In the last decade or so, we’ve participated in a relatively modest 50 races or so and coincidentally have organized around the same number.
From 5K’s to fun runs to half marathon marathons. From 200 people races to 40,000 people races. From the West Coast to East Coast and International 5Ks and Marathons.
Here are some race elements that we feel are important to making a lasting impression and a good run whether you are training for a 5K, 10K, or half-marathon.
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1. THE EXPERIENCE. In these days where there are kids soccer games, kids baseball games, work, gatherings, time, and a list of backed up to-do’s, time is a commodity so deciding what to do is more important than we may think. A good race is beyond the run itself; as Mark Cuban said with regards to basketball games, It’s all about the experience. You’re looking to have a good, memorable time to spend with loved ones so making the experience unique, fun, and special is on the top of our list in what makes a good run.
2. THE GOODIES & FREEBIES. We all know you didn’t sign-up just to run 13 miles. Heck, even if you’re one of those people with a singlet or no-shirt in the front of the pack, you’re racing for a PR but you’re also thinking in the back of your mind, what do I get with the $60 I’m about to spend? Half the race is about the goodies and what comes after the race. Coconut water, chocolate, granola, hot foods, cold foods, snacks, yogurt fruit, and all the sponsor freebies, load em up! Shirt, medal, what else do we get?! 🙂
3. OVERALL ORGANIZATION. How is the check-in process? The start and finish line, directions and clarity of knowing what to expect? How are the mid-point water stations handled and the volunteers managed? Quite honestly, this is usually just an expected service a runner expects to get with their registration. In fact, I never find myself particularly looking to see if a race has done these elements well. I only start questioning if one of these race elements is done poorly; hence why it’s on the list. Basics are vital!
“It’s all about the experience. You’re looking to have a good, memorable time to spend with loved ones so making the experience unique, fun, and special is on the top of our list in what makes a good run.”
4. THE FOOD. The irony of runs is many people run an hour to burn 600 calories so they can indulge at the finish line. But hey, aren’t we all guilty of that? Food is something we all enjoy and some of the best runs we’ve seen always bring out an array of foods, bars, samples, and goodies after the race. Some of the most successful runs we’ve seen are those that specifically bring out food sampling from local restaurants. And in all the marathons and half-marathons we’ve done, there’s always a plentiful amount of food post-race.
5. THE COURSE. Anyone can run anywhere anytime they want, but the experience becomes different when an entire road is shut down for a road race and the participant can run freely on the course without any disturbance or worries of vehicles or oncoming traffic. The course is an important element of the race- it’s different running through a beautiful backdrop scenery of a city skyline than the back alley of a run-down area. Several long distance runs utilize complex courses through normally-busy downtown streets which give participants a truly unique experience to complete the course