I have felt a change coming on in my approach to running and races.
When I first started running, it was a round the time when a lot more folks began to hit the road as casual runners, and with that came an increase in the numbers of folks that participated in races. I remember what it was like trying to make it into the Broad St 10 Miler and then the Marine Corps Marathon a couple of years ago. Big name races that attracted a LOT of notoriety on a local and national level…and also sold out VERY quickly because of it. I remember my first 5k and 10k races were small races; nothing big and fancy, both were relatively ‘young’ in terms of years the race itself had been hosted, but they were both meaningful to me because they were a chance to get out there and prove to myself that I could run.
Somewhere along the way between that first 10k to my first half and then my first marathon I think I got a little lost. Meaning, I got carried away in they hype and grandeur of a big race. If a race didn’t offer a specific kind of tech tee or if it wasn’t a notable race I just was not as interested. I became a race snob it seems. I don’t think it’s something that it’s something that happened intentionally…as a runner you want to have the best experience possible, and some of us love the thrill of large crowds at the finish line or along the course to cheer us on. Even a large expo can be enough of a draw to make someone register for a race. I know, crazy right? But it’s true.
Funny thing though…when I look at the races I ran this year…most of them were half marathons…and most of them were small and/or meaningful. I think my favorite race was the Frederick Half Marathon…I was by myself, knew no one who was running…yet I made friends along the way and the entire town of Frederick was present to cheer for us runners. It was a lovely little run through a lovely little city and it’s a race I hope to do again next year. I think I have found myself missing that special something that you will find along the way while running a small or a small town race…it’s the peace and quiet of the road…the space and freedom you get from running your own pace…and it just feels different.
This past year I set out with a goal to run 13 half marathons in one year. I’ve since had to abandon that goal as other pursuits and issues have taken my time and attention, but I’m kind of thankful that I set out for that challenge in the first place. In seeking 13 half marys I had to get creative an a number of small town or small name half marathons caught my attention and have now made it on my ‘to run’ list. I think in a time when a lot of big name race companies are focused on getting the masses to their electric/tie dye/mud/mashed potato runs…I would much rather just hit the road one quiet morning with a group of folks who just want to run. You don’t even need to give us a tech tee as part of the swag. *wink*
Till next time!