Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What's All the Fuss About?

This week's Wednesday Word is hullabaloo and I promised myself not to go for the obvious. It's as if Debbie looked into her crystal ball and knew we needed this word for this particular point in time. Sorry. Nope, I'm not going to even mention any current events. It would have made for an easy blog post, but we all are sooooo tired of it.

Ok, I'll go there, briefly...

The Rock was named "Sexiest Man Alive" by People Magazine. He's sweet! He exfoliates! But does he run?

Really, why all the hullabaloo? Hullabaloo is a million dollar word, worthy of something big. Hullabaloo is an onomatopoeia! Which means I don't even have to define it. What's worthy of a hullabaloo from the running perspective? What do runners like to make a fuss about? How's that for a segue? You tell me what you think...

Taking the Long Way Home



A big city Marathon--what's all the fuss about? I just read all the recaps of everyone who ran NYCM. Even those runners who didn't come close to their goal finish times knew they ran something special. Same for those Chicago Marathon runners. I won't lie. Chicago is pretty amazing. Heck, last year I wrote a post about the spectacle that is Chicago. There's also Berlin. London. Boston. There's a reason those races are the Marathon Majors. They do marathons right. What about MCM? We're talking huge races, supportive crowds, great runner support. These races are so popular, they have lotteries even to earn a bib to line up.

Disney races--what's all the fuss about? Disney has made bling a thing. The Disney races are a spectacle. Runners in costume are the norm rather than the exception. Some of these races are so popular, it's almost impossible to get a bib. Disney races attract more recreational runners than serious runners, though. Is the hype worth the race fees? I ran one WDW half marathon and I was in Corral B--the corrals went up to K--which tells you that this was not a race for PR seekers. While running through the castle was pretty cool, most of the race is run in the dark on back roads through the Disney property. For me, it was a little anticlimactic.

Novelty races--what's all the fuss about? Hot Chocolate, Color Runs, Foam Runs, Zombie Runs, Undie Runs, Naked Runs are usually shorter distances--5k or 10k--and attract a lot of non-runners because of the swag. These races are so popular they often sell out. I've run one Hot Chocolate race and it was not a good experience. Yes, the swag was good but so many participants didn't understand race etiquette and I spent the majority of the first couple of mile weaving in and out of crowds. While I've heard the race directors have improved their crowd control, as far as running for Chocolate, I'm one and done.

Obstacle course races--what's all the fuss about? Spartan races, Tough Mudder, Dirty Girl--you've heard of these and maybe you've run one or at least considered it? These are more than running, they are physical challengesBut like everything in life, once they became more popular, the races have upped the ante. Barbed wire, electrical wires, and ice baths? Can I ask what the attraction is? I don't know about you but to me, running is, in itself, an adventure. I don't need to add obstacles to a marathon to make it more challenging. I'd advise anyone who is undertaking an OCR to train specifically for the obstacles you might encounter. I'm not sure how you train for potential electric shock, though.

With all this in mind, let me ask you: Is a smaller marathon or half marathon less worthy of fanfare than the big races?

Smaller races are less of a spectacle, with fewer spectators, and gasp...spots with no spectators. There might be some lonely miles. Does low key mean hokey?

Running a smaller race means wide open race courses. No one to weave around. Fewer distractions. Just you and the road.

Parking? Easier. Gear check? Uncomplicated. Hotels? Less expensive.

Maybe the bling isn't so... "blingy". Is that a bad thing? Are we that superficial that we pick a race based on the bling?
Taking the Long Way Home
Great race. Not for the bling. And that's ok by me.
Big or small, a marathon is still a marathon. A half is still a half. Distances worthy of accolades. I've run a few local races that were really low key. But they were super competitive, attracting some speedy runners. Even though the swag was meh and the bling was blah.

Here's the thing: I believe everyone should run a big name race. Just to enjoy all the hullabaloo. It's an incredible experience. There's nothing like it.

But even after running 3 Chicago Marathons, I have to say that I prefer the smaller races. No matter what race I run, I always try my hardest. But in a smaller race, maybe it's the thought that I could actually place in my AG. Without people to weave around, I can just run and run hard. Not for the spectacle. Not for the bling. Not for the hullabaloo.

