Big races vs Little races!

I was reading womens running the other day where they had an article discussing what people preferred in terms of size of races and it got me thinking about what I like… This year I’ve run 3 ‘larger’ races and the rest have mainly been small races. So in the past year I’ve done

Kingston 10k – Small
Bushy Park 10k – Small
Valentines 10k – Small
Silverstone Half Marathon, – Large
Electric Run UK – Large
Edinburgh Marathon – Large
Turks Head 10k – Small
Polesdon Lacey 10km – Small
Staines 10km – Small
Kempton Race for Life 2014 – Largeish
Elmbridge 10k – Small
Womens Running 10k Finsbury Park Inbetween!

Bournemouth Half Marathon – Large
Fuddy mudder Southampton Small

So theres been quite a mix!

Support

Edinburgh blew me away with how big it was, I remember looking down the slope at the start at the 4 other pens that were in front of us and it was wall to wall with people, and it had two start lines! Ultimately running that although it was large it wasn’t as well supported as many large races are so I’d say it let the large race side down there! But thats mainly the routes fault, if it was based more around the city I’m sure it would have been better supported.

Electric run was big but didnt require large support, however the crowds there were nuts! It was dark and at times claustraphobic whilst lining up!

Silverstone was large and well organised, again like Edinburgh I stood on the start going, oh my god this is mental! It felt huge! Poorly supported again due to the route.

Most people usually say they like large races as they have more support, I think this only applies if the route allows there to be support. Support isn’t such an issue for me for 5k, 10k distances. For half marathons its nice to have a bit of support but spaced out is fine, Bournemouth was beautifully supported, regular gaps where you could just get in yourself but plenty of times when there were loads of people cheering you on. For me marathons are important to be supported well. Next year I’ve signed up for 3 marathons, insane I know, all of which I hope will be well supported. Brighton I know will be as I was there this year to support and the crowds rocked. Liverpool I’m told is well supported so I know that should be ok and I’m excited to run past my teams home ground. Bournemouth I know from experience will be patchy.

Goody bags and bling! 

I think people tend to assume the bling is best at larger races. Certainly I can’t deny some of my favourite bling this year has been from big races. Silverstones medal rocks, its lovely. Edinburgh I like because its big and chunky and just makes me feel proud of myself! That being said Polesdon lacey had an awesome chunky medal that I really like, its bling tastic! The medals from some small races can be generic ones, I think the only ones that applied to was Bushy, Kingston and Valentines 10ks.

Some races hand out tshirts and I do tend to favour the ones that hand out tech tshirts as I can wear those on runs if I’ve run out of clean kit, who wears cotton shirts to run in anymore?! Cotton ones are handy as bedtime tshirts though. My bug bear is the lack of female fit shirts and also the races that don’t let you choose sizes!

In terms of goodie bags I think my best ones were Womens 10k and Bournemouth, both had some fantastic freebies in such as Spatone and small boxes of cereals, those are handy! Oh and heat relief patches! I HATE ‘goodie bags’ that are simply filled with leaflets, they all go straight in the bin!!!!

Overall I think theres no right or wrong answer, every race is different. Just as some have hills, some are flat, some are PB chasing courses whilst others aren’t. Every race is unique. There are certain things I look for when booking races, namely a medal, bag storage, car parking etc but aside from that we all experience races differently. The person at the front will have a different race to one at the back. They are all unique!

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