Race Entry for One?

Like so many posts, today’s is inspired by a conversation I had with a running friend. The question we were discussing – do you prefer to race with a group of friends, or race alone?

My first response was that I like to race with friends. After some thinking, and some running, I’m still pretty sure I’d rather race with friends, but there are reasons to go for the race entry for one.

As someone who’s involved in the running community, I’ve built wonderful friendships with my fellow runners. I have had the most fun running as part of a great team (and even winning one race in the team division!). Friends are there to support you when it’s 34 degrees and sleeting and racing doesn’t seem like such a good idea.

Running friends wait in the corrals with you, cross the finish line holding your hand, and make even huge events seem friendly.

When you race with friends, you have someone with whom to share the silly details of the race – the ride to the race, the dude in the kilt (see above), the terrible food, and the terrifying pota-pottie at mile 9. Racing with a friend ensures the jokes, memories, and silliness goes on long after the race is over. Running friends can challenge  you to be your best at races. No one knows what I’m capable of more than the friends that I run with regularly, and they push me to be my best. Without a certain running friend, whom I was determined to beat in a grand prix style race event, I wouldn’t be an age group winner.

I love my running friends and I treasure all the wonderful memories I have from our shared races. I am so honored to have so many wonderful friends and so many who love to race as much as I do.

But, there’s something to be said for entering a race alone and leaving with new friends. Without friends to serve as my social cushion, I am forced to talk to new people. Often, those new people are pretty cool. Runners are a fun bunch. In fact, I’ve met several enduring running friends at races. We started as strangers and ended up close friends. There have been other races at which I’ve raced alone and loved the solitude of being one within a group of many.

So, my fellow runners, what’s your answer? Race entry for one, or for many?