DAVE MCGILLIVRAY, for Runner's World
I'm wondering why most races (and especially marathons) are held on Sundays. I've run marathons in several different areas of the country and the only one that wasn't on a Sunday was Boston. Is it easier for race directors and race companies to stage events on Sundays? — Jasmine
This is a question I get from new race directors all the time, and trust me, there is no simple answer. When to host a race depends on the race distance, and pre-race activities (expos, clinics, registration), post-race activities (awards, functions), time of year, and even whether there are churches along the course.
Generally speaking, however, it is hard to hold a race on a Saturday. Even though it's a weekend day, most businesses are open on Saturday and it becomes tricky to close streets. That may not be a major problem in a 5-K, but it is for longer races. Sundays also allow big races to hold expos and registration on Friday and Saturday, plus I've found that it's easier to find volunteers for Sunday races than for Saturday races.
Still, even Sundays are hard. Races shouldn't disrupt church service, and there are plenty of runners who want to both race and go to church. I've always felt that Monday holidays and holidays, in general, are ideal—there are no church services to worry about, folks are looking for something to do, and usually, there aren't many competing activities. At the same time, though, it can be just as hard to get volunteers to work on holidays as on Saturdays.
It is always a struggle to come up with the "perfect" day and date to hold an event, especially a new event. There are a lot of factors, and no matter when you schedule it, it is hard to please everyone.