No fuss at the finish. No spectacle. No commotion.

It's ok. I don't run for the hullabaloo. For me, it's just for the love of the run.

Do you run for the spectacle, the fuss, the hullabaloo? Should we make as big of a deal when we run a smaller race as when we run a big name race? Why are those big races such a big deal?

I'm linking this post with Deb Runs for Wednesday Word. I can't even tell you how hard this post was for me. That topic was right there in front of me and I had to walk on by. I hope I did well by this word.


I'm also linking up with Coaches' Corner. Debbie, Susie, Lora, and Rachel host this fun link up!











81 comments :

  1. Well, I think the big name races attract the runners who like the prestige of running them (?)...you know, bragging rights LOL I agree with you, the smaller events are a lot easier to "run proper" without excessive weaving. I did one Color Run (emphasis: ONE) and it was a nightmare. Tons of people participating (which was good!) but very few seemed to know the rules of the road (which was BAD) and I think that 5K course wound up being a 10K from all the weaving I had to do around the numerous groups of walkers. It also was expensive and the swag was marginal at best. #neveragain

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    1. Yep. Stay away from those novelty races.

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  2. I agree 100% with most all of this!! I absolutely LOVE the smaller races and not having to wake up at 3am to race at 11 and try to navigate through 50K runners. That said, I did just run the Las Vegas RNR half with 35K and it was so well organized, I hardly noticed...plus, it didn't start until 4:30pm! You know I don't care about bling so, for the most part, smaller races are my thing and I love them. I don't like to say "never" but I'm fairly certain I will never run Disney :-)

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    1. Yep, I'm one and done with Disney too. All that hullabaloo--it's just not my scene!

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  3. I'm not much of a racer, and while I have enjoyed hullabaloo races, I have also enjoyed small, local ones. I definitely run the small ones more often. I would like to run NYC sometime though! And Chicago!

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    1. I would totally do NYCM or Boston! Because sometimes it's worth all the hullabaloo.

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  4. While my first few races were biggies -- RnR Vegas & Montreal & Vegas again -- most of the time I've searched out the smaller halfs in deference to Mr. Judy who doesn't like crowds. Although he survived the Dash to the Finish line (with corrals going back to Z!) -- I'm sure it helped a lot that he had my nephew to hang out with.

    I like em both. For a shy person I thrive on crowds, too, which is why I love big cities. It made me so happy just to be IN NYC, much less race there.

    Obstacles, mudders, etc. -- no thanks.

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    1. I'm not a crowds kind of gal. When I signed up for Chicago, most everyone who knows me well was surprised. But it's a lot of fun.

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  5. I love smaller local races, and I think it does well to everybody to try a little bit of everything... although I could not have any less interest on running a Disney race.

    I have never done an obstacle race, but I am so tempted to find one! Not a Spartan, the idea of barbed wire is not for me at all either.

    I think as long as people find something that gets them moving, whether that is bling, hot chocolate or color dust, beer... whatever gets them to try out running!


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    1. I agree with you 100%. I wanted to say that but it just didn't work for this post... :p

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  6. It's a great opportunity to try all kinds of events -- and you're right, they all have their charms. A couple of times I did the Marine Corps Marathon and then the Richmond Marathon a few weeks later. The two races couldn't be more different but they are both wonderful.

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    1. I think you have to find the best in each race.

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  7. My first two races were the 2013 and 2014 Chicago Marathons. The crowds were amazing and I absolutely loved running through the neighborhoods where I grew up. My next race was the Naperville Half Marathon and I swore I'd never do it again. It was ice cold, damp, and windy, and there were few spectators out--I hated it. I think it's especially hard for us slower runners, because the crowds start to disperse near the end. I've now done a number of small races and while I no longer hate them, I still don't love them. Nothing to do with the bling or the prestige, I just love the vibe of a huge crowd. As far as the novelty runs, no offense to those who do them, but I just don't get it.

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    1. Funny, because as much as I love Chicago, I have to listen to my music to shut out the crowds. It's almost too much for me.

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  8. It's certainly fun to experience a big race and the hullaballoo sometimes but I do like a smaller race with less logistics on a regular basis.

