Hump Day Running Giveaway: Two ZOOMA Race Entries

Three of the lovelies Jonna (far left)  and me (bookending from right) met last weekend at ZOOMA in the sunny state of Texas.
Three (no, wait, 4!) of the lovelies Jonna (far left) and me (bookending from right) met last weekend at ZOOMA in the sunny state of Texas.

Dimity and I are long-time fans of ZOOMA women's race series: We've loved them ever since we debuted our first book, Run Like a Mother, at ZOOMA Texas in 2010. We've reveled in the amazing vibe at these races across the country, from Cape Cod to Colorado, Annapolis to Atlanta, Napa Valley and maybe the debut Nashville race this November.

The ZOOMA series founder, Brae Blackley, is a mother runner of three young children, so she completely understands what a gal is looking for when she heads off for a race:
-A well-organized race with a choice of distances: Every ZOOMA race includes a half-marathon and either a 5K or 10K, and sometimes all three distances, like at last Saturday's ZOOMA Texas.
-A scenic course, often starting and ending at a resort, such as Hyatt Lost Pines outside of Austin, TX (one word: gorgeous!); Napa Valley Marriott; and Colorado Springs' legendary Broadmoor.
-A race expo that's easy to navigate yet still has make-you-linger shopping
-A race field that's big enough to spur competition and offer companionship and support the entire way, yet not big enough to jostle and overwhelm.
-A post-race party complete with wine and massages (not at the same time, but right next to each other!)

Sun rising over the first mile of ZOOMA Texas.
Sun rising over the first mile of ZOOMA Texas.

But for us, what we love most is that vibe I alluded to. Like a fragrance, it's tough to describe, but it infuses every ZOOMA event, making for a supportive, vibrant, we're-all-in-this-together experience. Even climbing up and down Austin's famous hill country, I nabbed one of my fastest-ever 13.1 times at ZOOMA five years ago--and forged some memorable bonds out on the race course. (To my pink-shirted pal who helped spur me along, I hope you are doing well!)

Running strong in the final miles of ZOOMA Texas, cheered on by cacti and bluebonnets.
Running strong in the final miles of ZOOMA Texas, cheered on by cacti and bluebonnets.

And now Brae and, well, Another Mother Runner (AMR) is making ZOOMA even better: Starting next week, all ZOOMA registrants will get a complimentary AMR training plan powered by TrainingPeaks. (The plans aren't live yet, but they will be in a few days, I promise!) Half-marathoners will choose from three plans: an 8-, 10-, or 12-week one, while the 10Kers will, fittingly, get a 10-week plan. Then, every day in the lead-up to the ZOOMA race, participants will get an email from TrainingPeaks, outlining that day's workout as well as the following day's fitness session. It's a perk no other race offers, and we're pleased to partner with ZOOMA on it.

The medals awaiting ZOOMA Texas finishers (love the little spinning start hanging off the bottom!)
The medals awaiting ZOOMA Texas finishers (love the little spinning start hanging off the bottom!)

Which brings us to the Hump Day Giveaway: One lucky lady will win two entries to the ZOOMA race of her choice; one race entry for herself, and one for her best running friend. Choose a race close by, or make it a girlfriends' getaway: It's winner's choice. (Please note: Giveaway is for two race entries only; no travel expenses are covered.) To enter, tell us what is the most important element of a race for you (other than the distance!). Is it the location? The cause the race supports? Friends running it? The post-race party? The swag? For a chance to win, simply click on the Comments ribbon beneath this post on our website, and tell us what aspect of a race, other than distance, makes you run (or run/walk) it. 

Will YOU be pinning on a ZOOMA race bib this year? If so, we'll see you at ZOOMA Annapolis, Colorado, and possibly Nashville.
Will YOU be pinning on a ZOOMA race bib this year? If so, Dimity and/or I will see you at ZOOMA Annapolis, Colorado, and possibly Atlanta and Nashville.

[Some fine print for this fine prize.] This sweepstakes is open to those over 18 and residents of anywhere on Earth as long as you can get yourself to a ZOOMA race. Part of a series of weekly running giveaways, it begins on 4/1/15 and ends on 4/7/15. We will announce the winner on our Facebook page on 4/9/15, as well as notifying the winners by email. One entry per person. The value of the prize package is approximately $200. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Void where prohibited by law.


400 responses to “Hump Day Running Giveaway: Two ZOOMA Race Entries

  1. the most important element is the location and organization behind it! I love finding an excuse to travel for a race. I particularly run half marathons but 10k’s are my fave distance. I love the post race parties too.

  2. Taking part in a Zooma race is all about an Annual Mamma’s Only Destination Race-cation with my most loyal running partner…and others who want to join! It is a chance for us to get in some serious uninterrupted bonding time in a place neither of us have been. We have decided combining travel, running a race, relaxing, and having fun (and some shopping too, of course) meets our needs on many levels!

  3. At this point, it’s the timing. With three busy schedules to work around and a slew of “favorite” races we do every year, adding anything new to the schedule is a matter of making it work in our schedules. Additionally, DH and I are trying to hit all the half marathons in our city. Since that list is ever-changing, we seem to have new options every year!

  4. Not going to lie…it is the bling!! I am not a jewelry wearer at all, and of course unless it’s Disney no one really sees your medals but super cool bling gets me running a race every time.

  5. The race location makes it fun. Giving back always feels good. What I love about a race, especially a new one that I have never ran is the excitement and stepping to the line with hundreds of other runners. Knowing that we are all there for different reasons pushing ourselves to different extremes and doing it together. Always a plus when you have someone to run with or find someone in the race to push you along.

  6. I’ve been running for 19 years after going through a divorce. I have this wonderful
    feeling being surrounded by other runners when I’m waiting for the gun to go off at
    the start. I love knowing that all of us are running for different reasons.
    Regardless of the distance, I’m trying to move forward from the ups and downs of my life,
    and be proud to cross that finish line.

  7. I would have to say location and date. I love to plan in advance but it also has to work out with my hubby’s schedule. It also doesn’t hurt to have my BFF registered to run as well!. Bonus is a cool looking medal! (Hey… I’m not gonna lie ;))

  8. I look for races with the probability of decent weather and a great atmosphere! There is nothing worse than a race where you feel like the race and, by extension you as a runner, aren’t welcome.

  9. The course definitely plays a part in whether or not I sign up for a race, but lately, it’s been more about the experience. I want it to be fun!

  10. Location! As expensive as races have become, I need a race to be somewhere I normally wouldn’t be able to run. It doesn’t necessarily need to be super scenic, maybe even just a part of town that is normally off limits due to traffic or whatever. A destination racr would be a real treat!!

  11. I love a festive experience. These are my “vacations” so I want a fun place with a big deal made of the event and the runners.

  12. I love everything about the Zooms races! From the awesome bling to the post-race wine, Yes Please! But honestly I do love a good cause when running a race. I think maybe it helps take some of the sting out of the registration fee when I know some of that money is going for a good cause!!

  13. Timing! Races need to fall between Birthday Season, sporting events, band festivals and all the other miscellany 4 children and a husband bring to the table.

  14. I choose races based on the proximity to my home (I prefer to sleep in my own bed the night before the race), and whether any of my running friends are also signing up for it. I love to run with company, and I also love it when I get to witness a milestone run for one of my BRFs, whether it be a distance or time milestone.

    My friend, Jessica, has never run a half marathon before, and she has agreed to sign up for ZOOMA Annapolis with me next spring (2016, not enough time for her to train up for this year’s race)! I am so excited to see her across that finish line of her first half, because I know how transformative that moment was in my own life. (My first half was also a women’s only race, and the spirit of sisterhood and support on the course was awesome.) It would be so fantastic if we won this giveaway 🙂

  15. I love a technical shirt and. Cool medal! Location is also pretty important… It’s fun to travel to see new places!

  16. For me it’s the total package. I love big races and ones that take me away from where I run daily. I like to run places that you usually can’t run on a day to day basis like thru Times Square or in the Windsor/Detroit tunnel. I like lots of spectators and people cheering me on. I’m a middle of the pack girl so anything that has a good mix of speed and quickness and slow and steady work the best.

