What do you look for when picking a race? What is important to you? Do you sign up for every race that comes your way? There are so many races out there which is a good sign that racing has become very popular. You could probably find a race every weekend if you wanted to. How do you narrow it down?
Personally, the things I look for has changed from time to time.
Destination: I use to look for races that were in a destination that I wanted to visit and then I looked to see if they offered a distance that I was willing to run. I'll pretty much travel for all distances if I feel it would be a good race. Destination races are larger in size (so I was certain I wouldn't come in last...lol). There is usually some other event going on, the swag is cool (usually a great tech race shirt and a fancy medal), and they end up being a long weekend getaway with just the girls or a family affair. I usually don't care too much about the price for a destination race because I consider it a mini vacation. For a destination race I DO want to make sure it includes a medal but I don't really care what it looks like. I prefer to be surprised at the finish line but that rarely happens anymore thanks to social media. A few of my favorite destination races include Disneyland, Rock n Roll Las Vegas, Disney World, and races at the Beach!
Now that I've pretty much done all the destination races that I've had any desire to do I want to cut back for a while until something else sparks my interest. In the mean time these are some things that I look for in NON-Destination races.
Weather/Time of Year: Because I hate being cold at the start line of a race I make it a rule to not do any races north of the Mason Dixon line during the winter months. One exception to this is if it's a 5K.
Race Course: I like to stick with fairly flat course. I'm not big into challenging course for a local race, although I totally missed the mark on this one recently.
Cost: I don't like to pay a lot for a local race, especially when it is a course that I could normally run for free. I also like to see what is offered for the cost. The last few locals I did gave great tech shirts and the money went towards a great charity so it was a win-win.
Events: I like to do races that are associated with a larger event or festival. It's nice to be able to hang out afterwards and see what else is going on, maybe grab a bite to eat, etc. I don't like crossing the finish line and then heading right back to the car.