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  9. I like to run a variety of races, like you. The big ones, like New York are incredible and I'm so lucky I've had the opportunity to experience it. But I too love my small local races too. No fuss is good too.

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  10. Some of our running friends want to do a Disney race and honestly, I'm just not that excited about it, for the reasons you mentioned. We'll see if it actually happens...it would be an expensive weekend, that's for sure.

    I did a beach obstacle race years ago that was pretty fun and I discovered that I liked climbing up a tall rope thingie. But there was very little running, and that was OK for me as I was injured at the time. Mostly I just want to run a race, although because I'm slower, I prefer a big race for a half marathon, just so I'm not all alone out there on the course.

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    1. I don't mind being alone on the course. I run alone most of the time anyways!

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  11. I think "worth it" is in the eye of the beholder. Disney does not appeal to me, but I won't knock it until I try it (and I most likely won't). Have I run and loved plenty of small races? Yes. Do I also love pursuing the majors? Yes. Because I really enjoy traveling and racing in new locations and last but not least because I can!

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    1. I'm glad I did Disney, just because I'd have FOMO if I didn't.

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  12. I thoroughly enjoyed all of my Disney races and it's why I still return. And I like being in the earlier corrals! But like I said in my post -- as a whole, I gravitate toward the smaller, quieter races. I don't need the fanfare to get me to run. But if others do, that's great. PCB will be low on the hullabaloo scale.

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    1. If I could always be in the earlier corrals, I'd probably love the bigger races. I have to say that with Chicago, I didn't have much issues with weaving around slower runners.

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  13. I definitely prefer the low-key to the spectacle. This is one of the reasons I've moved into trail races and ultras. There's just less hullabaloo ;) I get super overwhelmed with the large crowds and all that goes along with big races that I'm liking the smaller ones more and more. Though I have run many many big races and I admit I miss running NYC Marathon. I was FOMO-ing hard that weekend.

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    1. I think I'd like trail races too. I like running outdoors and the idea of few people is very appealing to me.

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  14. I think each and every one of these races have a special place for people. If you like races, I agree at some point you need to run in a huge race, just like Disney, I think everyone should try it once. I don't have a huge race under my belt to compare, not yet that is but I honestly can't say I like a bigger on over a smaller one. There is one thing that each and every one of these can be and that is FUN!
    Great way to incorporate your Wednesday Word this week Wendy! Say that 3 times fast! :)

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    1. I'd rather run a big city race than do Disney again.

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  15. There is definitely a lot of hullabaloo (gosh that's hard to spell!) with racing these days. I have done some mud runs and have been shocked and slid into a bath of ice water...but it's all in good fun (and I'd probably never do TM again!). I like races that are well-organized, so if it's small or large, it doesn't matter too much to me.

    I'll be doing my first Disney race in February so I hope to finally see what all the hullabaloo is about because it is SO expensive!

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    1. Well, there's that to consider with those big races...big $$!

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  16. I think each race is really what you make it out to be. I've run some big name races that were only okay and some small hometown races that put me on a runner's high all week because I was able to place in my age group. On the other hand I've run larger races that I've loved and enjoy all the offerings that go with it such as great medals, race swag, course entertainment, refreshments, massages, and other goodies. I really think it's all about the experience you want to have.

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  17. I think the key to running "novelty races" is to get just ignore the novelty aspects, then line up in the first corral with the more serious runners. I also don't know if I'll ever do a mud run or Spartan race since I am terrified of injuring myself on an obstacle.

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    1. I like your way of thinking...I'm lining up in the front if I ever do one of those races!

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  18. I don't know if The Rock runs but he definitely lifts...which I think is sexy as hell! lol! :D
    I think the themed races are a fun idea and keeps the sport interesting. And very profitable for Disney etc...pretty brilliant from a marketing perspective.

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  19. Back when I regularly ran longer distances, I went back and forth between small and large races. I am such a slow runner that in the small races I was often alone for miles so it was nice to get into a big race and always have company for a change. But honestly, I'm a lone runner all of the time anyway and after not racing at all for 6 years, when I did the Army 10 Miler it was a shock to my system to be around so many people and towards the end of the race, I found myself feeling irritated with the incessant talking and kidding around being done by other runners.

