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Lasy year, I moved from the city to a rural town and from a state with a longer summer to a state with seasons. I have less races to choose from and don't prefer running in the cold or traveling a lot to do a fun run. I hope to do more in the future:)

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Travel cost is the big one for me. And time. I just had to drop out of the MDI Half Marathon for both reasons. Post-Covid reality I guess - hopefully not permanent.

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Sep 25, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

I think I'm signing up for fewer events and waiting until the last minute because I took financially hits due to races cancelled during the pandemic. That, combined with injury has me gun shy for over-committing. Normally, by October I would have participated in 10-12 events for the year. My current count is 3. 😢

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Hi! I used to race more before the pandemic, but that coupled with an injury has put a pause on racing. I have leaned more towards local small races the past couple years. I am getting back to running for the fun of it. Not yet ready to train for a big race.

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I would love to run Boston even though I know I'd never qualify. So I find a destination marathon every year to run. Last year was Atlanta. In 2023 I want to run Nashville. Expense is an issue. Hotels on that weekend in the city are $400-600 a night. With driving/flying and entry fees that's $1,000 for a weekend.

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I’m just happy that the racing universe is getting back to normal. I took advantage of the covid shutdowns to get some surgical repairs done and am now chomping at the bit to get my old rhythm back. My criteria for selecting runs remains the same - location, type of race, charity involved, the associated event if applicable, and where it fits in my program. Reasonable cost isn’t a big deal (disney is unreasonable), and a $20 hike won’t be life-changing. It’s worth it to me.

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That's good to hear, and I feel the same way. My life situation is that I don't do many races at all now; I have young kids, and so our weekends are almost always occupied with family events, things, etc. But they won't be little forever (my youngest is almost 9), and hopefully they'll join me in a race soon.

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In my younger days, I'm 72; it seemed that there weren't that many local races where I lived. I ran track in high school and continued afterward. I still mark it on my calendar when the majors are run so I can watch them. Covid made the world stop... I still ran, but there were no races. Over the years, I've run with various groups, but they all seemed to dissolve over time. I agree with most of you; the costs have skyrocketed. A 5K that used to have a $25 entry fee is now $45, which doesn't include the higher cost of gas to get there. I look at the expense of running Disney and cringe, especially if you want to do more than one event. In an uncertain economy, the choice between a running a highly publicized race and putting food on the table or filling up your gas tank, most people, it seems, are skipping the races. That being said, I will do my long run early Saturday morning, sit with my snacks, watch with interest the running of the Berlin Marathon Sunday morning, and dream about running one of the majors before I die...

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

I can't obviously speak for anyone else but myself. I used to do at least one race a month. Never to win (well - as I got older, maybe in my age group) - but just to participate - to prove that I was a "runner". I've done sooo many races over the years that I'm a bit burned out on the idea unless there's a compelling reason to do it. That being said, I'm currently running 5 days a week around my neighborhood with a very grateful dog by my side - or my other side... That seems to satisfy both my need to run and at the same time give both my dog and I a chance to get outside and have an hour or so as just "us time". I really don't miss the prep, anxiety, crowds and money spent to jump into a sanctioned race. Not to say I won't do another race - but as of now - I like the solitude of just my dog and I. Also, not having the pressure to finish a race with a respectable time... What was the question again!??

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

I think you have touched on all of them, Terrell.

Between cost of the entry and cost of travel, plus the numerous disclaimers one has to sign about CoVid while filling out the entry forms, it makes a person very hesitant to commit themselves. Myself, I've learned to kiss the race and the $$ off, if it is going to be a burden on the family and the budget.

The events themselves can be fun, I've done them. However, I've noticed the big producers here in WA have offered more and more events and are having trouble getting volunteers to help at the races--in spite of offering perks and actual cash to get helpers. This did not used to be the case. Personally, I think the fewer races were a bigger draw. Who wants to drag themselves halfway across the state to do a trail race? Not me!

There seem to be a few more runners out on our Trail, but, there are a lot more walkers and bikers who outnumber us. Having lock downs during CoVid seems to have awakened an interest in people just to be outdoors for the joy of it. The whole climate has changed for racing. . . it is going to be interesting to see if it survives the way we've gotten to know it. Nothing wrong with a new format, one can learn to be adaptable. That's what running is all about! :)

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

I think it could be a couple of things: PTSD about races being cancelled, so much running during the pandemic that they/we might need a coping mechanism from our coping mechanism, forgetting what fun these events and travel for races can be, burnout in general... Most races are struggling to get back to pre-Covid numbers.

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

Just curious 🧐 What are the qualifying times or races that must be met ??

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

I haven’t changed my races/travel or anything. Maybe it’s because of the cost. Gas prices/travel costs are outrageous right now.

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

I don't consider myself a "racer" but do run races! I think, for me, it's about challenging myself to both meet, and exceed, expectations - even when only my own.

Fear is a powerful motivator! I do think people hesitate to commit, particularly with areas that seem to not consider themselves "out" of the Covid issues, as cancellations both disappoint and deter future tries. Sometimes you've got to "just do it" and get started again. I'm running my first race since last November this Sunday and will look forward to my success, or lack thereof, as I drive home and plan for my next one...

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

One thing I have noticed with races, is the demographics. I run in the over 60 crowd, there are not many of us. Most seem to be in their 30's. Not a lot of younger runners. Also women out number men in most events. Running is a bit like tennis, it seems to have been more popular in the past than it is now. That being said the big events are as popular as ever.

