Tips on Choosing a Running Race


A few years ago I was on a running kick and went a little crazy registering for a bunch of 5Ks. A few particular I decided run were these fun themed 5K. At the time I didn’t think to read reviews of races. Some of these races was the first time they had put on the race. That should have already been a red flag, but I didn’t have much knowledge about racing then. Also the previous races I’ve done before the  few bad ones were all great and well organized so I didn’t think to even do research. One of the races that I went to was really badly organized. There were no water stations, checking into the race was a mess, it was a really hot day for May, and overall it was just a bad race. It was so bad that I threw away the medal and donated the t-shirt. This other race I did in October was organized really well, but I just didn’t anticipate it getting over 80 degrees. I should have known better that in October it still could be pretty hot. I guess that particular year I was trying to prove to myself how many races I could do and medals I could collect. It wasn’t actually enjoyable to be running in super hot weather in the streets with no shade. After those bad incidents I decided I shouldn’t just be signing up for races willy nilly. Here are a few of my tips for choosing your next race.

  • Research and read reviews. My number one tip before signing for any race is to do your research and read reviews. Not all races are the same and not all races are perfect even with the well known races. The more research you do the less like will end up doing a bad race.
  • When is date and time of the race? Is it going to be in a warm month where it could get really hot or during the winter when its really cold? If the race is in a warmer month when is the start time of the race. If the race is going to be in a warm month, but yet have a start time after 8AM, then it might be something to consider as it can get hot quickly. The time of the race will also factor into your travel time.
  • Distance. How far would you have to drive to get to the race? If you have a race where the start time is 7AM and you live an hour or more away then you would need to calculate the travel time and time you’d need to wake up. Though if its a race you’d have to travel to you can make it a fun weekend trip.
  • Budget. How much is the race going to cost? With some popular races one 5K can cost as much as doing two lesser known 5Ks. If you have to travel for a race you’d need to figure that into your budget too. Since I didn’t budget and was just going crazy registering for a bunch of 5Ks it put a dent into my wallet.
  • Perks. Perks are less important, but can be an added value to an race. As an example the Coaster Run 5K I do I Knott’s every year you get a boysenberry pie at the end of a race. Other races I’ve done had a beer garden and races like the hot chocolate run you get tons of sweets after finishing.

What are your tips for choosing a race?



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