Races starting later in the day

Am I the only one who feels that races should start later in the day?

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11/06/2007 at 23:20
Am I the only one who feels that races such as half marathons should start later in the day?
I find that when I run in the late afternoon (say around 4.30pm) after having had my lunch between 12-1pm, I have much more energy and I am in a better mood. Plus, the range of pre-race foods you can eat is much greater.
Especially in the summer, it seems to make more sense for races to start later in the day as the sun is not as strong in the evening and it doesnt get dark until after 9.30/10pm. Also, even if it is sunny at the start, at least you know it wont be as bad towards the end of the race. I've noticed 1 or 2 races (such as 10Ks) done in this way, but there seem to be very few of them.
Another reason I feel why races should be done in the evenings is that, well quite frankly, who wants to wake up at 6am on a Sunday morning? No matter how much I look forward to the race, I still find myself in that "should i go or stay at home?" frame of mind when waking up early on race day (although I almost always enjoy the race whilst actually doing it).
The later start times for races may also encourage more people from further afield to attend, as they would not have to wake up very early to travel to the race.

It would be nice to see what other runners and race organisers have to say on this matter.
11/06/2007 at 23:52
Good question.

way back when I started running races used to be set on saturday afternoons when those of us who had to work saturday mornings had time to leave work and get to the race,

Nowadays shops are open all weekend and there are no times set aside for leisure activities other than shopping.

To be fair in the summer the day genrally gets hotter until around 2 pm and then stays hot until 5 or 6. If you want to get the race over before it gets too hot you need to start at 10 or 10:30. When I have raced in Southern california I have frequently had to get to the race for an 8 or 8:30 start purely to avoid the heat.

cougie    pirate
12/06/2007 at 01:05
Thats a rubbish idea - you would lose the whole day then constantly checking what time it was and what you were eating. Get out get it done and then its over. You want to try bike events where you have to race at seven am - thats a lot worse than the relaxed start time of running races. If we race in the afternoon then there would be more traffic on the roads it would be hotter and possibly put people off from travelling from afar. Saturday night is ok to stay over but how many would give up a monday to travel back ? Races are on these times for pretty good reasons.
12/06/2007 at 01:16
i had same thought dx when i was racing especially little fun runs and stuff
but i think it would make the organisation much harder
and like cougie says , spoil the whole day really

at least if you race in the morning you have the rest of the day to do stuff / be cajoled into

as coug says, the bike race times are indeed evil
my ex was always getting up at crack of dawn for sunday races , and it also totally messed up saturday nights as he could only eat certain foods and wanted to be in bed early

i believe that the bike racing times are due to police restrictions - issues with traffic and on road races

i suspect this is similar in some cases for races

12/06/2007 at 01:17
running races i mean
12/06/2007 at 07:21
Personally I'd prefer it if they were at 6.00am - that's when I can do my best. (Not that my best is very good, but you know what I mean.)
12/06/2007 at 07:52
I prefer a nice early start too - 09.00 or quite late on Saturday evening - 19.00 onwards. The worst ones start from 11.00 to 13.00 and take up the whole day.
12/06/2007 at 08:43
I think most road races start too late in the day. My local 10k starts at 11.00am. I'd rather it started at 9.00am I would also rather x/c races were held in the morning than the afternoon.

Having said that, I have always enjoyed evening races.
Bionic Ironwolf    pirate
12/06/2007 at 08:55
triathlon is even worse - the Maxdorf half-Ironman this last Sunday started at 9am and by the time the majority were out on the run course around 1pm the heat was evil, a lot of people suffered badly.

12/06/2007 at 09:12
A mid-morning start seems to work best for most people most of the time - lets not forget that whatever time we start as competitors, the race organisers and their marshalls have usually been setting up for at least a couple of hours beforehand and that many will still be there long after the last competitor has packed up and gone home. If we're up at 6am, then the race director is probably up at 4am; similarly, if the last of us leaves at 10pm then somebody will be there 'til midnight - I accept that, as runners, we 'pay the bills' but I think that we also have a responsibility towards those who volunteer their time on our behalf.

