Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mini vs Mega - Which race do I like best?

Apologies for the lack of postings over the past few days, but baseball season is now in full swing (that's a good thing:)) and we have spent most evenings at baseball practice with our boys. With the weather getting warmer (finally) and the daylight stretching farther into the evenings (also, finally) it's good that baseball is back around again. It can only mean that Spring and Summer are not far away.

I was thinking about this topic earlier today while trying to complete the paperwork that is required for me to pick up my race packet next week for the ING Georgia Marathon in Atlanta. Having just completed the Mercedes Marathon 2 weeks ago, I had the feeling of a distinctly "smaller" type marathon experience there. As the numbers go, there were still 4,000 runners that competed that weekend, but nothing near the 30,000 that will compete in Atlanta at the ING. Which do you prefer being a part of, the smaller, hometown races or the running-a-pallooza-type productions such as Phillie, Chicago, NYC, etc.?

Since I have spent the previous three years worth of Summer's in training for a small-town, low key marathon in rural North Carolina each October, I've gotta admit that I love the smaller races. There is just such a sense of community and a more close-knit atmosphere, and that really speaks to me as a runner and as an individual.

I average about four marathons per year, give or take. I run races that differ in size from a field of 30,000 to a field of 175. Vast difference, huh?


Of the regular marathons I run over the course of the year, my absolute favorite to date is the Ridge to Bridge Marathon in North Carolina. Without question, it's the best in my opinion. Not because of the course, race promotion, organization, volunteers or amenities, which are all good, but because of the small size of runners that it caters to on race day. You actually get to know the people that will be traveling with you along that 26.2 mile odyssey on race morning. I just don't feel that sense of community and shared purpose amongst 30,000 other runners at a major marathon; whether Disney, ING or the Rock n Roll series. I just don't.
For me, give me that small-town feeling in a race, and I'll be a happy runner. I don't need a huge piece of bling for a finishers medal. I don't need an expo the size of a football arena. I don't need 25 corrals at the Starting line either. Yikes! Just give me hometown feel, friendly folks that WANT you to be there racing in their town. 

Happy am I.

1 comment:

  1. That's interesting...I just did my first small half marathon and there were things I liked and disliked.

    I like the huge amounts of people - it also equals huge amounts of energy and I know I won't be completely alone on the course.

    The smaller race was okay too, but I did get kind of lonely out there on my own. I did have some great conversations too, but not as many as when there are tons of people around.

    I think each type has plusses and minuses. I guess I just really like any race experience at this point :)!