For many of us, running means a jog around our local park, a quick walk along the beach, or few trips on the treadmill. But for many hobbyists and fundraising supporters, it’s more than that. It’s running 26.2 miles or more in a marathon. Just like our differing definition of running, each marathon experience is different because of its size. Here is why:
If you have decided this is the year you will run your first marathon, there are over 1200 marathon races held in the U.S. alone. The size of the race whether large or small offers many options to a beginning marathoner.
When you sign up to run in a large race, be prepared to run alongside thousands of runners and be aware of the difficulties of getting to the race on time when roads are closed. For the smaller, local affair races, you will probably be able to identify a lot of friendly faces in the crowd and be less flustered by travel delays.
Many participants in small hometown and small-business-sponsored races, get to the event without hassle, know each other and even converse along the way. Such occurrences in larger races, however, are more unlikely with many runners stressing about getting to the venue and moving to the pace of their playlist or the cheers of the supporters.
Large events are truly the best opportunity for sightseeing. When you think big-time races, think running in the middle of Times Square on 7th Avenue!, running over Tower bridge in London, or through the Brandenburg gate in Berlin. It is one of the few occasions where major cities of the world are shut down for a few hours.
Even if you are just a spectator, the exposure is exhilarating. The sights of large marathons are quite similar to block parties and a New Orleans parade.
The bountiful streams of peacock colours on runners in-between throngs of gleeful spectators in large marathons, makes for an amazing aerial view. The atmosphere on the ground is heavy with excitement and anticipation, which poses as a distraction to some runners.
Although, the anticipation and excitement of a small marathon are showcased at the finish line. There is usually less noisy distractions and more moments for quiet, appreciation of the beauty of the landscape along the course.
The venues and charity events financed through large marathon races usually cause the tickets fees to be quite pricey. As such, smaller marathon events tend to be much more budget friendly. Furthermore, the times of finishes at smaller races receive more recognition. This is possible because fewer marathon champions are competing and the less participants mean less finishing times for comparison.
One big drawback and deciding factor, for some marathoners, is the cost. However, running in a small and big marathon, at least once, is a great experience. If you are a first-timer, either one could suit you based on your personality and ability to zone out distractions. Just keep pros and cons in mind, when you are planning your marathon calendar.