Off To The…Events!


Years ago, there were running races. They were relatively small in terms of the overall field size and finishing as fast as possible was each racer’s main priority. Nowadays, there are running events. Many of them boast thousands of participants and a selfie station or two, but not a lot in terms of actual competition. Predictably, average finishing times have slowed.

“Average times are slowing because more and more races are emphasizing their social aspects,” super stats nerd Ken Young told The Washington Post. “They seek to attract recreational runners and walkers. Look at the race websites. You can find all sorts of social media links, party details and merchandise for sale, but it’s hard to find the race results.”

On that last note, a quick pet peeve/PSA for event directors reading this: for the love of all things that are sacred, please make the following pieces of information easy to find on your website: the date of the event, the location of the event, and the results. Whether runners are signing up to push for a personal best or simply to enjoy the experience, I can assure you that everyone wants to know when the thing is taking place and most people are at least mildly curious how long it took them to finish.

A version of this post first appeared in the morning shakeout, my weekly email newsletter covering running, writing, media and other topics that interest me. If you’d like for it to land in your inbox first thing on Tuesday mornings, subscribe here.

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