Linking up with MarciaPatti, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.


Last week I wrote about how often I race.  Today I will write about the thought process that goes into selecting my races.

Well, basically I go for timing, location, and price.  

Timing-I do not race as often as before but there are a few races that I will do because they fit into my training schedule.  Last year I ran the Chicago Half Marathon because I had to run the same number of miles for my Chicago Marathon training.  The Rock ‘n’ Roll also falls perfect into my training but that one I will NOT do because it is in July and for some strange reason it is always HOT on race day.  The last time I did this race was in 2013 and I was very thirsty throughout the race.  I always have a great time spectating.  One year I saw Shalane flying by and last year I missed Meb.

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Location-I like all of my races to be in the Chicago area.  I like taking the train downtown and it is cool seeing other runners in the train car going to the same place.  I don’t mind driving either and the farthest I’ve driven is about an hour for the Fort2Base Race.  I might still do this race this year since it is 11 miles and I have to run 10 miles that day anyway.  

To meet my 50+1 goal, I also travel to other states.  To date I’ve run in 36 states with 15 to go (I am counting DC as a state).  I did most of them in 2013 thanks to my TourPass.  Plus, I live close to Midway Airport and that helped in picking races that I could fly out from Midway.


Price-This is a tricky one.  Why are races so darn expensive?  And it seems like the more I pay, the less swag I get.  Yes, RunDisney, I am talking about you.  I hate paying so much money for races.  Yes, I’ve paid $180 to run 26.2 miles but have also paid $45 for 31 miles.  Insane right?  It has to be a race with good reviews, easy to get to (if I am traveling out of state), and I must really want to do this race in order for me to fork up the money to pay for it.

I also pick races because they’re fun and/or tradition.  I love running the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k.  That race pretty much starts off the running season in Chicago.  You run through parts of the course of the Chicago Marathon.  There are many spectators and there is free beer at the end.  Many runners get a group of friends to run this and it is always a blast. I love running this every year.  My first one was in 2016 but I’ve missed it a few times for different reasons.

Another race I enjoy running is the Elmhurst 4 on the 4th Race.  It is always on July 4th and I love that it is 4 miles.  This is the only race I’ve run that it 4 miles.  I ran this yesterday (4th year) and it almost fit perfectly with my training schedule (6 miles).  After the race I ran an additional 2 miles. 

The races I definitely will not do are those that are not chip timed.  And those races are the “fun runs” (Color Run, Foam Runs, etc).  Yes, I like to have fun in my races but I also want a finish time to go with it.

So I look at timing, location, and price when selecting a race.  It can be only one of those factors or a combination.  It may not be ideal but that is how it works for me.  


18 Comments on How do I choose my races?

  1. Completely agree with everything you consider in races! Especially at how RunDisney keeps getting more and more expensive, but provides so little swag. Yet, the demand is still there! Crazy, right? You are very fortunate to live so close to MDW and be able to fly out easily. I’m totally with you on not wanting to do non-chip-timed races or any of the gimmicky races, too. I’m all about races that offer unique experiences that you can’t otherwise get, e.g. RnR Las Vegas!!! =D =D =D

    • Exactly on the unique experiences! That’s why I am running again RnR Las Vegas. Plus, I got a good deal on it (I think it was $99).

      As for Disney races, I still want to run again Wine and Dine and possibly Marvel’s Avengers Half Marathon.

  2. I share your frustration with the inverse relationship between price and swag. What is up with that?? Fort2Base has been hot every time I’ve run it as well. Ugh. I cringe when I think about yet another sizzling RnRCHI. Maybe this will be the cool year. One can dream.

    • I know right? I still want to run again Wine and Dine (it rained the entire race the year I ran it) and Marvel’s Avengers Half Marathon. One day. I should start saving now because who knows how much it will cost when I do decide.

  3. Price is often a factor for me but not the only factor. Altho I learned my lesson from that Zooma half I ran a few years ago. That was the most expensive half I ever ran and it was such a disappointment to me. Now I’m much more picky.

  4. I’m not much for running usually, so the fun runs are probably the ones I’d go for. (I really want to do obstacle course runs someday! 😛 ) Prices and swag are definitely things I’d consider too!

  5. Great post and I agree with so many of these points. I don’t think I would ever do a color run. You can have fun and still get a time! And I love the idea of running races as a tradition and to see progress year over year.

  6. I ran the Chicago Half Marathon this year – yes, I came all the way from Virginia to run it! My son is working on his MBA at the University of Chicago, so we visit as often as possible. I ran the race with my daughter-in-law’s mom and we had so much fun! What other races do you recommend in Chicago? I’d love to run another this fall or next spring, but I no longer run marathons (or I would have entered the lottery for the Chicago Marathon).

    • That is awesome of your son! My nephew graduated in 2010 and I took some classes for my math endorsement. I love their campus. Are you looking for a half or what distance? I like Live Grit Lakefront 10 Mile, Shamrock Shuffle, The Good Life Race 5k, Quarryman Challenge 10 Mile, Fleet Feet Soldier Field 10 Mile, and Oak Brook Half Marathon.

      • Thanks for the feedback! I saw signs for the Soldier Field 10 Mile race while in Chicago, and it would definitely interest me, but it’s Memorial Day weekend and my husband and I host a huge barbecue that weekend every year. Also, we’ll be back out just two weeks later for our son’s graduation, so that would be two trips too close together. The Oak Brook Half Marathon seemed like a good option for Labor Day weekend, but I see that it’s been canceled this year.

        • Bummer. I did not realized the Oak Brook Half Marathon is cancelled this year. I wonder why? I’ve run it a few times but lately have not done so the past couple of years.

Thank you for your comment!