I’m a big fan of Rock N Roll Races – hellloooooo Vegas! But I also really and I mean REALLY love running small local marathons. When I want to have a fun experience and take in all the sights and sounds of a new city, I’m a Rock N’ Roll girl. When I want to run a fast race and don’t want to be distracted by anything other than running 26.2 miles, a local race is where I’m at. Of course a small local-to-me-race could be one where you take in the sights and sounds of a new city. I certainly have run a fast-for-me race as some larger races. However what I’m advocating for today is a local to you race and the benefits of sticking close to home!
In no particular order, here are ten reasons I think you should consider running a small local-to-you marathon (or race of any distance) this year.
1. Economic Impact. When you spend your dollars at home, you are impacting your local area economically. If you really want to make sure your dollars are staying in your community, make sure your race is put on by a local race director or local running club.
2. Local Race Staff. Running a race close to you that is put on by a local runners or a local business typically means their race office is close to the race site. These races often employ other local community members! These people spend the majority of their income in your area, keeping many of your race dollars at home year round.
3. Lower race entry. I love big races and can justify spending upward of $200 when traveling out-of-town to run a big race. However I can only do that once or twice a year and still stay in my budget. If you don’t have a money tree growing in your backyard, running local races that typically have lower entry fees help stretch your running dollar.
4. Avoid the lottery. I am NOT a fan of lottery races. I fully understand and respect why we need lottery type races in this sport, but I really like to be able to just pick a race I want to run and sign up. Most small local races as small enough that you can sign up when they open in a first come, first serve type of system.
5. Familiar restaurants and/or food. There are few things worse on race day than an upset stomach. If you stay at home the night before the race, you will be having foods you hopefully have practiced eating before long runs. If you choose to eat out at a restaurant, you can pick one that you have eaten at before and had no issues. A happy tummy makes for a happier race!
6. Run parts of the course prior to race day. Knowledge is power. I’ve run 30 marathons but many of them have been local repeats. Being able to run parts of the course prior to race day or having run the race in the past will help you immensely on race day. You will be prepared for what is to come.
Related: Mental Tricks For Long Runs
7. No jet lag or dehydration due to flying. Some people can run long distances very well after flying. I am not one of those people. If you are like me, sticking close to home will pay off in the long run—pun intended.
8. Sleep in your own bed. Oh how I love a good hotel bed BUT I love my bed more. Run a race close to home and there is no need to spend the night in a hotel bed. There is no risk of being uncomfortable or end up with neighbors who are partying the night away.
9. Family, friends, and neighbors as volunteers. Recruit all your favorite people to help out at the race and you have an automatic cheer squad for 26.2 miles.
10. Fewer people on course makes for an easier PR. This is not to say you can’t run a personal record at a race that has 30,000 or more people. If you are only in shape to run pretty close to what you want to run and don’t have seconds or minutes to spare, gain these seconds by saving energy. In a small race there are fewer people, meaning less runners that you have to weave in and out of. It saves you precious energy and time.