Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Makes a Good Race?

I admit, I'm having a bit of writer's block. With no races to write about, no real training plan being followed right now, no dorky new gear to review, I'm edging ever closer to being stuck in an endless boring loop of "I ran X miles in Manchester yesterday and it was really, really disgustingly humid" posts. You may have heard rumors that I dislike running in hot weather.

One of my favorite things to write on this blog is the race reports, so in order to keep some post ideas coming to get me through the Summer Doldrums, I thought I'd look back at some of my favorites over the four years I've been racing and put together a Top Ten List, and then a post, about once a week till I'm finished them, about each of the ones that haven't already been reviewed here.

Before I started compiling my list of races, I wanted to think for a little while (Not too long, this is "Earn Your Donuts" after all.) about what are the criteria of a good race. Personal performance is part of it, to me, but while there are races that are only memorable to me because I had a good run, there's a few others that are among my favorites even though I ran pretty badly. I don't think I even needed to enjoy a race to put it in my Top Ten. The 2010 Broad Street Run was miserable, but it's one of the races I'm most proud of.

Likewise, some races are memorable for their unique settings, conditions of the race, or the pre- or post-race festivities...or even schwag. I chose Shamrock as my first marathon primarily because I thought it would be flat and cold, but I will admit that I love hats and so a finisher's hat was pretty cool giveaway.

In summary, I would say some criteria to consider would be:
  • Personal performance (is it a PR, first of its distance, or a good race in adverse conditions)
  • Unique setting (did I get to run somewhere interesting that I wouldn't have gotten the chance to otherwise?)
  • Race conditions (was it memorable because of gale force winds, torrential rains, or extreme heat, or was it the most beautiful day ever?)
  • Overall event (was it memorable because of the post-race party, expo, or even schwag. Was the event so well-organized that it stands out, or hilariously disorganized?)
Some of these, like personal performance, conditions, and setting, might be very tied together in some cases, so this is meant to be just a loose, informal set of criteria that I'll consider as do some recaps of my favorite old races.

But what about you, readers? If you're out there, tell me what makes a race stand out as a good one in your mind.

1 comment:

  1. People.
    People I raced against.
    People I met.
    People I went with to the race.