In this post, I am sharing my personal preference on how to choose my next race. It is definitely not one size fits all. You can make your own criteria to pick your first or your one hundred race.
I go online and Google running races near me. Then, I get a long list of races in my area; I narrow the search into 25 miles or sometimes less within my location. I pick the race distance that I am interested to run, such as 5k, 10k, and half marathon. Moreover, I choose the desired race, navigate their official page to look for the following:
1- The cause for what the race was organized, such as a fundraising event for homeless, orphans, or children.
2- Registration fees. It is reasonable for the fees to be around $25-$30. It also depends on your time of registration. The sooner you register, the cheaper the registration fee is.
3- Availability of free parking area.
4- Medals. Most of the races offer awards to the top three finishers (men and women). Additionally, they offer medals to the top three in each age group. For example, a race may award medals to the top three males in the age group 18-24, 25-29, 30-34 and so on.
5- Pet policy. Some races allow pets to run with their owners. I do not participate in this kind of races for safety and health reasons. Some runners are scared of dogs, and others may be allergic to pets.
6- Finally, the weather on the race day. It is not critical, but I like to be both mentally and physically prepared for my runs.
These are just my criteria on how to choose a race, and my list is not exhaustive.