In terms of travelling, if the start's too early to reach comfortably on race day then why not make a weekend of it? - take yourself off to the right place the day before and stay over. There may also be local factors to take into account - up here in the Lakes, its much easier to get to a race early on a Sunday morning than it would be to get away on a Sunday evening. The traffic on the roads also gets progressively heavier (and the drivers generally less considerate/intelligent) as the day goes on (Is that also a consideration for bike races?).

All that having been said, I've also done a number of afternoon/evening races as well as races on Saturdays and during the week - I've usually thoroughly enjoyed them. It doesn't all have to be Sunday morning/lunchtime.
12/06/2007 at 09:15
Take up fell running. Almost all short summer races are either evening affairs (meet at pub X - pay £3- run up local hill and back -have pint- go home) or are associated with galas,fetes, carnivals and the like and take place on an afternoon (meet at showground - race started by bikini clad local beauty - run up local hill and back - by said bikini clad beauty drink - go home)

Thats a rubbish idea - you would lose the whole day then constantly checking what time it was and what you were eating.

Actaully Cougie - when I had a "proper" job I used to spend the whole day looking foward to my evening "splash and dash".

12/06/2007 at 09:21
Interesting question DX.

It is a bit of a shock to the system starting a race at 9.00am. Not to mention persuading the family to tag along early on a Sunday 'cos you want a lift. So an afternoon start maybe good for those of us with families.
On balance though, I think I'd still prefer a morning start, much cooler and you've still got the rest of the day.
12/06/2007 at 09:28
personally I prefer early starts for races - in tri, you cannot avoid them anyway (I have a 7am start next Sunday) as I perform better.......

hnaging around all day just gets the nerves jangling

5k evening races are OK though - as they are over quickly
12/06/2007 at 09:39
The Le Touquet 10 and 20k races start at 4.00 pm. Last year is was SO hot that it was really unpleasant, and a lot of people dropped out halfway.

If it had been held in the morning, it would have been much cooler.
12/06/2007 at 09:50
Saturday afternoon races are my favs...as you dont 'lose' sunday, so can have a celbratory drink (or 5) after the race and its still not a school day afterwards! Im doing a half that starts at 6pm in a few weeks...which is brilliant! (Bourton Hilly Half)

This isnt always practicable though...and starting at 4pm would be tough as its still bloomin warm on hot summer days until 6pm or even later!

I never really used to like runing early in the morning, but I ahve got used to it, and if you get up a bit earlier than you might need to - you wake up (eventually) and you are rested from the previous nights sleep even if its only been about 5 hours....its the night before the night before that is the important nights sleep anyway!
12/06/2007 at 09:51
I like running in the evening far better than running in the morning, but appreciate the practical advantages of racing early in the day and then having time to recover and do other things later.

Some races have afternoon starts. The Windsor half-marathon is one such, and it can be unbearably hot. The Midsummer Munro is another. And lots of small local races and club series events are held on weekday evenings.
cougie    pirate
12/06/2007 at 09:52
I dont mind an evening race say mid week - but a mid afternoon one just gets in the way.

Its the same when I had to teach a spin class on a Sunday afternoon - gets in the way of doing all day things and annoys you a bit.
12/06/2007 at 10:11
get some training sessions in that start in the morning.

Most tris 7 start 8 if your lucky to start at the back of a pool based tri.

Train at that time and the body gets use to it.

Evening races like fell and short club races are great as well.
12/06/2007 at 12:11
I couldn't cope with races starting later. I get all worked up inside and feel sick with nerves from the time I wake up. I just want the intervening time to vanish, and to get on with it. No way I could deal with that feeling all day.

I do my long run in the morning, so a race day follows roughly the same routine as a long run day.
12/06/2007 at 12:39
I'm not a morning person so I would prefer a later start. 10 is OK but getting up and eating breakie at 7-7:30 is still tough for me. But I appreciate that heat,, organisation and traffic control are factors. Also, expecially for longer events, you've got to consider people who take the longest. For a half, there will be a greyhound that gets round in 1:15 or quicker. There will also be people coming in around 3 hours. You want everyone to finish in the light and your volunteers to finish in the light too.

Going to try and find some weekday evening 10ks this year though.
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