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

I think it has more to do with demographics. Baby Boomers & Gen-X took to running in the 70's & 80's & 90's and created a big demand for races. As boomers are now aging out of full and half marathons, the next generation has not stepped in to fill the void. So now we have fewer runners to enter these big races. The high costs are also a big factor. People in their 20's & 30's have less interest in the sport.

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

I think it’s intimidating for many “runners” who have not done races before. My first race was an 8k 5 years ago when my son invited me. I never considered myself a real “runner” and felt like I didn’t belong in a “race” with more avid and competitive runners. We are fortunate to have many fun and interesting local races so there has not been a need to travel. Unless you are an elite runner you’re probably not “in it to win it” but rather to have fun and improve upon past performances.

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In all of these races, everyone wins … all that counts is crossing the finish line … reminds me of my WTF running shirt that has “Where’s the finish?” on the back !

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I remember feeling that way too, T, the first time I ran an organized race. "I'm not sure I really belong here," is what I felt. (That was a long time ago now, and so many more people -- not just insanely fast runners -- participate in races now, but I completely see where you're coming from.)

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I think about the drop in race entries in two ways...the first is that like Scott Hines said, the races have become so much more of a production which drives up the entry fees and associated costs of travel, etc. I also think that there are a lot of people like myself who may never run a marathon like Boston because we aren’t fast enough to even qualify for the time cutoffs. Over the years, Boston has tightened up the time qualifications....I’ll never get there as I get older so why try.

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

I hear you. I am a back of the pack participant. I got the opportunity for Boston through a sponsor and then charities. It is a great event and one of few things in life that lives up to the hype. People can "qualify" by running a set time or meeting fundraising requirements of a charity. Will + X = Way.

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author

I can see that -- their time qualifications do relax as runners get older, but the interesting (and perhaps ironic) thing is, all the years before Covid, when so many people applied, had the effect of tightening their qualifying requirements so that now, it's *really* tough to get in.

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

I find my enthusiasm wanes a little - like now - when I don't have a race scheduled. Certainly over here in the UK, a lot of mass participation races are based around running for charity which may be a deterrent. They are a big money spinner for charities, I know that. Sometimes they are the biggest if charities rely for donations on what they can raise from the public, but there are only so many times during the year you can ask people to sponsor you because it's often the same people you're asking each time.

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That's true. My first marathon, I ran for charity -- it was the Bermuda Marathon, and I was part of a group where each of us raised $2,500, and the charity paid for our flights, hotel rooms and race entry fee. It was awesome! But it's really something you can do only once -- you can't repeatedly hit up your friends and family to send you to exotic locales to run! 😃

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

The 1st time I heard of Boston Marathon was my grade school teacher Mr Schultz , was always away ( given time off) to run the Boston ( as he said).

After finishing my first 1/2 at 3hrs 25min . I can’t ever ever imagine being physically mentally prepared or have ability to do such a marathon . My 1st love is Hockey ( so the Boston to me is like the Stanley Cup ). Lol 😂

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Totally get that! I've run 3 26.2-mile races, but at this point that distance is probably behind me. I'm up for more 13.1-milers (and shorter distances), though!

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

Great question Terrell!

I believe it’s a combination of all of those factors. For me, I’ve never set my eyes on elite races but focused on unique ones where I could learn from others community and even contribute something. Sometimes, at large events, competition and times take the spotlight, rather than what I perceive as the purpose: to reach a challenge together, and discover a new place if traveling to it.

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Very, very interesting, Mark! What are some of your favorites?

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

1st- Anything local and charity focused in our community, Tampa Bay. I help coach XC and race coordinator/timer so get to see lots of woodsy places and some golf courses :-)

2nd- My main FL distance events I’d recommended for the history and cultural learning opportunities are Space Coast, Gasparilla, Ft DeSoto, St Augustine, and Croom/Alafia state park trail races- outstanding camaraderie and support.

Further afield, MCM holds a special place in my heart due to the nation’s heart and surrounding history, and service members one hears stories from and have the honor to meet that weekend!

Lastly, Im a Galloway run-walk-run pacer most road races now, so I participate in most of the Disney events (truly magical, I have to say as a Dad and husband of a princess Half devotee) , despite the expense) , and Jeff Galloway’s 13.1 in Atlanta in Spring (moved to March this year)

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Sep 24, 2022Liked by Terrell Johnson

Mark, I live on the west coast but had the chance to spend 4 days in Boca Grande earlier this year! And I ran around that little island and loved every minute of it! I kept stopping to take pictures of the different critters and foliage. Would love to entertain a race out there!!

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I actually didn’t know the Jeff Galloway Half had moved to March — thanks for the tip! I can see why, though; December in Atlanta can be tough 🥶

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Just in the ~20 years I've been running, it seems like organized races have become much more of a production than they used to be, and that means they're a bigger expense and hassle. It does have a bit of a discouraging effect--sometimes you just want to show up and run, not have a three-day event that costs hundreds of dollars.

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There's a lot of truth to that, I agree. I think the Rock 'n' Roll race series had a ripple effect on lots of race organizers, who thought they needed to offer the same experience. (And, from what I understand, a number of the bigger races became big moneymakers, which attracted more people to the industry who believed they could make *any* event a big moneymaker, which in turn had a ripple effect, and so on...)

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Best “big production” race, with respect to expo and the race itsel, is The Flying Pig in Cincinnati. Expo chock full of good stuff. Airport had Pig on display. There were no corrals at start of race … they had pigpens! Truly a fun event.

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