When I'm not in peak shape, I often think of races as a waste of money. Why pay someone to go on a run I could just as well do by myself if I don't have a chance of winning anyway? Generally I can't bring the stroller, so I have to find a sitter or my husband and I have to take turns.
Well, a lot can be gained from running races even if you are not particularly close to the top.
5. Many races are beautiful courses that are not accessible under normal conditions.
4. Particularly for longer distances, the support is nice so you don't have to carry water, etc.
3. It is a goal to aim for that can really help motivate you to get out the door to train.
2. Improves your speed.
1. The whole family gains enthusiasm for running.
My husband and I run in a lot of races so we signed the kids up for a local Halloween Costume Fun Run. When they've done it themselves, they can start to better understand the need for Mommy to practice before her big race. Plus, we hope that they stay interested in running as they get older. It is good for their health and it is an activity that the whole family can do together, even as the kids outgrow the stroller. Now we'll see how that works out...
Addendum: The very next day, the kids were sprinting back and forth in the driveway (in the rain) while chanting, "The marathon, the marathon!"