Small Races: Benefits vs. Cons.

I ran the Waterloo Marathon this weekend. Yes Waterloo does have a marathon. I wanted to do a spring race and was limited to which race I could do by the fact that I’ll be going to Peru on May 5th and will miss the TO and Mississauga Marathons. I know no need to feel sorry for myself, I am going to Peru in a few days and and the Waterloo marathon was actually really nice.

I tried for sub 3 hrs again, and yet again I came up short. This time well short. I ran a 3:04 and change and including a washroom stop (compared to my 3:00:03 at Mississauga last year). I also just fell short of winning. It would have been the first marathon I could ever say I won outright, but alas I was second by a couple of minutes. I also missed out on a $500 first prize. Second prize….. a pair of Socany compression socks.

Lesson learned:

  • Long runs are important. I only decided I was going to train for a marathon 2 months before the date and it was hard to build up the distance I needed in such a short time. My last long run was 34k and I totally bonked at 30k. This was a premonition for what would happened in the marathon yesterday.
  • Small races have their own benefits and minuses. 

The benefits: The prizes and post race food can be great. The race atmosphere is usually very friendly and has a family feel. The entry fees are usually very reasonable and you can usually enter at the last minute. I paid $55 for a late entry to the Waterloo Marathon. If you don’t like big crowds and want to have some space at the start a small race offers plenty of personal space.

The cons: It can be lonely out there. There is usually minimal crowd support and it may be very difficult to find someonoe to run with. The support out on the course may be lacking, with fewer water stations and k markers.

The next time you are finding it difficult to find a race that fits into your schedule consider a local race, the benefits may outway the negatives.

Michael Medeiros.


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