When I first started running and decided to run in Nashville’s Country Music Marathon the following year, I learned that it was just one stop in the Competitor Group’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. This is a running series that I have become very familiar with, having run in 16 of their races in numerous cities. As I’ll describe below, no matter where you decide to run one of their races you can be sure you will experience a large, well organized, meticulously planned, race – some might say a entertainment package where you sweat a little. You know what you are getting. This however is an advantage for some, while a disadvantage for other because it is commercialized and maybe lacking “individualism” (I am not one of those).
A running series is of course a group of races that have a common owner or collaborate together. Sometimes you will compete in the whole series during a season, but in most cases, you will simply pick and choose which ones to run depending on the date or the location. Occasionally by participating in more than one stop in a series you will receive some sort of recognition (possibly an additional medal, some extra bling in your race bag, or some clothing).
Generally with an established series you know the producing company has staged a race before and is familiar with all the planning necessities and possible pitfalls. They may have some local representatives, but they also have a corporate team who assist with planning, logistics, marketing, legal, and finance which can make things run a little smoother.
With that said, they don’t always have the “local” flavor that a non-series race has. Sometimes what sets a non-series race apart is the way they go out of their way to make sure the finishers medal is definitely one-of–a-kind, or they put something different in your race bag.
It had been a while since I looked to see what series are out there, so when I recently did a search I was excited to find that there are great number of them (I stopped looking as there were so many). Many look fun and I think I might start planning on participating in some of the races.