Boston area races and the benefits of competion

Boston area races and the benefits of competion

[Wednesday] April 10th, 2013

If you live in and around Boston – Somerville, Cambridge, etc. – you’re well aware that as the weather turns warmer, road races start popping up left and right. This is good news for runners and racers alike. Three organizations in particular stand out in their organization of fun and exciting race events; Cambridge 5k, Run Against Cancer Events, and BA Events. While coordinating a road race has it’s hurdles in the Boston area – people, roads, dates, sponsors – there’s a darker side of competition that belies an undercurrent of demand that forces race organizers to step up or step aside.

There’s no denying that we live in a small town where our small community of runners typically recognize one another in passing on the Esplanade. Living within the runner specific paradigm, there’s a fact of the matter that we who sign up for road races have limited resources to invest in these events. These resources can be time, money, training schedule interference, etc. So it seems necessary to point out that as races continue to become more and more popular, where you spend your resources becomes a higher priority.

Do you prefer food and beer after a race? Do you prefer a USATF certified course with accurate timing? What about live music vs. a DJ? These are just some considerations that race directors are taking into account when organizing their race. It really comes down to what you as a racer/runner prefer. Personally, I like a good social atmosphere with beer and a DJ spinning good music post race.

(Share your comments on what you like in a race  below.)

More recently, the fruits of race organization competition have been highlighted by the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s ( DCR) not very public acknowledgment that a long standing race series take a look at their mission, and paving the way for other races to acquire permits for similar course routes. While perhaps the move by DCR has caused some minor controversy between directors, it’s ultimately a good thing for our running community to have options. The successful race directors will be the ones that hone their craft to provide awesome events.

With the Boston Marathon as the semi-official starting gun of race season, take a deeper look into your race season. Don’t just sign up and run a race because your friends are. Look at what the race is offering, and as a smart consumer, demand through your spending that you get the best bang for your buck. A great example of an awesome event is the sold out, Haproon 5 Miler. This race, while seemingly expensive at $50, is a great value if you get in through their lottery system. The course, competition, organization, and after party are well worth the cost, especially if you can register as a 6 Pack of friends in the team event. So when considering your race schedule this year, make sure think about to whom and to where your money is going.