listed on there gets done.  If your flyer says you'll use chip timing, then use chip timing.  If you flyer says you're going to start at 8:00am, then start at 8:00am.  If your flyer say you're going to award in 5 year age groups, then award in 5 year age groups.  If you have no intention of recording times and publishing results, then state that up front.  The formula is really not that hard.  A few other things to keep in mind:


    1) If you are putting on a 5K and charging more than $30, you better be throwing in a Tech Shirt or you are wrong.


    2) Yes, as a general rule runners like to support causes, but also as a general rule, we don't want to stand on the starting line for 30 mins in the cold listening you talk about those causes.  A simple thanks for coming out will usually suffice.


    3) Unless your race has more than 5,000 runners, age group awards should not take more than 45 mins or so to figure out...especially with chips.


    4) If you are putting on a half marathon, AND charging half marathon prices, you need Tech Shirts and a finishers medal or you are wrong.


    5) I have more cotton race t-shirts than I can possibly wear...I'd rather have the option to skip the shirt and save $5.

    - Thomas

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