To Race a 10K or Complete a Marathon?

From celebrities to once upon a time couch potatoes, completing a marathon is at the top of everyone’s bucket list. This is understandable as it is a great accomplishment and topic of conversation around the water cooler. Nevertheless, it is important to debate the significance of racing a 10K versus completing a marathon. Disclaimer: This is not another piece on whether or not there should be a time limit for the marathon. 

Don’t get me wrong, the marathon is a wonderful event…for those who are well-trained and have significant experience with shorter distance races. Furthermore, the atmosphere surrounding a major marathon is infectious and inspiring. Avoid the temptation. There are several big races that will satisfy your racing appetite.

Top 5 10K Races in North America that will provide you with the thrill of a marathon without the side effects.

The Vancouver Sun Run
Peachtree Road Race
Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K
Bolder Boulder
Great Aloha Run
 (ok. so this is a bit longer than 10K, but it is in HAWAII)

Upwards of 60,000 people participate in The Vancouver Sun Run

Impress Your Running Friends, Not Your Co-Workers

As a coach, I would be much more impressed if a 50 year old woman told me she ran a 40 minute 10K versus a 4:05 marathon that just qualified her for Boston. According to the McMillan Running Calculator a 40 minute 10K is worthy of a 3:07 marathon. If you are worried that running 40 minutes at The Vancouver Sun Run may not demand the attention of running 4:05 at The Boston Marathon, take the time to educate your co-workers in a non-condesending manner and encourage them to sign up for a local 5k. Chances are this will give them some perspective as well.

Respect The Distance

If you are running a 25 minute 5K, a 50 minute 10K, and a 3:30 marathon, chances are you are lacking gears (the ability to run at different paces) and what I often refer to as ‘speed reserve‘. Take pride in running well over shorter distances before making the leap to the marathon. You will not regret it, and your body will thank you in the ‘Long Run’. Lastly, by conquering shorter distance races first, you will ensure that you possess the necessary strength to not only complete a marathon, but to race one! 

About the Author:

Brandon Laan is a runner, coach, and entrepreneur.  He spent his undergraduate days at The University of Western Ontario where he captained the Cross Country Team before fleeing to Hawaii Pacific University for graduate school. He is a Level II Certified USATF coach and holds personal bests of 1:06 and 2:21 in the Half Marathon and Marathon respectively. He also enjoys running to eat, not eating to run…and always will.

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