Races are also fun. You get a couple hundred people together to test their bodies and push themselves as hard as they can. Everyone is friendly, supportive, and encouraging. It doesn't matter how fast or slow you race, everyone just gives each other credit for being out there. Ironically the only "criticism" I've heard (i.e. you don't swim fast enough or sprint triathlons aren't "real" triathlons) have come from non-competitors. I find that both hypocritical and funny. I also find triathlon races to give a real high upon finishing. Not to mention you get cool free stuff. Free t-shirts, snacks, vitamin samples, etc. Who doesn't like free stuff? Of course, it does cost money to enter these races, but my point stands.