This Sunday I did Women Run the Cities here in Minneapolis. It was advertised as one of the top five races for women in the country by ESPN. As they mentioned in the article, the race is 10 miles. There is also a 5k option(3.1 miles) and a children’s run. The course starts in Minnehaha park and follows along the Mississippi River, which is scenic but it also means hills. The race was well organized, plenty of swag and usually the end of September means ideal race temperatures here in Minnesota. Normally, on Sunday at race start it was 37 degrees. My $55 registration fee got me a shirt, medal, and post race snacks. All of this got me thinking, what makes an ideal race.
Here is how I like to break it down.
Cause: Does the race give money to a charity? If so, which one? I’ve done races that give money to cancer, March of Dimes, Food Banks and other notable causes. While I’ve done races that don’t give money, it’s nice to know that part of your registration is going to help.
Swag: What do I get from it? Shirt, medal,socks, reusable bag, treats,a gorilla suit? All of these are things I have or will get from signing up for a race. At minimum you should at least get a t-shirt because bragging rights only last so long.
Distance: How far am I going to run? This is an important question because it will dictate how much of your life goes into preparing for the race. The course is set from the distance. What type of course will it be? I’ve done races that have 20 hills, a giant hill at the end of the race and races that are downhill the entire course. This question helps me determine what race I want to do or not do.It is also great when a race offers multiple distances to pick from because this gives you an out if you need to go to a lower distance.
Ease of Registration: Some races require you to entire a lottery, some you need to qualify for and some are completely open. I like knowing that I can register online, send in a registration form or register race day. Knowing how to register is the first step or the last depending on when you pull the trigger.
Race Size: Does the race cap at a certain number? The race I just did was 2700 runners, the one before that 8,000. I’ve done races with just over 100 people total. How many people participate is something to consider because if it’s crowded, food runs out or registration closes due to a sell out, can make a race go from great to eehhhhh.
Cost/Location: The cost of the race is based upon numerous factors. How much I want to spend is dependent on swag, cause, and location. If the swag needs to match the cost.
All of these things are how I decide if race is worth completing. Races are fun. Races are motivating. All of that is dependent on finding the right race for you.