  17. I do local races to keep inspired but I really love a big race with a great atmosphere. It seems like the excitement and a crowd of running enthusiasts or all shapes, sizes and speeds can really motivate me to do my best and have a superb race!

  18. The thing that makes me race is the drive to better my time. I am competitive and like to challenge myself. I also sign up depending on the swag. I use it as a motivational tool for myself.

  19. It’s hard to pin down what aspect is the most important, but schedule would probably win out. Will I have enough time to train with my family and work schedule? Does my family have other important events that day? Then, through in the schedules of my BRFs because we’re usually trying to train and race together. Somehow with all of these schedules, I’m able to run 2-3 half marathons and a marathon per year and usually with a few friends.

  20. The post race rehash, where we go over every mind-numbing detail. Wouldn’t miss the race carpool with my best running friends!

  21. part of the decision to run a race is the reviews of the crowd. Not only do we look for a great route/city to take in during the run, but the fan support is important to us. Just to hear complete strangers cheering on warms my heart 🙂

  22. I run based on schedule mostly, when the race is in relation to the rest of things going on. Then location comes into the equation…. Can I get there easily? Is it somewhere I want to visit? Will it be scenic? And who will be able to join me? And I’d totally be lying if I didn’t say I check out the swag! I love a good medal. I have all my medals hanging up as a reminder of all I’ve accomplished…. And to keep me training for the next race. This year my goal is to run a half marathon every month so picking races this year has been like putting a jigsaw puzzle.

  23. The biggest deciding factor to sign up is probably the route. I once ran a half marathon highly unprepared, but the route was the Columbia River Highway, sot here was no way I was going to bail. Swag also is a driving factor. I sign up for the Shamrock 15k year after year because of the beer bottle opener medal.

  24. For me, it’s the whole experience of the race. From planning what I’m going to wear, to training for it, to envisioning myself crossing the finish line. I love it all. It gives me a goal to work towards, outside of home and work life. So much to learn from each race, distance, and experience that I try not to sign up for the same race twice!

  25. The dates! Trying to work around everyone’s schedule means I have certain weekends I can pick from to make things work. Big races I can usually plan around, but when I’m hoping to sneak a race in, I’m at the mercy of the calendar.

  26. I’ll keep it simple…locoation, loction, loction. If it is close to home, a different type of course like running on an abandoned railway complete with tunnels or a place I have never been and anted to go. What is a better reason than to visit for a race!

  27. As I have gotten older and life has gotten busier, the most important element of the race for me is being able to gather with friends. We get so focused on our daily routines, that finding time to be together is harder and harder to find. Whether we are doing a race at home or away, knowing that we are running together is the best! We try to do one run out of town together each year and it would be awesome to make a ZOOMA run our run for 2015!

  28. For me, the aspect of a race that motivates me to run is the idea that everyone is accomplishing the same goal. Our world can seem so individualistic and isolated, but in a race, the collective body of runners gives me hope that goals can be reached through the camaraderie of those who support each other.

  29. I TRY – The most important part of a race for me is I TRY – recently I realized that my 13.1 races MAY come to an end and shorter races will be my forte – peri-menopause, injuries that aren’t exactly fixable, slower metabolism – but I am registered for 2 this year and looking forward to them because I will TRY, despite knowing my time won’t be my best – I am slower by about 5-10 minutes than years past and I am a bit more cautious, but I still TRY…I still feel a sense of accomplishment when I TRY and still love getting out on the road, even though I have a bit longer double digit mile, I still TRY…Not glamorous by any means, but I am still in love with running because I TRY!

  30. Most important is date and fitting into our very busy calendar. Then because of that same busy calendar – price – followed by friends and course.

  31. I love the accomplishment and support at the races! From someone cheering you on when you need it the most to watching someone else achieve a PR that feeling cannot be compared and can be felt at any race! Being fairly new to running races in the past twelve months I am excited about incorporating travel with my racing!

  32. The course is a major factor for me. Somehow I love courses with a lot of hills. Also, I’m a sucker for a cute t-shirt!

  33. Most of the time it’s the location that determines whether I run a half and then of course my runner friends reviews on races they’ve done as well

  34. i love the causes that the run is for! Also, it doesn’t hurt to have entourage of friends running with you! It gives you a lot of good memories.

  35. Having friends there! We are totally different paces (one can run a full in what it takes me to run a half) but it’s nice to have people to arrive and leave with. PLUS being the slow one the fas ties can get our bags from bag check and everything is ready and waiting for me at the end!

  36. I like to go by location, generally not to far from home, and size. I am partial to smaller races. While I have raced a lot of large races I like the vibe and atmosphere (and the shorter potty lines) at smaller races.

  37. Location is a huge factor me for, then my running bffs! I made a deal with my husband years ago though, that’d is only do races that benefitted a cause of some sort, so that turned into more a standard than a factor :p

  38. The most important thing to me, other than distance, for a race is SWAG! Yep… I love fun race logos, awesome medals and other unique items. Not afraid to admit that I’ll run for the BLING! I also love beautiful scenery!

  39. Most important to me beside the distance? I’m not ashamed to admit my love for the swag! Unusual or unique items will motivate me to sign up. Case in point: I’ve signed up for a half in August – I live in Central California and it’s a ridiculous notion to run a race in that much heat. But, they are giving away a pair of Spenco sandal with registration. Sucker.

  40. For me, it’s finding races that are not like ones I have done before. That could be a new distance, a new city, terrain, or a multitude of other options! I’ve never done an all women’s race, so that’s another option to add to my list!

  41. I love running and meeting up with friends. I’ve run the Annapolis and the Austin, TX Zooma run so far and loved both of them!

  42. The most important part, other than distance, is the type of course. I will not run out and backs- ughh, looking at the same thing again!- and really prefer scenic looped courses. And of course, good swag! 🙂

  43. I’ve run ZOOMA Annapolis and Texas because it brings my best girlfriends together for a healthy event in a positive, supportive setting where we nurture our bonds with each other and cultivate new ones with the awesome ladies we meet at the events. The runs are also a celebration of what you do in life, each day – and not just training and logging miles – to get to the start line of an adventure, because it isn’t just about the actual finish line, it is the proverbial journey in between.

  44. well now that I’ve been a runner for a while AND I’m a mom, it’s definitely about the location and friends! Most of my tasks must serve at least 2 purposes and vacationing, running, AND catching up with my BRF’s fits that bill!

  45. Right now, it’s making sure that the date of the race and logistics work for our family schedules. With four kids, it can get kind of crazy. So most of my races are in a day’s driving distance.

  46. There is no better way to see a new place than through running. I love destination races because it gives me the opportunity to see new cities. You get to see the nuances of a city while you are on your feet, running through it. Don’t get me wrong; I love a good cause too, but it comes down to a real estate agent’s age old mantra: location, location, location.

  47. Accessibility for my hubby/kids to cheer me on! That was the best part of Zooma Florida for me. They cheered me 5 times and saw me start and finish at a half marathon:)

  48. I love running with friends. Getting to the race together and hanging out afterwards. I have never done a race out of town but it sounds like a great excuse to get away.

  49. Whether childcare is available! As a single mom I can only pick races on a day that I can figure out who will watch my daughter.

  50. Location: needs to be close to home. Destination races may happen someday, I hope! I’ve also been blessed to run my last two halves with BRFs- so much better than racing solo!

  51. The place, the friends with me (either running or watching), the butterflies-in-my-stomach-I hope I can do this ,no I know I can do this- feeling!

  52. It’s definitely location! Whether it be in my hometown for convenience and to support the local community or a destination race to squeeze in a vacation.

