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What are the Different Types of Running Events?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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People who enjoy running often like to participate in running events as well. Signing up for a particular event and then working towards it can be a great way to achieve goals and boost motivation. Running events can also be a great way to have fun, and also to meet other people who share the common interest of running and physical fitness. A number of running events also include an option for people who would rather walk, but still want to participate in the event.

The most common types of running events are, of course, races. There are many different kinds of races to suit different running ability levels and different goals; for instance, marathons and ultra-marathons are very long and challenging runs, but a shorter race such as a 5K or 10K can be a good place to start, followed by a half-marathon. The distance run is only part of each running event; generally, running events are associated with a particular group or charity.

Many running events encourage runners to develop teams and to raise money for certain charities. Runners can then run together during the race if they choose, and the individual sponsors who donated money to the runners have the satisfaction of helping a charity as well as helping their friends participate in a race. Many runs are scheduled every year in the same location or city, or by the same group or charity, because it is a good way to raise money for a cause as well as to encourage physical fitness.

Of course, there are other events in addition to races. Schools frequently have running meets or "field days", where different schools will come to one location, and students will compete against each other in individual events. These might include distance runs or sprints, for example, among many others. These meets often last all day, and winners typically receive trophies or medals after a competition.

In addition to the running events sponsored by businesses, schools, or charities, many people simply choose to create their own. It is common for people who enjoy running to form a running group that meets regularly and goes on runs together, such as trail running. There are many benefits to attending these running gatherings; it is safer to run with a group rather than alone, and it often provides more motivation to get up and get out of the house when one knows that other people are waiting.

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Discussion Comments

By bythewell — On Jul 02, 2011

When I was first starting to run, I thought I would never get very far.

I was a very unfit teenager, and basically the only exercise I ever got was walking to the fridge. I felt like I was having an asthma attack when I tried to run, and on top of that my shins would start to ache. Then the rest of me would ache and I'd just give up.

In the end I worked out the best way of starting into running if you've never done it before and you are chronically unfit.

Start out by running for 30 seconds.

That's it. Just run for 30 seconds and you're done. Well, then walk for ten minutes and do 30 seconds again. Maybe do this four times.

A few days after you start doing that, switch it up to a minute. And gradually increase from there.

Don't let anyone make you feel bad about it, because there are no rules about this. You are doing something about your fitness which is more than a lot of people do. So, feel good about it.

By lluviaporos — On Jul 02, 2011

Everyone should run a marathon before they die. It should be on everyone's bucket list.

And it seems like it increasingly is. It can be really difficult to get into the more famous marathons, like the Boston or the New York, or even the Auckland marathon. You have to go into a lottery and in some cases you only have a one in four chance of getting a place.

If you want to have a better chance at participating, you might try joining a running club. Often they have guaranteed spots in the races.

I also had a friend of a friend who managed to get into the New York marathon because she was the sister of someone famous. No kidding, you wouldn't think that would make a difference but if it can get the race a little bit of publicity, I think they will make an exception!

By Mor — On Jul 01, 2011

I was just thinking about this on my walk this morning. I have a friend coming to see me who is really passionate about rock climbing. I also have a sister who adores running and triathlon style events. I know other people who really get into things like kayaking, or martial arts.

I was just thinking, whether it is running races or something else, you really should try to get passionate about something physical. That's the secret to health.

Because if you are just killing yourself at the gym without any love for what you are doing, it is a habit that you will easily break.

But if you really get into something, get competitive, get involved in the community, like my sister is involved in all the local running events now, not only will you reap the benefits of being fit, you won't notice it as "work".

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