When I first decided I wanted to run a marathon, my type A tendencies took over and I researched a TON of marathons within driving distance. Obviously I looked at local races first. I initally considered the Marine Corp Marathon and would have absolutely chosen it but my girlfriend’s wedding was the night before. Obviously that wouldn’t work out (instead I just ran 20 miles the morning of her wedding!), so I searched for another race. I wanted something close by and first timer friendly. I kept seeing Richmond being referred to as “America’s Friendliest Marathon.” After reading that literally 20 times, I started googling Richmond Marathon race recaps. I seriously probably read 30 recaps — and get this…ALL of them were positive about the race.
After reading all the blogs, I thought about how I’d feel running a race outside of DC where my friends and family couldn’t be present to cheer me on. It definitely was kind of a bummer to realize I wouldn’t be able to have my parents there as I finish my first marathon, but there weren’t any other DC fall marathons and, honestly, Richmond seemed great. So definitely think about if you will require a race in your city before you sign up. I’m okay with not having a bunch of friends and family there, although I do kinda wish I had a friend who could “jump in” with me at say, mile 23 or so.
Oh and the other consideration for me was that Richmond is a “relatively” flat course. There are some changes in elevation, but no crazy ridiculous hills. In fact, the finish is a downhill which should make me look really fast in my finisher photos! When considering all of that, plus Richmond’s relatively reasonable price point (I paid $90), it was an easy decisions!
How do you choose races? Have you ever run a race out of town?