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    1. That's why I like my music...just in case I need to tune out the world.

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  20. I agree- big races are pretty special and worth all the hype and I recommend running a few, but I prefer the smaller races. The logistics alone of the big races like NYC and Boston are too stressful for me race morning! I prefer being able to arrive easily at the start, wait 30 minutes or so and be off!

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    1. At last year's Chicago Marathon, I got there early but by the time I got through security, it was time to line up in the corrals! That was a little nervewracking to say the least!

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  21. Love this approach to the topic. I honestly have considered going to a Disney race, but price and hullabaloo keep me from it. And so far, I've been very happy with the hullaballoo from big races. WOOOO CHICAGO

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    1. I definitely prefer the hullabaloo of the big city races to Disney. But obviously I'm not the norm..

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  22. Alright, so this is my thing. I hate crowds. I get overwhelmed and overstimulated by all the noise and people and stress of it all. I have six kids, an ex husband and a partirdige in a pear tree so when I run? I DO IT ALONE. I'm not much of a racer, but when I do race it's just me, myself and I. I appreciate the course support, volunteers, etc and I tell them so. But if I had a choice between running a race alone or running a huge big fancy fun one (I've done Boston), I choose me, on the roads, ALONE.

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    1. I'm so with you on this. But I did love my big fancy city races. I still had to listen to music to shut out the crowds tho.

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  23. I'm a HUGE fan of smaller races. I've only done a couple bigger races (but not really big by most standards).

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  24. Love the Rock!

    So I run for the experience. I've had as good a time at a huge, tens of thousands of people race, as I have had at s small local, couple hundred people race. I do love bling and swag, but I also love the excitement of all the people around me, new cities and interesting sights. I'm not a great runner, and so I feel like I fit in better with the bigger Disney/Rock 'n' Roll type events. But everyone has a different comfort level and different ways of spending their dollars.

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  25. I hope this was as fun to write as it was to read! I am still debating a marathon for next year. Now that the weather is cooler I'm remembering how I prefer to run in the cold, so Richmond and Philly are in the running.

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    1. I'd rather do a cooler marathon too--which is why I picked Grandma's in Duluth. Of course, last year it was record high in the 80s, so who knows.

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  26. I love your summaries of the different races. I agree they all have their own appeal. This post is great I cant wait to share it! Im not a distance runner, Ive only done small 5k fun runs or charity runs.

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    1. I haven't done a 5k in a long time. But that may change...

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  27. This is a super fun post, Wendy!

    I loved (LOVED) MCM. But, like you, I much prefer the smaller races. I don't have any intention of placing or anything like that, but I do enjoy being able to just run and completely zone out. On my training runs, I'm hyper-vigilant about safety. During small distance races, though, I can just relax and run because I know I'm safe since I'm on a course and running with a group. It's a nice change of pace for me.

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    1. I'd like to do MCM but I've heard it's just so crowded on the course. Even though Chicago is crowded, it isn't packed. I like a little space.

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  28. I suppose if you're a runner, a big name race is like the runner's version of seeing Beyonce live. But I really love the cozy coffee shop performances of local talent (or small trail runs).

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    1. I like your analogies! And I do prefer the coffee shop performances over the big names...

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  29. Most of the half marathons I run are small town races where there are few spectators and I run most of it alone and I'm ok with that. But I still love MCM because it gives me all the feels...

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    1. I think we all need to do those big races, just to connect with our peeps!

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  30. I'm all for the smaller races as well...I like not having a lot of rigamarole at check-in, with parking, picking up bib, etc. I actually don't think I've ever run a truly "big" race or done a "big" triathlon.

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    1. The smaller races are more my jam too.

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  31. I love smaller races, they are so fun and so much less crowded, plus every so often I win an age group prize.

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  32. I think what's most important for runners to ask themselves is what it is that they want out of a particular race. For me, if I'm going after a PR then often smaller races, with less entertainment, are what I turn to. If its the experience that I'm after, then I'll often register for a destination race. My husband and I are big Disney fans, so of course we enjoy running the Disney races. But one thing is for certain, you should never register for a race just because everybody else is.

