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Race recommendations – Things to look for in a running event

trail runner race

What’s the most important thing that you look for in a running event?

From the ease of registration through to the email that asks you to provide feedback, having a smooth and well-organized event is critical for success. Great races take the guess work out and provide easy to access and up-to-date information on every aspect of the event.

From the RaceGuide, here are a few key things to consider when signing up for your next race.

Online presence and registration: Does the event have a website with all the necessary and important event information? Does it include a link to registration? What is the cost to participate in the event? Should I register early to save money and guarantee a spot? Does the event sell out?

The race course: The course often determines whether a runner may want to run the race or not. Is the course accurately measured and certified so you know you are completing the advertised distance? Is the race (chip) timed and are results easily accessed? Is the course well marked so runners don’t get lost or confused as to where to go? Are there marshals and volunteers to help guide the runners on their way? Is there water, electrolytes or gels available on the course? Is it a scenic course in a nice part of the city or region in which the event takes place? Does the race start and finish at the same place?

Pre- and post-race amenities:  How accessible is the event? Is there parking available or can one take public transit? Are sufficient porti-potties and washrooms available at the start and finish lines? Is there a bag-check service where runners can leave their belongings during the event? Are there corrals or waves to separate faster and slower runners? Does the race provide pace bunnies/rabbits to help meet runner’s time goals? Are there food and refreshments at the finish line that are easy to access? If so, how much and what kinds of refreshments are available? Are there EMS and recovery stations available a runner is not feeling well? Are there massages or other recovery services? Does one have (free) access to race-day photos and video? Are there finishers medals?

The experience: Ultimately, all other aspects combine to create (or not) a meaningful and memorable experience that matters to the individual runner. Ask yourself: “Would I run this event again? Would I recommend it to friends and fellow runners? Did I enjoy my experience?” If the answer is “yes”, then it’s probably a pretty good event!