The Pros & Cons of Running a Local Race

Nicole is guest posting today and sharing her list of pro’s and con’s about local races. Check it out and see if you agree!

I love races. It’s pretty much the only reason that run at all. I look forward to the crowds, the t-shirts, the medals (if they have them) and the excuse to eat as much as I want afterwards, because, hey, I burned some calories. So I got to thinking, which do I love more, local races or destination races? Well, here is my pros and cons list on local races. (You can catch my previous post on destination races here).

Local Race - Turkey Trot


You get to sleep in! No waking up at 4am, you can roll out of bed and drive easily to your destination.

You don’t worry about forgetting to pack something (though at one local half marathon, I left my headphones in the car and luckily my boyfriend was able to grab them and give them to me before the start of the race. Can you imagine?? Running 13.1 miles WITHOUT music? As if!)

You can run with friends or see familiar faces before and after. I love it when I see people I know. It really makes the tick tock of time that happens when you’re waiting for the race to start go faster.

You may be able to place in your age group because of the small pool of people running! This is a good one for those of us that aren’t super fast runners. One 5k I did, I actually won my age group…and I finished in 30 minutes. Granted, I may have been one of five 30-35 year olds at that race, but whatever, I got a ribbon!


Sometimes, they’re not as well organized. Local races are put on by local people who are just like us. They have regular people jobs and families and putting on a race is something extra for them to do. I always give a little slack for organization. My boyfriend and I put on a trail run once and it was CRAZY! There is so much that goes into putting on a race (I’ll save that story for another blog post). Luckily, no one got lost and everyone was accounted for – oh and everyone won a prize (PRO). It was a small crowd, 50+ runners, we had enough prizes for everyone.

Scenery is not always great. If you’re like me and always running locally, you’re always seeing the same scenery. It can get boring sometimes.

The t-shirts aren’t always great. I’m going to be honest. Really, I run for the t-shirts and medals. And local races don’t always have the best. Though I do use my cotton t-shirts I get from local races as my “throw-away” clothes at RunDisney races.

To sum it up, the best thing to remember is no matter what, a race is a race and it gets you out there to do what you’re training to do on all those runs by yourself! Runners are such a great group of people too, so get out there and enjoy what your neighborhood, city or surrounding city has to offer you.

QOTD: Do you prefer local or destination races?

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  1. Id have to say local—because I never get away 🙂
    OOOH OR DESTINATION as Id have to get away!!

  2. A win is a win, I mean when I say “I won my age group” I just don’t mention that no one else showed up… It’s irrelevant.

  3. I find destination races to be a lot more fun. I can take vacation from work and travel to a city where I can be a tourist and run a race.

  4. Great post, I love running both type of races for different reasons! You make some really good points. I do like running local races because I feel like I am giving back to my local community… a lot of them benefit some great organizations.

    • Thanks and so true Lora! When we put on our race the proceeds went to our former high school’s cross country team to fund their annual nationals trip! A lot of them helped by volunteering and learning the ins and outs of putting on a race. It was stressful, but rewarding and fun!

  5. Like Lora, I also like local and destination races for different reasons. I agree that I find the destination races to be much more organized, but there’s something about the smaller crowds at the local races that make it more enjoyable while out on the course running. As a teacher, I love participating in our annual 5K because it not only directly benefits the school but I know many of the people volunteering and running in the race.

    For those who live in Virginia, I’ve found the Potomac River Running Race Series ( to be extremely well organized – almost on par with the same level of organization as runDisney and the Rock ‘n’ Roll series.

    • Kathryn, that is one of my favorite things! Seeing familiar faces is so great at races. If I’m ever in Virginia I would love to do one of those races…though, that would be a destination race for me, since I’m in CA.

    • Great plug for PRR, K! If you’re ever in the hampton roads area, I’d also recommend J&A Racing (Shamrock Marathon, Wicked 10K, Surfin’ Santa, Virginia is for Lovers 14K…)

  6. Another pro of local races is that the bigger/longer ones have training teams. It’s fun to get to know others that have the same goals as you and to do the long runs in groups (and not think about were to run to get the mileage in).

    • Heather, that is such a great point! I haven’t had the pleasure to join a training team yet, but definitely want to look into it for future long runs. I’ve only ever gotten up to 10 miles on a lone training run, I can only imagine how much better it would be to do that in a group!

  7. I prefer local because I HATE spending a ton of money on my “free” hobby. While destination races are fun, I am a major cheap-o and have a hard time justifying that kind of money for something I can do in my hometown.

    • Such a great point Carson. That “free” running hobby quickly turns expensive when you add up shoes, clothes, race accessories and race entries! I wouldn’t say
      cheap-o, I would say budget conscious 🙂

  8. I like them both for different reasons, but I also live in a beautiful area so the scenery is not a “con” for me. 🙂 2 other benefits to locals: they cost less, and the money usually goes to charity, so the run is good for your heart physically and metaphorically!

  9. The furthest I’ve gone for a race is about 50 miles so I can’t really weigh in on a destination race. But with the exception of 1 local race, I have only had great experiences with them. And all of them are in different areas so at least I’m not running in the same location repeatedly!

  10. Fun post! I’d say I love a mix of both. Our local RRCA puts on some really well organized events and the swag is awesome!

  11. I love destination races, but my pocketbook likes me to balance local races. One PRO you didn’t mention – local races are often much cheaper!

    • So very true Kinnereth! Someday, if I ever win the lotto, I would spend it on traveling to all the destination races I’ve ever wanted to go to…someday…someday…

  12. I’ve always wanted to do a destination race (Disney half marathon is on my bucket list!) but have only tackled local races so far. I do love the sense of community and the fact that you can just wake up on a weekend morning, head to the race and be done nice and early and go about your day!

    • I totally agree! There is just something nice about being able to go home after and continue on with your day after a local race. Good luck on checking off that Disney Half from your bucket list!!

Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. The Pros & Cons of Running a Local Race

    Nicole is guest posting today and sharing her list of pro’s and con’s about local races. Check it out