  53. I enjoyed the Zooma run. The scenery was awesome. Weather sure was great. Would have loved to stay at the hotel. Hope I can run it next year. The 1/2 would be great to do next year. I ran the 10k. Everything was great massage, vendors, music and all. Though some kind of luncheon would have been grand!

  54. Atmosphere! I love a race with a lot to look at, cheering fans, on course entertainment, and other distractions to make to miles sail by!

  55. Hmmm…it’s tough picking the most important race element when I sign up for a race as I usually look at several items. I look at the location as I love a good location race….makes it feel like a mini-vacation. I also look at the timing of the race and where it fits in my overall training plan. I have three half marathons on this summer’s schedule as I am training for the NYC marathon…so I figured…I might as well do a long runs that not only have water stations but also medals at the end of them. 🙂 And if my girlfriends are doing a race, well, that is a very easy decision as running is a lot more fun with friends.

  56. I used to only worry about the race being convenient but now I have completed a few races that cater to empowering and encouraging women and I am in love. If a women only event is available, you can bet I will be there.

  57. Like many, I enjoy running races that have some kind of meaning….whether it be the Memorial Day 5 Miler to unofficially kick off summer, the Running 4 Answers 5K that benefits Alzheimer’s research, or our local 5K in memory of a neighborhood teen lost in an accident. All make me run for a reason.

  58. All of the above! 🙂 I will pretty much run any race, but I am particularly drawn to location (trying to run a race in all 50 states!), the cause that the race supports, and the race bling (I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my LR half marathon medal, which is pretty snazzy). Doing a ZOOMA race is on my bucket list and now I am just trying to figure out which one to do!

  59. The post race party!!! your food at the finish line is better than just getting a banana and of course….the wine.

  60. Location, location, location! My favorite race ever is the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half. It’s super scenic, and it doesn’t hurt that the finish line is only 2 miles from my home!

  61. My most important aspect is what I take home with me…I have not been bit by the “running is it’s own reward” bug just yet!!! So this Mother Runner needs some swag to tote home! Gloves, sleeves, hat, trinkets, toys, or a participation medal all help me feel my accomplishment!

  62. I’d say 9 times out of 10 I enter a race because of location. I like to do local races because they are easy to fit in to my life and I want to see them succeed so we keep having races in the area! I also like that they are usually smaller. I do have a few destination races on my bucket list that I’ll get to someday…but right now, with young children, traveling just to race isn’t often in the cards!

  63. The most important race element for me is the companionship on the course. I love running with other runners who are friendly, positive and encouraging. I ran my first ZOOMA race at Cape Cod and it was a beautiful race that had so many wonderful runners participating it made the experience perfect.

    Thanks for providing races around the country that provide so many positive aspects.

  64. My favorite part about races are the location. I don’t force myself to travel very much, but really love to. This is a way that gets me to new places and most often allows me to see the city in a way much less touristy. How many opportunities do we have to kiss the bricks at the Brickyard Nascar track, but in the Mini Indy?

  65. The location is my most important factor. I’m notorious for searching race calendars wherever we are travelling for vacation. Got to do Zooma Chicago when we were visiting family last year- good timing!

  66. I’ve recently started gravitating more and more towards races with a bunch of our Mom’s Run This Town group participating. So I think as I get older I like the social aspect of the before and after race.

  67. The course ultimately makes or breaks a good race for me, but I’ve certainly had wonderful race experiences on tough courses if it is well organized. I feel like it should be easy to park or get buses, find a portajohn before the event, and have well-marked pace groups or corrals. I like all races from small to large as long as it is well organized!
    Now that I have a number of races under my belt and I’m happy with my current PRs, I’m starting to do race-cations with my hubby! So location is also a big consideration!

  68. I am a back of the pack runner so I love larger events because of the support of the other back of the packers. It lonely back there in small races

  69. The most important part of a race for me, is that moment when my body is telling me enough is enough and my mind and heart won’t stop! I have run numerous races and everytime my heart and mind beats out my legs and I always take off when I think I can’t! It’s amazing feeling that makes u keep going back for more!! ❤️

  70. I am a Mother Runner because it challenges and pushes me beyond my comfort zone and shows me that no matter what you can still accomplish it.

  71. I love running in all kinds of conditions, it creates such a challenge for me. Zooma Napa Valley is my favorite, but I would like to add another Zooma location to my race list.

  72. I like for there to be some little thing about a race that is special to me. Perhaps it is the cause, like to benefit brain cancer because my younger brother lost his battle to it. Or maybe it’s location is one that floods me with childhood memories of my youth. Or a place on my bucket list, yet to be experienced. I choose a race out of personal passion, completely for me.

  73. I usually pick a course with a good atmosphere. Something beautiful or scenic to get me through all the miles. Next, a good girlfriend to celebrate with!

  74. Who’s running it with me and the race atmosphere are the most important factors for me! I like a race with good friends and a party atmosphere!

  75. I try to choose races based on a few conditions: who is running it, where it is, and what kind of challenge it will give me!

  76. Location/scenery are pretty important to me. I like taking in my surroundings while I race, it helps distract me from my nerves!

  77. Time of year!! I’m a sissy runner so if it’s too hot and humid it’s a no go for me or if it’s too cold. Also, with 3 young kids in school I have to plan around their schedules for training too! My go to race temps would be 55 and partly cloudy – who can I talk to about making that work for all my races?

  78. Time of year (we live in muggy and hot central Texas so winter marathons are best) and the mother runner question of “who will watch my kids while I race?” My husband is a runner, too, so we’ve found it often works to fly to the town where our parents live so the kids can play with grandparents while we run.

  79. I don’t run in many races. I usually sign up for a race when my regular running needs a little extra oomph. So, the most important element of a race for me is probably the date–when I need to train for a race, I search for one that fits with the training schedule.

  80. The most important item for choosing a race is location and if my BRsF and I can make a girls weekend out of it.

  81. I haven’t run a big race in a few years, but I am feeling the energy and excitement again! I think sharing the experience with someone is the most important for me. I LOVE that feeling of anticipation as you and your buddy make the goal, train for the distance, and then line up at the start. Goose bumps!

  82. For me, the most important part of a race is a tie between the people running it, and the overall “feel” of the race. I love positive, high energy races with spectators and other scenery, and I adore running them and spending time with other Mother Runners!

  83. I go for atmosphere when choosing a race but usually sign up only when I need a boost to get back out there!

  84. gosh, all of the ones you mentioned are impt but I guess location, location, location is the MOST impt to me.

  85. I aim for races that have interesting courses – whether it’s stunning scenery, monuments in DC, or colorful characters in Disney World, I like to find something that makes the miles interesting as they pass.

  86. I enjoy the energy, adrenaline rush, the racing atmosphere, the swag and the expos! Of course, the support from my family since I am a mom of 4 getting back into racing for the first time since before kids!

  87. Being a part of a race with the volunteers cheering you on and the huge sense of satisfaction of crossing the finish line are my favorite parts of a race!

  88. I love the COMRADERIE of races, especially among the not-so-speedy. Whether I’m running with a friend or with complete strangers, I love the supportive atmosphere!

  89. It’s a combo of cause and friends. All races I have done away from home were either charity or to run with friends and family!!

  90. I live in Iowa and train on country roads that mark off corn field after corn field. I’m a sucker for breathtaking scenery! My favorite race thus far was a trail race in a WI forest. I almost stopped running in the middle of it to savor the avenue of 100′ evergreens that I was running through.

  91. I’m all about the logistics! I love local races because home sweet home is around the corner. I recently drove 5 hours home after traveling for a half marathon and man my legs were sore – I would definitely rethink the travel aspect next time, but would love to travel to one of these awesome zooma locations!! I also take timing into consideration – fall half marathons are so much easier to train for, I was lucky to maintain the base that I did running outside in Michigan!

