Monday, May 24, 2010

The Local Race Experience

Participating in a marathon in or near your hometown can be a very rewarding experience for lots of reasons.

First, you save money on travel. You don’t have to worry about airplane tickets, hotel rooms and rental cars. While I love a good road trip, with the economy being what it is, it’s easier on my wallet to race close to home (I do have an out of state destination race coming up but it might be the only one I run this year).

Local races are great because you can run the trail during your training runs. Being familiar with the course could help you run a good race. There won’t be any surprises. I chose not to do that for the Glass City Marathon because I like variety and surprises. The course covered areas I run on a regular basis but had plenty of streets I’d never ventured down. It was nice to explore new areas of my community and it kept things interesting.

Local races mean your friends and family don’t have to travel to cheer you on. They just have to get up early in the morning, but we’re worth it right?

Running in your hometown means sleeping in your own bed the night before the race (I really like this perk). I think I sleep better in my own bed than in hotel rooms. Familiar surroundings are comforting and relaxing. For GCM, I was well rested race day because I slept in my own bed.

Local races come with local bragging rights. The average person may not have heard of a “little” race like the Boston Marathon, but if you mentioned you ran (fill in the blank) race, they’ll know what you’re talking about because of the local news coverage or the traffic delays due to race road closures.

Since the race is in your backyard, you have an opportunity to help put on a quality event. Organizers are always looking for volunteers to assist with race preparations, work the expo or help out along the course. I volunteered at the expo for the Two Cities Marathon when I lived in Fresno a few years ago. It was nice to talk to the runners as they picked up their race packets. It was interesting to learn how far people traveled to be in the race. I developed an appreciation for all the hard work and organization it takes to put a race together. It also made me appreciate how hard volunteers work. Now I’m always gracious when I pick up my race packet or walk through a water stop. Good volunteers are essential and should be celebrated.

If you want to do more, you could join the race organizing body. From marketing and sponsorships to course logistics and website development, there’s so much to be done. The skills you use every day at work could benefit the race organizers. You never know until you ask.

What do you like about local races?

No comments:

Post a Comment