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Friday Five: Best Races for Women?

Posted Jan 27 2012 2:51pm

ESPNW has listed the five best races for women . They are:

1) Disney Tinker Bell and Princess half marathons

2) Nike Women’s Marathon

3) ZOOMA women’s race series

4) Women Run the Cities

5) St. Luke’s Celebration – “the largest women’s 5K in the country.”

I’m fascinated by this, as the best races for women have one thing in common – lots and lots of women and (virtually) no men. I may be wrong, but I suspect the best races for men would also include lots and lots of women.

Some academic should do a study about the interaction of the sexes as it relates to running, because there are several contradictory dynamics going on. In one sense, running is the ultimate level playing field – everyone covers the same distance under the same external conditions. Regardless of sex, some runners are hyper-competitive and others use road races as social opportunities or community events.

On the other hand, female-centric races and diva nights clearly have great appeal to women, though male counterparts would seem prehistoric and trashy . I’ve never thought it was appropriate to chat up women while they’re running, though the existence of flunning makes me wonder if that’s just old school thinking. At the same time, a race/expo for dudes only would have no special appeal for me, and I suspect most male runners would feel the same.

Why wouldn’t a “best race for women” simply feature more – and cleaner – porta-potties, lots of convenient viewing areas for family and friends, and gender-specific t-shirts? What are guys doing that make women-only races such a draw?

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