  92. It all comes down to the feeling of comraderie amongst the runners and all their supporters on the sidelines. That’s the magic.

  93. Best part of a race is signing up fo something challenging and then completing that challenge, follow by the pride of wearing your race premium for years to come.

  94. I’m all about that swag! Love a good unique shirt/tank/jacket that is wearable (think simple design) again and any other goodies that may come my way!

  95. Location is really important to me. If I’m going to travel for a race, it will be a fun locale! If I’m staying home, the closer to my bed, the better!

  96. Location is definitely high on my list when looking at registering for a race. I like destination races and have been known to actually research potential races while planning a vacation.

  97. It’s the reason for the race…sometimes it’s the 1st race of the season or the anniversary of the 1st race I’ve ever done, the longest distance, running with a friend to achieve a common goal, proving something to myself and most importantly to motivate myself to be better.

  98. I love running, and racing gives me a thrill like no other!! When choosing a race I look at the swag I’ll get in comparison to the entry fee. Some races give such sweet swag that I’ll run them even if the timing isn’t great just so I can get an epic goodie bag haha! I feel really shallow admitting this hahaha!

  99. There is nothing better than a race with friends. We love to find a destination where we can race and explore a new city. We also have our favorite local races that offer great bling.

  100. Running/ traveling with a friend, an interesting medal, a great tech shirt with an eye catching design and the location are definitely elements that I consider when choosing a race!

  101. For me, it’s all about the location and the course. I’ll check out the course elevations and layout before I sign up for a race.

  102. How flat the course is, how windy it is, and how far away it is (pretty much in that order!) but it sure would be nice to make a fun weekend out of it with my sister and go away for once!

  103. It’s a combination of price and location. I’m a stay-at-home mom of 5 so I love a race that is affordable and close enough that my husband and I can take a little time away and then get home to real life with the kids.

  104. I choose my goal races based on the time of the year and the weather. I don’t like it too warm so nice, cool, fall races with beautiful courses are my preference.

  105. The course is what draws me in. I look for courses that are either close to home, sound super fun to run, or have awesome scenery.

  106. All my races have been local–I have chosen them based on race swag, how fun they sound, or just based on it being the ideal date for my family’s crazy calendar.

  107. Long races I usually choose based on when I will have time to properly train for them. Shorter races I look for a fun theme and good food like El Chupacabra in San Antonio (night trail run, headlamp required, yummy bbq afterward).

  108. For me, it’s the destination. I enjoy exploring new, big cities – I really like a fun, urban environment for a race.

  109. I choose races based on the weather. I don’t do humidity! Give me crisp air with beautiful foliage along a water feature!

  110. And I love the spectators…..they volunteer and cheerleaders all along the course keep me coming back again and again.

  111. I run for my 4 daughters. I run to show them how to make a commitment and stuck with it, even when it is hard. I run to show them how to take care of themselves and be happy in their own skin, not what society and the media tell them to look like. I run to be healthy enough to chase them around and play whenever they want me to. I run to clear my mind and be a better me, a better wife, and a better mother. I run for anyone who can’t and I appreciate every step in the good runs and the baf.

  112. Definitely location and my brf! Location can be either close or far but having your brf when you are away from home makes all the difference! Both my brf and I are moving this summer. We will be over eight hours from each other and we have already started looking for races in the middle or where we will be living so we can play hostess and still get to run together!

  113. For me, a race has to work in my already packed schedule of soccer, lacrosse, speech therapy and everything my 3 boys are into. My husband often coaches, so I can’t rely on him taking everyone with him if I am racing. It’s all a balance!!

  114. Location and friends!! I can’t pick just one because those are basically my only two considerations. If I am lucky enough to have both it will be a great time!

  115. Free beer usually gets my attention when looking for new races 😉 A lot of the races I do year after year are either fundraisers for causes that are close to my heart or are family friendly (great post race stuff for the kids, fun runs, etc.) or are annual runs with some of my favorite running buddies.

  116. Location and general race atmosphere. I love races with a great course, amazing energy and crowd support 🙂

  117. Location, location, location! Many times I will choose a race located near family and friends i don’t see very often. What a great way to take in a new area and connect with those most important to you. I also like to share my race experience with others in my running club. Traveling with groups of running friends is energizing, and always good way to suppress some of the race day jitters!

  118. For me, it is a combo I have location and companionship. I love the Disney races and other destination races, but they are all better if there’s a good running friend or my sister-in-law along with me!

  119. Location because I don’t like to drive far for a race but also the cause because something that’s meaningful to me really motivates me.

  120. It’s a tie between location and swag. I’ve run two Zooma races and I have to say that they have the best swag of any other races I’ve run. My daughter and I ran Zooma Chicago 13.1 last summer and are still raving about our Feetures socks that were in our bags!

  121. For me, it is how it fits into my already packed schedule and also the benefit of doing it with my best running friend or encouraging co-workers to run a race or something.

  122. Location, the friends who are running it and the benefiting cause are all very important to me. Since race fees can be exorbitant (Hello, Disney and RnR!), I try to keep local and make sure that the causes are one I want to support.I have been eyeing the Zooma in Napa – could this be my year?

  123. Location is important, but I have signed up for races just based on the the post race beer! Most important is the friends I run with! I loved Zooma when it was in Colorado a few years ago, especially at the Broadmoor! That is the best place to stay!

  124. Location, a flat and fast course, and a cool raced medal are important to me. If I also have friends running in the same race, bonus!!

  125. Cost is an issue. I love half marathons, but I don’t love paying more than $100, especially since the extras of the more expensive races are often things that I don’t particularly care for.

  126. For me the most important element is how easy I think navigating the entire race experience will be. The smaller the better as you don’t have to stress over parking, getting to the start on time, being able to use a bathroom, etc. I love the small races!!

  127. I love local races; great opportunity to see areas of your city or state that you did not know about or had time to visit. Racing is a great opportunity to meet and see a lot of like minded people (active) at one time…..especially if you are use to runnung alone or with one other person!!! Would love to run in the Annapolis

  128. I am all about the bling. If I see a cool (or large) medal, I obsess about the race until I run it, or the race day passes.

  129. Location, cost (bang for my buck), and of course bling/swag all factor heavily in my decision to run a race or not. Location might be the biggest as that incorporates factors like travel expenses, unique areas to run in, etc.)

  130. Location is a HUGE determinant when choosing a race but let’s not forget AMBIANCE. A fun atmosphere makes for a perfect race!

  131. I love a great race! This means a nice tech shirt, scenic course and a race medal! Would love to do a race along the beach or mountains!

  132. I definitely need a scenic route – no city-running for this kid. Give me the ocean, trees, wildlife, just no skyscrapers and bright lights!

  133. Location, location, location. If I am going to travel to a race it needs to be a new location so I can see new sights while running.

  134. The most important part of a race to me is the location, price and swag! All this contributes to the atmosphere at the event. I like to have fun and if there are activities along the course and at the end to make the experience unique and enjoyable

  135. I love a race with a unique “theme” that plays well with the running community vibe. Some theme races are fun and non-competitive, but I love one like Zooma that speaks to women runners and encourages them to work hard and rewards them well!

  136. Location – of course the swag is important too, but location is a key for me. I live in rural part of Michigan so I usually have to travel to get to most of my races. Any time there is a race close to me and I do not have to travel a long distance to, I am signing up!

  137. The most important element for me is who I signed up with. Family, friends, other mother runners etc. We don’t have to run together, but I love knowing we are all on the course together!

  138. I love a run that is all about the fun of it. It may be because my first half was the Disney Princess and no one thought twice if you were wearing a tutu. I also loved that it was geared towards females. I ran a marathon relay in my home state and I felt like I was trying out for the Olympics with the lack of love. I’m a decent runner who just wants to have a good time and if I PR great but it’s not all I’m about.

  139. It is all about the ambiance. I hate going to races where I feel like I’m being sized up by the “competition.” As a Mom, those rare occasions when I do get away to a race are sacred. I do not want them to be plagued by negativity. I just want to have fun, be inspired, supported and sweat a little.

  140. The Cause. I like to support the smaller, local, non-profit races, because more of my money is going to something in need of my support. Girlfriends Half, in Vancouver WA, is one of my all-time favorite races. Women, supporting women, honoring Breast Cancer Warriors like my BRF Amy. The most emotional finish line I’ve ever crossed was that one, holding her hand, a year after she kicked cancer’s ass.

  141. The most important part of a race for me is the people in/at/supporting the race. I learn something from them all! Motivation, endurance, how to laugh, how to cry, how to be proud…I could go on and on.

  142. Logistics guide my race choices. I appreciate a race that is easy to get to, easy to park, flexible packet pickups, and no point to points. A well designed race that values the runner will always get my support!

  143. One that doesn’t conflict with all of my mommily duties! (followed by vibe, course, weather, a good expo, and cool swag….)

  144. My favorite part of the race is the locale. I love to choose races locally, because I revel in the familiarity of my beautiful PA. I also love to see new places and locales. I would love to do Wineglass in the Finger Lakes, and I would also love to do a beachside race! I have my eye on Zooma Annapolis 🙂

  145. Usually it is the location that pushes me towards a particular race. Sometimes I need something close and sometimes it is for a race-cation.

  146. Race location is important…so is running with friends. Friends are usually the tipping point to sign up for a particular race.

  147. Its all about the course. I want to run a race course that is stimulating and will keep me interested for miles.

  148. I love the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the race. The breathlessness after a final sprint, the wobbly legs, the sweaty body…all good! Doesn’t matter if I’m running a full or 5k, just the feeling that I’ve done something positive makes me feel good the rest of the day and then some! 🙂

  149. For me it’s atmosphere and swag, I am spoiled, my home town race (Detroit Marathon) has a great atmosphere and an ever changing view, including running in Canada for part of the race. Top that with some great swag and I can’t resist!

  150. I love the supported feeling at events. Youre lucky if you have a training partner to pound out the training miles with, but when you arrive to race day you have an entire community of running friends supporting you. Its an awesome experience to spend race miles meeting new people along the run. The crowds are supportive even when they dont know you and gotta love the signs along the way….makes the miles easier to cover

  151. My favorite part of a race is having something to train for. With the monotony of diaper changes, homework sheets, and cleaning the kitchen over and over, having a race goal makes it feel like there is one part of my life not just going in circles around and around but actually moving somewhere and progressing. Standing on the start line of a race lets me have that feeling of accomplishment. In the midst of my day to day stuff somehow I managed to get ready to be here, right now. Let’s crank up some music and go for a run. And let’s be real, the chocolate milk at the end isn’t so bad either!

  152. Definitely if there are friends running it! I’ve done races for training on my own, but so much more fun when you’ve got someone there to cheer for 🙂

  153. Size – I like a small or medium race, where I don’t have to wait in lines, very crowded corrals, and they usually have a smaller fee.

  154. For me it’s the course and the size of the field. I can’t stand the giant races, loops drive me loopy, and I’ll take getting out of the city any day.

  155. My girlfriends and I always put our heads (and internet searches!) together to come up with a race. The biggest determining factor: something off the beaten path. Which usually means smaller race field, interesting swag, unusual locations, crazy perks. So far it has taken us to a German-themed park race in the center of Philly (who knew?!) , a Poconos marathon, a very secluded half marathon in Vermont where we stayed in a yurt and had no cell coverage, and a fall race in Charlottesville, VA wine country. Next up: a half marathon in St. MIchaels, MD!

  156. The location is everything! Race based trips justify my wanderlust. However, with funds tight this year, I may have to look at Zooma Colorado, and free entry would help 🙂

  157. The key for me is the people I’m running with. I’m such a social runner, I just love the chance to have a couple hours with my BRFs checking out the scenery, the other runners, the funny t-shirts and signs and the post-race celebration. Location and everything else is just a bonus.

  158. I LOVE races! I get very emotional during races because I am surrounded by runners and by people on the sidelines who are supporting the community that means so much to me. It is this comradery that makes races so wonderful and motivating for me.

  159. As a person who would do anything to get out of phys-ed I do not run just to be a runner. I run for the bling!! Sad as it is when I plan my race schedule it is not centered on the distance, where the race is but what that bling at the end of the race is. Besides a little bling goes a long way after voluntarily choosing to run after you swore you’d never do it again after high school.

  160. I love the medal! The feeling of accomplishment when that medal is handed to or placed on my neck is just wonderful.

  161. I have four young kids so, unfortunately at the moment, the most important aspects of a race are location and my husband’s work schedule. I’m still a couple of years away from having all the kids in school but I’m looking forward to a marathon when I’ve got a bit more time to train!

  162. It is so hard to narrow down the one thing that will make me register for one race over another, but a decent course certainly helps. Beautiful scenery, nothing too hilly and plenty of porta potties, water and encouragement along the way make for a great course. I hate running in heat and humidity, so I’m not likely to run a half-marathon in July or August at ANY location.. Finally, I hate to say it, but the bling really DOES matter. There was a local event last fall that would have fit perfectly into my schedule and raised money for a good cause, but there were no medals. I’m not spending the money on a race fee and getting up early in the morning to run 13.1 miles on someone else’s terms if I’m not going to have something to hang on my wall when I’m done.

  163. I use races as a way to stay on-track with my training, but I also love the race shirts! It doesn’t matter if I love the design or not. After the race is over, I love sliding into the brand new shirt knowing I gave the race my best. When I get up in the morning and maybe don’t feel like running, putting on a race shirt is a reminder that I’ve done it before and I can do it again.

  164. The most important part of the race for me is the finish line. I’ve run races where the pulled the finish line down before everyone was done and I’ve run races where they waited for every last participant. You have to have a good finish to congratulate all of the hard work your runners put into your race.

  165. The most important part of the race for me and my best running friend is training that a race requires. We both have 3 small and young children and our early morning runs, and our long runs on Sundays are incredibly therapeutic as we manage our children, husbands and our homes. We laugh together, cry together and keep on running. We are going to run Zooma Cape Cod for the second time this fall and it will be our first race together after my partners 3rd child and I can’t wait for the training to begin so we can tell our husbands and families—sorry, time to train! The race is the culmination of 12 weeks of therapeutic runs with my bestie!

  166. I’d like to say the other important thing is the course. I live in a big city but don’t like running through it, so I look for courses that are outside the city. But really, the most important thing is scheduling–is the race on a day when I can leave my children with my husband? If not, is there some arrangement I can make for them? That unfortunately tends to determine what I can and can’t do.

  167. I am a mother/runner/teacher and running is such a release for me! I run with one of my best friends, who happens to be our school nurse! She and I have such a great time when we run! Being able to run races with her, even though we run at different race paces, means the most to me when it comes to registering for a race. Also, having a race where I see my baby at the finish line is always a plus, so running races near home is always important to me! I want her to see her mother working to stay fit and healthy, even at the young age of (almost) 1! Bling is always an awesome plus 😉 My friend and I have been known to enter races just for the medals! My friend will be 40 soon and this would be a great way to kick off entering her new age bracket!! Thanks for the awesome giveaway opportunity!

  168. I’m also a mother of 3, so location and price are always a factor. I like when it is for a good cause, but I’m also a sucker for the swag!

  169. Location for me – it’s gotta be somewhere I wouldn’t just run on my own. And if it’s one I can convince a friend to run with me it’s even better!

  170. Hmmmm. I like to run a race with a purpose or cause attached. That way I don’t feel as much mom guilt for spending our families hard earned money. But the location can be equally important. So far I’ve done only local races, due to time and financial restraints. But it’s also nice to sleep in your own bed and have a built in cheering section with some familiar faces. Okay, you’ve got me figured out; I just like to run/race. Ha ha ha

  171. I like races that make me feel like I am part of the running community. Support staff, spectators, and all those little extras that make running fun, are what I look for! And a shiny medal! 😉

  172. The best races, in my opinion, have beautiful scenery and tons of crowd support. The post-race celebration is key also…plenty of food and music in a great location!

  173. What an awesome prize! I am definitely a sucker for a good premium. It’s also very exciting to run races with my friends– I have a hard time saying no! This year I am looking for a special challenge to celebrate my 40th birthday and am thrilled to be running the 40th Marine Corps Marathon. Celebrating life is the best reason to sign up!

  174. I want a race that has a fun atmosphere. I also like running and supporting local races and will run ANY 5K that I can do with my children.

  175. The thing that makes a race for me is definitely the company I am running it with. It could be the ugliest place you’ve ever seen or the hardest race you’ve ever run, but that doesn’t matter if you have someone you love encouraging you and running with you! Running with a friend or spouse or someone you love makes any race amazing!!!

  176. The element that makes it all worth while for me are the strong runners who are cheering on a run/walker like myself…it is a crazy feeling because they have already finished (or are fininshing) and are showing “love, support, and encouragement” throughout for those of us trying our hearts out…

  177. I like races that I know will have crowd support, good scenery, and knowing I have other friends running. The swag doesn’t hurt either. 🙂

  178. It’s the location, and the theme – and if either of those elements yields a super cool medal, all the better!

  179. I pick my races mostly out of convenience and time of year. Summer…I stay close to home. Winter…I use it as an excuse to escape the Chicago cold. And then of course there is always Boston in April! Going to run my 7th in 2.5 weeks (ughhh and yea!)

  180. Being with family encourages me to continue running. And although I tend to repeat races (have participated in every Zooma Texas run for the past 8 years) I also look forward to running in new places. We have gone to Zooma Annapolis a few times and were heading to Wisconsin, when it was moved to Chicago – close but not WI. Already registered for 2016 Texas so if I win a bib – will enjoy a new locale for running.

  181. I would say location and atmosphere – being a Disney fan I shoot for at least one RunDisney event per year (California side). For non-Disney races it depends on the cause, friends and distance.

  182. It’s a toss up between location and atmosphere! I love rolling out of bed for local races, but it’s hard to beat the excitement of the bigger races that require a 40+ minute drive.

  183. Race atmosphere – I love smaller, less-competitive races, typically less than 2,000 participants. Zooma is awesome, and one of my favorites for that reason that the vibe is just so supportive and encouraging. Scenic courses are a plus!

  184. The vibe is the most important me! All the excitement leading up to the start…the race itself and the END…the thrill of it all is what is important and what makes it for me!

  185. I usually am drawn to the location. I have done some races in cool places and I enjoy seeing new sights on foot. I have also enjoyed the races where I have gotten the opportunity to help someone meet their first race milestone. I have ran first marathons with my partner, sister and my dad. Each run was an amazing experience with a person I love.

  186. I review other runners past experiences (google and ask around). Especially if I am traveling to the event 🙂

  187. I enjoy running because of the time it gives me to breathe, center, and commune with nature, so my race-bait is definitely the scenery! I can’t run of boring!

  188. I choose mostly based on location but because I living in the MD suburbs of DC and am driving distance to many races, I can be little picky and choose somewhat based on the vibe. I love women’s-focused races and have done several Iron Girl races, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon and the Disney Princess Half. Zooma Napa Valley is on my list for a girls’ getaway!

  189. Location is pretty important, but my current perspective is skewed by the fact that I’m about to move 3,000 miles away from my BRF’s and all our racing and training together. Focusing on this moment, just right now, the current mile I’m in, I’d have to say friends running it with me is the most important thing.

  190. It’s a real mix for me including location, cause, shirt, general race experience
    and post run refreshments. I have races I try to do every year and I like to try new ones.

  191. I look at the whole “experiece” package – do I have friends running it, what is the course like, what is the swag (tiffany necklace, anyone?), how far away is it? I try to assess the level of fun/accomplishment I will feel at the end!

  192. The first races I ever ran were Race for the Cure 5Ks. I didn’t really consider myself a runner, but I greatly enjoyed the satisfaction of raising money for a cause that affects so many women. Each year I would challenge myself to raise more money than the previous year. After several years of running in the race, I began to feel like a runner, and started signing up for local 10Ks, then later a half. Since I have always participated in races in my hometown, this year’s New Year’s resolution was to run in a new race in a different location…I’m signed up for a half at the end of May!

  193. Right now I choose races based on location. KC is two hours away so I try and hit most of the half marathons there. Our little local town just put on its first annual half marathon and it was super fun to walk to the start line (and use your own toilet). I would love to go to races in Nashville because I am originally from TN and would love to run with my running coach and see my family whom are all in TN still!

  194. Location. Right now I do the races that are closest to home. I hope to do races around vacation spots eventually. Once the kid is a little older.

  195. I would say it’s a tie between location and the medal. Not being much of an athelete growing up, the medals make me feel like I accomplished something, and location with a crowd can really distract you from the distance 🙂

  196. Location, location, location! With three kids under ten, there is limited time and money budgeted for exotic race locales. Someday, I would love to plan vacations around races, travel with runner pals or my runner husband to participate in beautiful races. For my 50th birthday (some eight years away) I want to celebrate with a trip to the south of France and “race” the Medoc..without the kids in tow!

  197. For me, the course itself and the bling/swag are most important. I don’t want to run a crappy course and if I’m running a race I always look to make sure the shirt and medal are pretty. I won’t run a race if it has a really ugly shirt or medal. I’ve never tried a Zooma race but would love to check them out.

  198. As I continue to explore various ‘race’ experiences, I am drawn to several things: the start-line spacing, the cause and the post-race shirt. To help with the start jitters, I like to have a little space around my body at the start line. When we are packed in like sardines, it makes me a little anxious. On the longer races, I like to run for a cause because you see and hear so many inspiring stories in connection. An example that comes to mind was a race geared toward breast cancer research. When I was really feeling fatigued, seeing the shirts supporting the memory of a ‘Mom’ or a ‘friend’ reminded me to keep going! And, as always, the icing on the cake is the race shirt. I ‘love’ adding fun shirts to my weekend wear. My favorite is a female-style cut in those soft organic fabrics: ooo-la-la!

  199. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact element of a race for me. Going back to my first ever half marathon is always a great race…so much so that I decided it’s the perfect race to have big goals achieved. It’s now the race I completed my first half, first full marathon and some PR’s. I’d have to say that most often it’s a special feeling from a previous race that is so important. I ran Zooma Cape Cod while on vacation a few years ago and after seeing it was coming to Colorado, I’ve become the new recruiter to make sure all the women runner I know try out this great race series. I’m also a sucker for the bling…if a race doesn’t have a medal, I’ll likely not sign up for it. There’s something about seeing my accomplishments hanging in the wall!

  200. A beautiful location. If I can see and smell forests or a body of water, I’m a happy lady. Thanks for the opportunity.

  201. Definitely location and atmosphere. I just did the Disney marathon in Jan and loved the scenery, the crowd and the participants. I just got into the Marine Corp Marathon so I’m excited to run through our nation’s capital in the fall.

  202. Every race holds something different for me. I love swag because it acts as a reminder long past the race, and all women races are SO fun and supportive. BUT I am doing my first “destination race” this summer and am REALLY looking forward to a weekend away with a great friend and NO kids!

  203. For me it’s the people and atmosphere. I love fun races, and love women’s races most! Oh and the cool swag helps. 🙂

  204. The people! Definitely the people. I ran my first race when my sister convinced me to join her and most, if not all subsequent races are based on who I get to hang out with on race day.

  205. In order: Location, Race Fee and level of fun! Love to race in local DC races but some of the fees are getting pretty steep. However, if the race is fun then I’ll sign up regardless of the fee. Oh and I would really love to run in Cape Cod. It’s on my bucket list!

  206. I love women only races – the atmosphere, the camaraderie, the support. My favorites races have always been women only, and I’ve been eyeing the Zooma races for a long time as a great racecation option!

  207. The most important element to me is location. Either it needs to be by my house or it needs to be at a great vacation destination so that I can have my family with me either way.

  208. I like the location. I have trouble getting time off on the day of the race and I love having a daughter or two to run with me. This weekend my daughter and 3 month old granddaughter just happened to come to town to race with me in her first 5K since giving birth! It was memorable.

  209. A fun party atmosphere! My favorite races are always the fun ones, maybe costumes even, versus the serious, cut throat competition vibe some races have. That’s what I’ve just learned about myself – PR’s are nice, but I really just want to have fun!

  210. Location, location, location! I feel like I’ve exhausted all my local race options and am bored. I want fun race, at a fun location. If I’m doing all this training, I want the actual race to be, not the cherry on top, but its own Sundae.

  211. The location is most important to me. I love traveling to races and running in new locations that I otherwise would not see. Running is the best way to get a feel for a place!

  212. Location, location,location! I love running as a way to see places. I have run both big city races (New York and San Francisco) and smaller amazing races (Garden of the Gods and Colorado National Monument). Going somewhere motivates me on my training runs. A friend told me the training is the meal, and the race is the dessert. I fully believe that, and always try to “celebrate” the race and not just the accomplishment of finishing.

  213. The ability to have childcare that weekend! The husband’s work schedule means he’s not a reliable race day caregiver, so I need the weekend to work for an extended family member (all of whom live a day’s drive away) or a friend who doesn’t mind a really early morning (and that only works for local races).

  214. A location where my family can cheer and see mom accomplish a goal she trained hard to achieve. I think that is one of the best examples I can set for my children. Dedication and perseverance!

  215. I love the feeling of accomplishment. I don’t see myself as an athletic person so to finish a race at any distance is huge for me!!

  216. The most important element of a race for me is my support system. I know I do better (run faster, have a bigger smile on my face, enjoy myself more) when I have someone there to support me, cheer me on, take pictures, or push me along if I need it!

  217. I would say location is number 1! Followed by the race “vibe”- Zooma seems to have both. I ran Zooma Cape Cod a few years ago and it was a blast- hoping to do it again in September.

  218. I love the time I get to spend catching up with friends at races! Racing is so much about the social aspect and much less the competitive aspect, for me!

  219. I’ve only run 2 half-marathons so far. Both times I’ve looked a the race experience as a whole, location, number of entrants, swag and overall experience. They were both great races!

  220. First the race must be for a good cause, 2nd is enjoying it with a running buddy, and 3rd is definitely location if it’s longer then a 5K, I want some views 🙂

  221. First is location. Due to family and work I have to stay close to home, but every now and then I treat myself to a race vacay and love it! Second, yes, I’ll admit, the bling. I won’t run a certain race every year that is local to me just because the medal is horrible!

  222. I am really drawn to run races by the ocean. I have had my eye on Zooma Cape Cod and turn 40 in September so I would love to win this contest and take my BRF to Falmouth, MA for a girls running weekend to celebrate. Now that I rocking my AMR No Limits training for May – I know I could rock the Zooma half too.

  223. The key in choosing races for me starts with friends to run with! Why would I want to go alone?! Second is location, Third is timing. That is does it fit with my crazy work schedule and my even crazier kid schedule!! Would LOVE to run a Zooma race!!!!

  224. I prefer more low key, local races that are associated with a local running club that helps benefit a cause such as Soles for Souls, a family in need, etc. If I sign-up for larger races, then I’m running with friends and make a social event out of it since I rarely get ‘out’ as a Mother of two young boys who works FT. My husband and I sign up for races, get a sitter, and have ‘date runs’ followed by brunch and some much needed alone time. Those are the best!!!

  225. I choose a race based on the location and if my friends can come. A super sweet medal doesn’t hurt either 🙂

  226. I love love love the right location. Whether it’s running by the beach for a race or going to see family or running by mickey. I love the right location. 2nd would have to be cool swag !

  227. I usually pick races based on location, running through FUN cities usually keeps me going. The races I’ve done in Philly, Chicago, and Madison are my favorites.

  228. Most important element for me is a well organized race. Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t find out it isn’t until you’ve run it! I’ve got to hand it to race directors and volunteers – they make or break a race. Of course scenery is a big plus, the cause the race supports and the swag are all nice too.

  229. When I choose I race I like to choose based on the crowd and feel of the race. Races for me are fun ways to spend my time so I like one with a good amount of participants and good crowd support!

  230. Location and reputation! I love beautiful scenery and/or crowd support! And if it’s local, I run it just because it’s cheap and available! 🙂

  231. When I’m browsing around for races, I’m attracted to the ones that feature scenic courses. But when I’m in the middle of a race and things start to hurt, the beautiful scenery doesn’t do much to alleviate the discomfort. So a race with good logistics (well organized, easy parking, etc.) would probably be the most important factor.

  232. The essence of a good race is seeing anyone and everyone, all ages, all abilities, all shapes and all sizes, come together for a moment in time to share a common experience. Races give everyone strength, courage to push on, love for the people they don’t even know, and a strong sense of accomplishment. These shared feelings are what make a great race for me. Every race is unique and holds a special place in my heart. From the race where I got 2nd in my age group because there were only 2 racers in my age group, to the pride I felt to be among thousands. Racing let’s me know I’m part of something. The race allows that for me and everyone else.

  233. I think where it is is one of my bigesst decision makers, especially for a long distance race – I like to go someplace that means something to me.

  234. As crazy as this sounds, besides the bling, the training is what makes me sign up for races! I am a type A gal and I need specific goals and plans. Race training gives this structure to my often unstructured life!

  235. I like to do races in my timezone. Jet lag is not my friend. Sarah and Dimity must have some tips on dealing with this. If you haven’t written one already, maybe a column or article about how to deal with jet lag could be in the future?

  236. Lots of factors, but probably the location/scenery. I shake up my season with a trail race (nature!), a city race (skylines!), something suburban (kids with “hi-5 me” signs!), and something weird– last year was a run in a horse track. Keeps it interesting.

  237. A nice location is always good but for me the race’s vibe brings me back. We all know every race has wonderful supportive people working, volunteering and/or running it. There are particular races that the vibe is awesome! I run those races over and over, no matter what.

  238. I love races that support a good cause, but just as important to me is the celebration of all the hard work my BRFs and I put in to get us to the finish line! They are some of my best friends, and even for “easy” distances, there’s always a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into training. A great race makes all those 4:30am alarms worth it!

  239. The most important element of a race for me? That’s a tough one for it isn’t just one thing. It’s many. It’s the location, the medal, the theming of the race, and who I’m running with. Some races I like doing alone for it’s my time to reflect on my life and how to become a better person, yet other times I like to have someone with me to celebrate this gift that we were given to celebrate life, friendship and running! I’ve met some great friends and seen some wonderful places thanks to running and can’t wait to see what the rest of life holds for me!

  240. I think the timing and location are the most important. I generally race on a budget so races that are close to home or near family/friends (free lodging!) are good for me. And I usually have multiple goal races working at the same time – I may have a marathon planned in 6 months, and want to do a triathlon in the 3-4 month window, so I’ll narrow down my choices by timing and location.

  241. My friend and I often look for smaller races that benefit local charities AND a great little after party, whether it’s at a bar or an expo or family fair.

  242. Having my BRF’a stick with me through training is the most important aspect of my race. Without them I would not even make it to the start line!!

  243. I love discovering new places by running. I try to find races with courses I have never been to before. I feel it is a great way to get a feel for the area and its locals.

  244. I love almost everything about races, and I choose them based on the swag, the integrity of the organization running them and how not crowded the course may be.

  245. The most important element of the race for me is who is running by my side. I draw energy from having a friend or my husband running by my side. The course may be hard but having someone who can share your experience is far more important. Isn’t this what life is all about – the memories you create and sharing them with others.

  246. For me the most important part of the race is starting it. It is making the choice to register for the race and make time for me, away from my family. It is showing my kids how much fun running can be and how proud I am with every race I finish.

  247. The most important element of a race for me is the course, is it mountainous (ok hilly) over bridges (I hate bridges), urban, scenic, etc…

  248. For me the most important thing is what happens after the race. If it has a good after party, or takes place near a fun area where I can celebrate my accomplishment afterwards, then I’m all for it. My favorite part of any race is what I get to look forward to when Ive crossed the finish line!

  249. The most important thing for me is the vibe and that is why I love ZOOMA races. By far these events have been a better experience than the Women’s Running Series.

  250. The most important thing to me is the friendships that support you and will always be there for you. I have made so many wonderful friends because of running and always amazed about how supportive the running community is for each other.

  251. location is pretty key for me – spending the night in Center City ahead of the Philly Half was a big deal for me. I am always trying to minimize the impact of my running on the rest of the crew. But for Zooma (like for the AMR Retreat) I’d make an exception.

  252. The number one thing I have to have at a race is my sister. No running without her! And I have to admit, I’ve always been intent on finding the flatest courses, so maybe it’s time to mix it up 🙂

  253. location is number one, but I have traveled overnite for one race so far.
    the course is a big cinsideration too. weather is another factor but not the most important

  254. i like the competition with myself and goal setting that a race does for me.
    what i really like, is planning and attending the race with my GFs. we all run at different speeds and are great support.
    My BGFR visited me and we did the Zooma in Annapolis a couple of years ago. It was a beautiful course, just a little challenging and a great party afterwards.

  255. I go by swag and cost. If I’m paying a good hunk of money to run I like to come away with a little souviner. I’m not going to sign up for a $40 local 5k where you don’t get anything and no money is donated. I’ve ran a gorgeous half marathon for only $35 and got a medal and long sleeved tshirt.

  256. Comradarie determines whether I really enjoy a race or not. I just ran the Atlanta Women’s 5K and it was amazing! Most challenging course I have run, but we were all in it together! It was so awesome to see so many runners cheering each other on! It made all the difference!

  257. My sister is definitely something I need at all of my races, preferably in person by my side but via text at the least! And we have made the goal to get a 10k or higher in every state and have a long way to go so this giveaway is perfect!

  258. The main factor for me is the course. I’m not a fan of courses that make you repeat a loop–I prefer point-to-point routes, and the prettier the better.

  259. Location and cost are always factors for me. While I’d love to run races in beautiful, far-from-me places, it isn’t always in the budget to do so. Course support and race swag get my attention too.

  260. All of those reasons are important to factor in when choosing a race. If I had to rank them, then I would put party and swag as big motivators for me. But honestly, I try for some variety in my race calendar both in distance and location.

  261. It’s a combination of factors: location, course, and who’s running with me. I’ve run a fair amount of races now so I appreciate a well-produced race as well and swag is bonus. Yes, tees and glasses are nice but I’ve really appreciated a coupon to the local running store too.

  262. The most important race element for me is a great, scenic course and great energy. And also the amazing feel of crossing the finish line, that lingers all day! Almost as good as the moment my children were born, though nothing will ever be quite as amazing as seeing those little guys for the first time.

  263. Really, I choose my races by location. Specifically– which races are close to me. I’d love to do a destination race… maybe when my kids are in college and I’m an old lady. Actually, my BRF and I have decided that we’re going to tour the country doing all kinds of races when we have time– like when we’re 90, and we’ll win our age group every time– because we’ll the the only ones still running!

  264. My most important race elements are location and my BRF! While I CAN race in a less than ideal location and I CAN race without my BRF, races are far more fun in a fun location with my “sole” sister by my side. 🙂

  265. Run or walk, well for almost every race I run AND walk; I do interval running. At 45 yrs old, I feel as though interval running keeps me consistent throughout the entire distance and is kinder to my body (it’s true that everything changes the minute you turn 40). I do, however, go into a full all out sprint at the end.

  266. I choose races based on the course scenery. I enjoy going to new places and getting to experience the area through running.

  267. The goal. I like having a set training plan for a race. It keeps me motivated & gives me structure. I’ve never done a destination race… It is definitely on my bucket list.

  268. THE MEDALS! I was not a runner and in fact was not a fan a running. Then stumbled upon the Disney Half Princess medal. I told my husband I wanted one and he said, “Well, you better start running.” That was three years ago and I have been running ever since.

  269. I am all about location and who can run with me. In June I am meeting up with 7 friends to run the Seattle Rock ‘N Roll! The Zooma series looks awesome and I am adding the Colo Springs one to my Fall schedule!

  270. For me it’s all about the bling. Of all of the races that I have done, none of them had a medal at the end! The Prove It 10K medal was the first one I had ever received and I treasure it!

  271. For me it’s the location and theme. This Saturday I’ll be doing the Hot Chocolate run in Philly. Fun post race goodies, cool swag and scenic route along boat house row. The following Sunday I’m running the Cherry Blossom in DC. I’ve heard the scenery is gorgeous with the trees in bloom and all the historic landmarks in our nation’s capital.

  272. For me it’s organization. A well-labeled course, a race that starts on-time, packet pick-up that moves steadily, and an easy to navigate website that includes info for both racers and spectators are all things I value in a race.

  273. I’m a Florida runner so the elevation profile is important to me. A race with huge inclines is out as I don’t have the terrain here to truly get the hilly training miles in, nor do I have access to a treadmill. I always say I am in fabulous shape for a Floridian, but when I run in a hilly city or higher elevation, boy oh boy can I feel it!

  274. It is difficult to say what attracts me to a particular race. It could be location or the cause. Also, a free beer at the end doesn’t hurt. But I do love races with women as the focus. My big goal for the year is The Perfect 10 that is held in NJ, a women only race.

  275. Tough question- usually it is the whole package that makes it a great race: Location, Distance, Who I get to run with, the cause the race is supporting etc. Sometimes I like to run new courses/races where as I also enjoy trying the same race for the 2nd or 3rd time to see if I can better my time. So if I had to choose just one thing I think it would have to be the weather on race day. This one element seems to affect my mood the most and get me excited for the race or dread the whole distance. So far I have been blessed with some great weather days and races! I would love to do this race with my sister- I don’t know if she has ever run a race before!!

  276. My race choices are based on location. I ran 33 half marathons on cape cod for my 50th birthday year and I hope to make zooms cape cod the next.

  277. Location, location, location! I’m blessed to have a great marathon/half in my hometown, and now I like to branch out ☺

  278. For me it’s just the fact that it’s a formalized event – it’s my beacon in the storm of training – I know it’s out there on the horizon and if I stay focused and diligent I will make it there 😉

  279. For me, Its not just one thing. It’s the distance I’m interested in at the time, the friends who may want to enjoy the experience with me,the ease of getting in and out, the location, and the swag. I’ve always been a fan of the zooma race series. They seem to have the formula down perfectly!

  280. The important aspect of a race to me is finishing it no matter how fast or slow and proving to myself and my children that we can do anything we put our minds to, no matter how difficult the struggle.

  281. training and child care are the most important element of a race to me! Finding time to run is soley dependent upon having help to watch my little guys! So lucky to have a supportive husband who kicks me out for training runs!!

  282. I look for races with a more intimate feel that are well-organized, with exceptions thrown in if it adds variety in some new way.

  283. Location Location Location… has to be just a road trip away – granted I will road trip up to 15 or so hours in one day! 🙂

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