We had a similar discussion a while back which I started by asking by asking the question "What's the attraction to big commercial HMs?" While the question was obviously biased, the answers were quite informative.
I have done both. Big and small. God and bad. It really all depends on how well the race is organized. If the organizers have done their homework and they are not beset with bad luck it will be a good race. If things go bad and they can't be fixed quickly, things can cascade into a cluster frack (see Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas 2011).
But there is a certain charm to a really small race.
Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible -- St Francis of Assisi
I think a lot depends on the course. I've done several races where there were multiple thousands of people on a narrow course which becomes full contact marathoning. I've had people kicking the back of my shoes, been hit in the head by flying elbows, and once a guy ran directly into me from the side almost knocking me over. I've also run a race with 20,000 people (Detroit), but the course was wide plus they sent runners out in waves. While I was always around people, which is great for motivation, I never ran into anyone.
The nice thing about smaller races is that you don't get the congestion and you can kind of zone into yourself and run your own race. Of course, you may not always get the same level of support, but I think if you go into the race knowing that it's not a problem.
I think it's good to do all different kinds of races - both in sizes and courses. Cities, country, hills, flats, heat, cold - it's the constant change of venue and size that keeps racing challenging.
"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
I've done both and enjoy both. There is a completely different atmosphere at a large event versus a small one. I'm more concerned with the organization, too--large events are usually (but not always) better organized and offer more both before and after. I've been at small events, though, that did every bit as well with organization and support as the big ones and were a lot of fun.
Denise (Half Fanatic #1279) - PDT Time Zone
"The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." - William Bagshot
The only HM's I've done were at Disneyland. The first had 25,000 people and the second about 15,000. It all depends now well they are organized. Bigger events have better expos etc because there is more $$ to go around. Smaller ones have less hassle. We had to walk almost two miles from parking to start line. Versus being able to park close, and get out easily.
current weight: 170.0
Fitness Minutes: (54,905) Posts: 1,467 6/19/12 6:16 P
I just did my second 13.1. It was huge. 6000 runners, lots of local support. The one I'm doing in October is TINY. Back roads, 40 competitors, sort of lonely. But that can be sort of zen. Any opinions on big vs small? city mouse vs country mouse? Just looking for opinions. Thanks.
Eastern Time Zone Megan "Never tie your self esteem to a number - high or low"
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