Its hard to get into Flounders "A" rating without free beer at the end.<br><br>
Here are the attributes<br>
1) Well run race - Organization<br>
2) reasonably priced<br>
3) free beer<br>
4) Mile markers right<br>
5) Total Course length correct<br>
6) Fast course<br>
7) Beautiful course (If longer than 10k)<br><img alt="cool.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/cool.gif"> If longer race - Enough aide stations and properly stocked and manned.<br><br>
If 1 & 2 are just "OK" but 3-5 are right on - then likely a "B" rating.
An "A" race is a race where I plan to really go all out and really race. B and C races I consider to be prep races for my A race. For example, last summer's A race was a 15K where I have always wanted to crack the top 10 women (they give out cash for top 10!). It's not a huge race, but good competition and a reasonable goal. My C race leading up to that was a 7.5 mile race 6 weeks out just to get my race legs back after my spring marathon. The B race was a 10 miler 3 weeks out where I ran the middle 5 miles at my goal race pace.<br><br>
I consider marathons to always be an A race since I run only 1 (rarely 2) a year and it takes so much time and effort and recovery.
The beer part makes it a A-/B+ without knowing anything else about it.<br><br>
The Green Bay marathon is well run / fast course / not overly scenic but OK - Has Free Beer and Brats - Title town Brewery puts out a special brew just for the marathon - An A+ in Flounders books.
1. The course - Certified, reasonably flat, loop or out and back, accurately placed mile markers, good footing.<br><br>
2. Well organzied - Smooth registration process, prompt results with accurate timing.<br><br>
3. Good competition--Especially in my age group<br><br>
4. Extras - Nice shirts, snacks, awards; chip timing is plus.<br><br><br><br>
Course requirements mentioned above fulfilled, but less then top notch for 2, 3, or 4.<br><br><br>
1. Course not accurate, poor footing, other problems with course.<br><br>
Nothing else can move a race off the bottom of the list if there are problems with the course. I would never go back.
I suppose it depends on how you are trying to rate races. I consider an A race to be the primary focus of a season. I usually only plan one or two a year. B and C races are races I use as training for A races. I might taper slightly for a B race, but will train right through C races.<br><br>
Now, if we are not talking about where to focus your training but simply on the quality of races, then the primary variables are organization, course, support, and the quality of the competition. Free beer would be a bonus.<br><br>
Haven't really thought in terms of letter grades, but I think Jim's list pretty much covers mine.<br><br>
Other nice extras, enjoyable but by no means necessary: five year age groups and merchandise awards.<br><br>
Free beer, while nice, is sometimes wasted on me b/c after I finish a hard race, my tummy isn't ready for beer. However, if the free beer is on the course, now that's a whole 'nother story, heh! <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"> Kind of saved me from total meltdown in the Philly Marathon and the Hashers near the end of the Caesar Rodney half took the sting out of my excessively slow pace in last year's race with their brewski offer.
When I say I have an "A" race coming up, I am saying that is a race I have trained specifically for and have done all I can to perform my best. Most of us can go run a race on any given weekend (5k, 10k ish) but that wouldn't be our "A" race...I think the ranking/rating is all about your preperation for the race. Next year I have 2 "A" races...one in May and one in August...everything else is just "not an A"...
I suppose there's some overlap. The races that become "target" or "focus" races often are the ones that contain features that we like in a race. For me, while target races don't always have to be the high-end "bells and whistles" races, they should be well-organized with accurate courses, ideally at times of the year when weather and other factors give me the best chance at running a good race.
My "A" race is....<br><br>
1. accurate overall distance<br>
2. accurate mile/kilometer markers<br>
3. a fast start whether it's a large or small race.<br>
4. a flat fast course in nice if I'm looking for a PR<br>
5. beer is always a plus <img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif">