The thing I love about a road race is that it's the only sporting event I know of where everyday competitors compete in the same event with world-class and olympic athletes.
You or I can't compete in a swimming race with Michael Phelps, ski with Bode Miller, or golf against Tiger Woods. And not because those athletes are too stuck up to compete with the masses - their sports just aren't set up that way.
But running is different. A marathon is comprised of runners who will finish in 2 hours and 50 minutes as well as runners who will finish in 5 hours and 20 minutes and everyone in-between.
Slower runners and older runners aren't relegated to another race.
There may be categories within the race and there may by staggered starts. There may be 20,000 runners between you and Lelisa Desisa Benti but ultimately you and he are both in the same race.
It's the same for spectators. You can see some of the best runners in the world stream by only a few feet away as you stand along the edge of the road holding an encouraging sign and cheering for a college roommate, spouse, or track club friends.
If it's sweltering hot. The lead runners and sweltering hot too. If it's raining, everyone's getting wet.
Road racing is the most democratic of all sporting events. There's an openness to it that other sports competitions lack.
As with life, there's a real "we're all in this together" attitude that makes road racing special.
song: Run Runaway • artist: Slade