So you’re finally past the “racing rookie” phase. You’ve experienced all the firsts; excitedly pinning on your first bib, nervously re-tying your shoes before toeing the start, and feeling the weight of the world fly off your shoulders while crossing the finish line. You’ve run a few local races, you may have tried your hand (or more appropriately, your feet) at several distances and terrains, and you have your pre-race routine down to a science.
So what now? There are thousands of races that you could enter, and you’re wondering which one should be next. We’re glad you asked. We’ve compiled a short list of races that you don’t want to pass up. Here are a few adventurous options that will push you to take the next step in your running career. So get out your training calendars and recovery formula, my friend. It’s time to race.
An annual 10K run through the heart of metropolitan Atlanta, GA.
Annual Date: The 4th of July
- The Peachtree Road Race is the largest 10K in the U.S., with 60,000 participants and hoards of fans each year. Therefore, entry is selected through lottery.
- It’s the perfect debut for your American flag split shorts!
A trail race covering 7.4 miles, beginning in Mill Valley and finishing in Stinson Beach, CA.
Annual Date: The 2nd Sunday in June
- The Dipsea Trail Race had its first running in 1905, making it the oldest organized trail race in U.S.
- The beautiful course attracts runners from all over the world, with miles of rugged, wooded valleys and breathtaking plateaus on its way out to the ocean. The challenging terrain includes stairs, rutted pathways and treacherously steep hills.
- Though this is an event that attracts runners across the world, Dipsea has maintained its status as a local race, and the entry process slightly favors local participants.
A 12K race beginning in the San Francisco Bay, maneuvering through the city and ending on the Great Highway overlooking the Pacific.
Annual Date: The 3rd Sunday in May
- The race originated as a part of the reconstruction efforts and civic morale that defined San Francisco for the decade following the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire.
- Because the event is a celebration of the human spirit, it is marked by an air of “athleticism, fun, frivolity and determination” that includes thousands of fans, live music throughout the course, a competitive field, and the occasional banana suit costume.
The series consists of events taking place in 26 North American cities each year, with race options ranging from 5K to marathon distances.
Annual Date: Season runs year round with multiple locations.
- As implied in the name, every Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon has live music throughout the course. Big names come in to play for the runners and the spirited fans – Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows, anyone?
- The accessibility of this race is a huge bonus. Multiple locations and dates throughout the year make this race feasible for just about anyone to enter.
- All of the races contribute to charitable causes, such as the St. Jude Children’s Foundation and the American Association for Cancer Research.
An endurance run located in Cool, California. Enough said.
Annual Date: The first Saturday in March.
- This is the perfect race for someone looking to step into the world of ultra marathons. The 50K distance is not astronomically greater than a marathon, and this particular course has relatively low elevation gain (4,851 ft total) compared to others.
- The popularity of this race gives it an atmosphere akin to road races, with spirited aid stations and a fun-loving crowd.
- The single track trail has spectacular views of the Northern California landscape, and sections of the trail take you along the famous Western States course.