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    1. There is so much FOMO in running, which is why I think the big races are so popular.

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  33. Bling was going to say big for me! I don't even know why, I don't have a particularly great way of displaying them (or at all for that matter)- but after thinking about it, bling isn't that important to me. I love the race experience, that's much more important to me!
    I did one Hot Chocolate race as well and it was NIGHTMARE, beginning of December, freezing cold waiting to start in the corrals (so I've shed my warm layer and taken my GU) and they delay the race by AN HOUR. I don't think I felt my feet for the first few miles because they were SO COLD.

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    1. Oh, that's the worst! When I ran HC, my feet were numb too! It's such a strange feeling.

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  34. LOL at the Rock exfoliating!!! I think there are pluses and minuses to big and small races. I love the fanfare of the larger races and all the energy, but detest dealing with the hordes of people and the often-painful logistics. Smaller races are so much more convenient - but then there's the very real fear of legitimately coming in last place! LOL

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    1. And I hadn't considered that coming in last thing!

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  35. I really enjoy smaller races. I have had a lot of fun experiencing some bigger events, but often smaller races come with a smaller price tag too and my budget likes that :)

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  36. I love your thoughts on this. I often think about which I prefer- the large races with the fanfare, or the small ones. I think that if I'm simply focused on running a really fast race then I want something relatively small but well organized and with easy logistics. If I'm looking for an experience, then I do like all the hoopla that comes with a big event. It's kind of like a celebration of all the hard training you've done to get there. I'm doing the Disney half in January. I've done it before and I agree that it's anti-climatic and the bathroom line was so long I almost missed the start. I didn't like how most of the race was in the dark, but I wanted to go to Disney so I figured I might as well go race!

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    1. Have fun! I'm sure it will be a good time. I would imagine you are in in the first corral, which is helpful.

      I'm glad I did mine when I did--it was right before the Disney Races got out of control. Still, getting up at 3:30 in the morning for a 5:30 am race start isn't something I want to do again.

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  37. Even though I live in Central Florida I am not a Disney run fan. Should you run one? Of course, but like you and hot chocolate I am Disney one and done :) I am all about the destination and the adventure and NO that does not include electrical shock! If I can get my sports bra to cooperative for 13 miles I am happy :) see you soon!

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  38. Love this post. I go between extremes - I love the big, major marathons and I am minorly (majory) obsessed with runDisney. However, I am a HUGE supporter of small, local races and really love those experiences. Maybe we don't have to be all in one camp or the other, but can enjoy being a part of both?

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  39. I love big races if they are long distances. I would also like to do Disney one day, but lots of people don't have that many great things to say about it. As for everything else you named ? NOT my thing. Spartan, color, and even races where you drink as you run, WTH ? Not for me.

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    1. Then I guess you won't be running the Krispy Kreme (donut) race...

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  40. I LOVE Disney races, but I LOVE Disney, so it makes sense. No, it is definitely not a race for a PR, but for fun, I love them. See, I love to get photos with the characters, and my BRF is also a huge Disney fan. So, to sum it up, I get a girl's weekend with my BRF, in my favorite place, and we get to meet and take photos with our favorite characters! They are not cheap, but any means, but super fun to me! I don't care if a race is huge or small. I decide to run a race more for the cause it supports, tradition, or just for fun. Living in metro-Atlanta, there are a lot of options for large or small races, within reasonable distance, pretty much year round!

    I have done Hot Chocolate 3 times: once as a group with my co-workers (5K), and twice with my BRF (we saw the bling for the second time we did the 15K, and we decided to go for it again). I'm done with those, though. I do like a good medal, but the traffic congestion is not worth it! I've also done a Color Run (filled in for a friend-of-a-friend who couldn't make the race). It was meh, at best. As for OCR, heck to the no! I might get injured and can't run!

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    1. Those OCRs are not for me either! I can't risk getting injured.

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  41. Out of all the marathons I ran, probably only about nine of them were not big city races. These days I stick to small races - okay as soon as I typed that I questioned if 2,000 people running a 5K is really a small race. Ha!

    Thanks for linking up!

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