Why do you race?

What is your motivation to race?

Not 'to run' but to race - as in pinning on a number and standing on the start line, be it a Cross Country, Park-Run, Half Mara, Ultra etc... -

(I say 'race' as opposed to 'run' to avoid all the answers of 'I do it for me / to de-stress / etc')

Is it setting PBs, pushing yourself, enjoying new routes, running for a club, running to beat others? (Or other reasons of course)


  • I need motivation to run routinely, so always have the next race booked. I don't want to embarass myself in a race, and that makes me more diligent in putting in the training.

    I also like to race in order to see how the training is going - can I improve that PB. How do I compare against the same race in previous years.

    Currently, with a marathon comming up, races are there as high pressure practice sessions. it's easy enough to run the distance when there's no pressure, but the timings, the field and a number do make a difference.

  • I started entering races to keep me motivated to train. Now I don't think I need that as running regularly is now part of my life.

    I race for mainly to test myself, to try and get pbs and to give myself new challenges (e.g. first marathon, running a hilly half). I also like collecting medals (sad I know!)

  • Good question - and one I've thought about recently as my other half was challenging me on "why I have to keep entering all these effing races" image

    I enter events for lots of different reasons, but the biggest two are:

    1) To test myself (and see if I'm getting quicker), and to satisfy my obsessive, competitive itch

    2) For the social element - I love the fact that running is something I can do on my own, whenever and wherever I want, but I also enjoy being with other runners, and running with others. This is also why I've joined a running club....

    The thing that makes me try my hardest, and go "eyeballs out" occasionally when I do race is trying to beat myself - I don't really give two hoots about beating someone else..


  • Interesting stuff folks - I always go flat out so I'm entering only selective races this year and putting a lot more emphasis into training
  • A new guy at the club a while back asked me "do you enjoy racing?". I had to answer honestly and say that sometimes when I hurt like hell during a race I do ask myself why I do it!

    However I love racing - pushing myself to the limit, running against the clock and running against others. The more you race the more people of similar ability you get to know and the better the races become too as more rivalry is generated.

    The camoraderie is also a good thing. It's probably a lot better at a parkrun than a race but it's good at both.

  • TimeaJTimeaJ ✭✭✭
    - To add some spice and a bit of excitement into my life - I have a desk job and getting out "into the wild" is stimulating and energising.
    - To test if my training has been successful and to see if I can improve myself.
    - To always have something to work towards - I can't live without goals.
  • * to test myself - I spent 30 years playing football before I started running. I need the adrenalin buzz that competition provides. It makes you feel alive!
    * PBs and "relative" performances are important to me
    * to give focus and purpose to my training
    * to share the camaradarie but also to meet new people and share experiences
    * to see new places- especially off road events

    Two reasons that most certainly are not relevant to me
    * medals (you can have all mine Catalin!)
    * to win (ha ha fat chance)

    Something else i enjoy is that I have raced against the world's best (London, Reading half etc)
    How many people in ANY other sport get to compete in the exact same event as the best in the world!!!
    I may have been miles/hours behind them, but we all did the same course on the same day!!
  • I  race so that I can see that I am improving - that all the runs have had meaning other than me enjoying them - never going to win but compete against myself

  • Local races are yearly institutions for me - I participate as a sort of thank-you to my local council for putting them on and doing such a good job of organising them. Plus my dad and mum used to run the same races so they're a kind of family institution too.

    I enter further afield races to get a weekend away and to see somewhere new and different and I usually pick these ones for maximum scenery and prettiness - I'm definitely not interested in marathons that are 6 laps of some housing estate. This year I'm doing Edinburgh, the Lake District trail marathon, the first Perthshire marathon (in Aberfeldy) and Loch Ness. 

    I'm not sure about my actual motivation to race though. I'll turn up and participate and know I'll have a great time even if I'm not properly trained, so it's not really about PBs, though I do like getting them. I think I just like the camaraderie and the feeling of being part of a big group of people all doing the same thing.Plus the excitement of races always gets me going faster than I ever do in training, so I know I'll be pushing myself harder than I normally do when running on my own...

  • Much like the answers above but for me, I'm not getting any faster so I guess it's to prove to myself time after time that I haven't got any slower either image
  • Motivate me to train - a race will hurt if I don't!

    Focus my training.

    Challenge myself to get particular times.

    Able to track progress.

    Competition - always someone to try to beat.

    Camaraderie - most of my running is done at about 6am, so it is nice to remind myself I am part of a wider community, who are generally pretty friendly and fun to be around.
  • For the bling image

    I don't really do them for motivation, since I enjoy running anyway, I like to see new cities and countrysides, and countries, and it's a great way for me to see them, I do a lot of adventure and obsticle races too because they are fun.

    My road races I generally look for ones that I will enjoy the scenery, I only repeat a few races because they are a) local or b) it's a nice course, and on those I will always try to better my time last year, but it's not majorly important if I don't,
  • It helps motivate me and focus my training. I like to race every 2-4 months to keep me focussed. Also sometimes it's about getting a PB, but not really at the moment, as I've not got a PB in about a year and I'm not really bothered. I also think that completing a race is a great buzz
  • I think if i was just doing running to keep fit, i could probably do half the milage and half the speed i do, and still have a balanced lifestyle, with healthy eating etc. Doing a race provides an outlet to see what i am capable of, when i train hard, and i do like to train hard, go out and do 10-12 miles just for the fun of it, while pushing myself at the same time. Its a natural extension of training then.

    You always know that unless you are an elite, then you are not going to come first, and there will always be someone quicker than you. I like to see other people around me though, all going off together, all focussed on the same goal, to get to the finishing line, to get that medal etc. There is something wonderful as well, about having crowds cheer you on, that some how get you through that hill.

    I probably do a race about every 6-7 weeks, only half's though, but it is enough for me at the moment. But it is a motivator, and Brighton for example, it kept my running in check, when it was icy, cold, in the weeks, and months before, it made me still go out there, since i knew i had this race looming.

    I think it is great for beginner runners too, to give them something to aim for, like a confidence booster, and maybe provide a channel for emotions, if for example they are running for cancer research, having lost their dad or something. You can see the pain etched on their faces, but they refuse to give up as they hit mile 7 etc.

    Running is a very pure outlet therefore, and i do it, as much to see other people (see above) as i do to test myself.

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