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Why the 10K is the Best Race Distance

Some readers are probably old enough to remember Jan Brady’s lament in “The Brady Bunch” about the seemingly undue attention that her older sister got: “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” If common road race distances were the Brady family, the marathon and the half marathon would be Marcia, getting all the attention. (“Oh, you’re a runner? Are you training for a marathon?”) The 5K (and maybe the mile, although that seems to be less common as a distance) would be Cindy; you’ve got the popular couch-to-5K programs to transition couch potatoes into runners.

Meanwhile, the 10K is just … there. (Yes, there are couch-to-10K programs out there, but the 5K is the most popular racing distance.) But here’s why the 10K is the best racing distance: I love running, but “too much of a good thing” describes half and full marathons. 5K, on the other hand, while a great distance too, is a bit too short to be truly satisfying. It’s kind of like having a tasty appetizer at a restaurant and then being asked to leave. “The Brady Bunch” isn’t the right analogy; Goldilocks and the Three Bears is.

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