I have met so many people who refer to anyone participating in a race as a “Marathon Runner”. Many of my friends have said, “So, you run marathons now?”. I have had novice runners say they want to participate in a marathon until I tell them what a marathon’s distance is.
Just to make sure that I didn’t miss anything and since I do talk about cycling as well, I have also included a list of events that includes the cycling disciplines. I won’t be able to cover all cycling disciplines as there are simply too many.
All these events require a entry fee when you register for it. You would then be issued a Race-Kit a few days before the event. The Race-Kit will consist of a bib with your race number and a t-shirt. Some Race-Kits may include a digital tracker and some sponsored freebies.
Most people who participate in these event are not racing to be first. Simply finishing the race is in itself an achievement which is why the majority of events will give out certificates, medals and/or t-shirts for finishing the race within the qualifying time. Should you decide to participate in any of these events, please read their respective rules and regulations as well as the race schedule and race-kit collection date and location.
I do hope that this will not only give you a better understanding, but also something to aim for.
A Marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards), that is usually run as a road race. The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens.
In Marathons, finishers will get a certificate, medal and/or a finisher’s t-shirt upon reaching the finish line within the qualifying time.
A Half Marathon is half the distance of a marathon running event of 21.0975 kilometres (13.1094 mi) and is also usually run on roads. Half Marathons are sometimes called 21K. Half Marathons are often part of a Marathon category, but the participants run a slightly different route and sometimes are released at a different time from the marathon participants.
Participation in Half Marathons has grown steadily in the last several years as this is a challenging distance, but does not require the level of training that a marathon requires. Finishers will get a certificate, medal and/or a finisher’s t-shirt upon reaching the finish line within the qualifying time.
Other Running Distance
You may also find other independent running events with shorter distances. Most marathon and half marathon event will include shorter distance categories for people who are interested in taking part in a race but don’t yet have the ability or training for a marathon or even half of one. Common distances are 7 kilometers, 10 kilometers, 12 kilometers and 15 kilometers ( also refer to as 7K, 10K, 12K and 15K respectively).
Most of these events will give out certificates and/or medals to participants who reach the finish line within the qualifying time.
A Fun Run is usually 5 kilometers or less. Most running events will have a Fun Run category for the families of participants and casual runners. Most people who participate in this category don’t usually run the entire distance. As they are simply burning time, most would just casually walk or jog the distance. There are no certificates or medals for finishing a Fun Run.
An ultra marathon or ultra race is any running event involving distances longer than a marathon. There are two types of ultra marathon events – those that cover a specific distance and those with a specified time. The most common distances are 50 kilometres (31.069 mi), 100 kilometres (62.137 mi), 50 miles (80.4672 km) and 100 miles (160.9344 km). There are many races with other distances. As for ultra marathons with specific time, the common ones are 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours and multi-day events. In both events, the race may cover trail routes, roads or both.
The 100 kilometers is the official IAAF world record event.
A cross country race is one that covers various terrains and may include stretches of roads and paths. IAAF recommends a distance of 1750 meters to 2 kilometers.
Sometimes referred to as the “Half-Ironman”; is a multiple-stage competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines. Triathlons consist of the following:
• 1.9 kilometers (1.2 miles) swim,
• 90 kilometers (56 miles) cycle, and
• 21.1 kilometers (13.1 miles) run
The Ironman category is similar to a Triathlon but involves longer distance in each discipline. Ironman Triathlons consist of the following:
• 3.8 kilometers (2.4 miles) swim,
• 180.2 kilometers (112.0 miles) cycle, and
• a full marathon (42.2 km) run.
A Dualthlon covers two disciplines – running and cycling. Duathlons may cover any terrain however it is usually done on tarmac and consist of a 10km run, 40km cycle and finishes off with a 5km run. The Powerman World Series covers slightly longer distances in both the running and cycling disciplines.