Race Day Memories and Creating My Ideal Race Event

Over the past two years, I've taken part in a lot of races varying from the 1 miler (the most intense 6 minutes of my life!) to tackling a marathon. I don’t think of myself as a runner foremost, but rather someone who loves getting high off the adrenaline rush from racing and achieving new PBs. It's the race days that are what I love most about running more than anything.

If I have to choose my favourite distance to race, it would have to be the half marathon and marathon distances. I love the build-up in the last week towards the race day. I love the pre-race nerves; I got so nervous in the build up towards Hamburg Marathon yet it also strangely felt comforting. I love the dichotomy of a carefully chosen pre-race breakfast and carefully chosen racing fuel with then eating whatever I want post-race. Hands up who wants the meatiest-ever burger, covered in melted cheese, with sweet potato wedges after a marathon? I'm guilty as charged!

The majority of the races I've taken part in have all been pretty much top notch. My next round of marathon training begins in September, having taken a hiatus from running after Hamburg. I thought I'd reflect on my previous races, and piece together my favourite parts to create my ideal race.

Running clubs: 
Training alone can be daunting but there is a plethora of running clubs (free and paid membership) across the country that make it a lot less scary and sociable. You're bound to meet someone who is taking part in the same race as you. Through Eventbrite, you can find an array of running clubs, running events fitness and non-fitness activities in your city. And hey, if you can't find one, you can always set one up on Eventbrite

Talks prior to the race:
Before deciding to participate in a marathon, I attended a talk about marathon training, at Runners' Needs, which was helpful as I was able to understand what went into the training. When I was training for the 1 mile races, I attended another talk at Run Fast on how to train for a 1 mile. I found these events on Eventbrite, where you can find a whole host of events literally about anything. In the past, I've attended events ranging from a talk celebrating Ethiopian running, a talk on how diet supports your fitness goals, a talk about gender equality to the London City Mile races. 

Watching Olympic and high profile athletes:
Watching David Weir and Ryan Gregson separately participate in the London City Mile events was so motivating and inspiring.

A video posted by Mara (@mara_clickthat) on

The race course I disliked the most was at the Olympic velodrome. Run Through events are some of my favourites because they're well organised and the courses are normally set with great views . But, the Olympic velodrome 10km race was a downer for me. I realised from that I don’t like running multiple laps of the same course, especially when there isn't much of a view. For a course based in a park, the Run Thrugh Greenwich Park 10k was a hilly but beautiful course to run and Hackney Half was an experience every half marathoner should do.

The medal: 
A well thought out and eye catching medal is something I like as it is the memorabilia I want to keep and cherish forever. The Hampton Court Half Marathon medal was of a comical Henry VIII and the London City Mile's medal for the first event 3 years ago is another of my cherished medals. The Nike We Own It race medal was in the form of a necklace, which meant it really is a wearable medal.

A photo posted by Mara (@mara_clickthat) on

The goody bag:

A race wouldn’t be a race without a goody bag, right? Surprisingly, it’s a hotly debated topic as to whether we need them. I feel like I get my hopes up for a goody bag either to find on the day there is no bag, or it's just a corporate gimmick full of useless leaflets. What I would love to see in my dream goody bag are a banana, flapjack, finisher's t-shirt and a variety of relatable samples. Something like peanut butter sachets, anti-chafing gel samples and vouchers for sportswear.

As for training tips for a marathon, especially if participating in one abroad, I can't tell you enough how much writing lists and planning in advance for each week really helped throughout my Hamburg Marathon training. Despite the pre-race nerves, all I had to do was tick off the things on my plan so that race day ran smoothly.  

What are your favourite racing memories and what would you want to see in your ideal race? Who knows, together we may just create the perfect race.

Mara xxx

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