FFF: How to Pick Your Next Big Race

Now that races are happening again…

What is your next big race? How did you decide which one to choose?

Here are some things to consider:

1. Size

Sure there are more logistics to deal with when running a large race.

But there is more crowd support.

You are never running alone. The atmosphere is electric.

Both of these factors are important to me.  I would never run a small marathon!!

2. Location

How will you get to the race – plane, train, bus, car?

Is it easy to get to the start – shuttle, walk, public transportation?

If you have to drive, is there ample parking?

shuttle to the start? yes, please

If I drive, I love when there is nearby parking. Otherwise, I hope there is public transportation or I take an Uber. Best case scenario is staying in a hotel near the race start (if you can afford that…)

3. Deferral Policies

If the race is canceled, what happens? If you are injured, can you defer to another year?  Do either of these matter?

The half marathon that I am planning to run in February was deferred (free) from 2020. I am glad with COVID that many races offered that option.  Many just went virtual (not happy about that) but who knew a pandemic would happen in 2020?

4. Cost

The cost of registration? What swag does it include? Do you have to spend additional money on transportation and hotel?

$$ but worth it!!

Neither one is really a dealer breaker for me. But enough with the shirts!! A hat, hoodie, gloves, something more practical, please.  I do, however, enjoy good food and drink after a big race!

5. Course

Is road or trails?

Is it point-to-point or a loop?

Is it scenic or boring?

Is it flat or hilly?

Steel Rail Half = perfect

My preference would be point-to-point, scenic and mostly flat.   But obviously I’m not picky. I love to race!!

I would also add: who else is running it? A friend, another blogger? It’s much more fun to run a race with someone else.

Happy Running! How do you pick a marathon or big race? What is your next ‘big’ race? Please share.







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20 thoughts on “FFF: How to Pick Your Next Big Race

  1. These are great things to consider. I’m DNS-ing my big race this weekend because I couldn’t train for it and my Achilles isn’t up for it, but I’m not sad I don’t have to deal with the logistics — drive, hotel, etc, I think I’d feel differently if I were doing it as a group thing with friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Location and logistics are certainly things I look at when picking a race. Having to take a bus to the start of the Wine Glass almost deterred me but I am glad it didn’t. I like a mid sized race best so that I get the crowd support and race support without a ridiculous amount of people

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve run huge races and tiny races- mid size is probably ideal, but at this point I’ll take small over really crowded.
    For me, it’s all about scheduling. I work Saturdays so need a Sunday race. Other than that I’m not too picky. i haven’t done a race-cation in years and years, but I would love to do a really scenic race one of these days. St George?

    Liked by 1 person

    • St George sounds awesome. I do not like to be alone on the course so I prefer mid-size or large. Right now, I agree. A race. Any race. When I look at NYC races, I like to pick Sunday so I don’t have to lose a day of work.


  4. Very good points, I agree 100% but also depends where we live.
    I live near Rome and near ancient beautiful towns with scenic routes. The second are my favorite.
    The crowd is not important for me and in such towns parking is very easy. Usually the path is ondulate and I like it.
    Mainly now I run alone because my running friend doesn’t run anymore and my running group prefers the races in Rome. But … my son is training hard….. we will see.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Logistics are always a factor for me, since I live out in the middle of farmland. I’m used to driving at least 30-45 miles for most races, so it’s a real game-changer planning a race that’s any further. Of course, I usually find a way to make it work, but the extra travel and lodging definitely increase the cost…still all worthwhile if it’s an important race or involves friends 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Definitely no big races for me anytime soon. It’s collaborative between me & my husband, so sometimes I come up with a list and let him pick. Sometimes he’ll decide what state he wants to go to. And sometimes there’s just a race really want to do!

    Deferral policies are definitely one of the big things I look at. Life happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve run both big races and tiny ones. I ran a trail marathon that had less than 100 registrants and very few spectators. You wouldn’t have liked that one. Fortunately, my goal was just to have fun and chat it up with a friend the whole time.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So many factors to consider when choosing a race and everyone is different- some people prefer bigger races over small ones, some like rolling hills over flat, some like only local races, and on and on. My favorite is smaller races in places where I can have a vacation afterwards. For the course, I like scenic and water views are always nice. Being able to walk to the start is ideal but not always possible.

    Liked by 1 person

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