Spring is, depending on where you live, either here or very much on its way, and there’s no better way to celebrate the warmer weather and longer days than by getting out and running!
Wait, scratch that. There is one way that’s even better—taking part in a fun spring race. And I’ve scoured the internet for a few that should get you ready to slip on your sneakers and pin on a race number.
One note—at this point in the year, many of these races have already sold out. (See? I told you they were great!) But, if spring is an inspirational season for you, they’re worth putting on the ol’ calendar for next year. Just remember to register early!
Spring Races Worth Running
1. Spring Lake 5 Mile Run, May 26 in Spring Lake, New Jersey. Can I get a fist pump? This race signals the start of summer at Jersey Shore for many local runners, and has done so since its start in 1977 when 500 runners lined up to race. The small town race grew quickly, and now has a strict limit of —wait for it—10,000 runners. Status for 2012: Sold out
2. Crescent City Classic 10k, April 7 in New Orleans. Looking for a race that’ll give you a good excuse to party? Here you go! The race begins at Jackson Square and ends at Audubon Park, so you get a great tour of the sights while you run, and the 20,000 people running with you are sure to make it a happenin’ party atmosphere. Now, it does draw top runners from all over, but its tagline is “New Orleans’ favorite walk, run, eat, drink, party tradition,” so whatever your ability level, you’ll fit right in. Status for 2012: Open!
3. Urban Bike Adventures, April 28 in San Francisco (with other dates around the country). If you prefer your races with a healthy dose of brain stimulation, this is the one for you. You create a two- or three-person team, then ride around the city on a scavenger hunt, finding items in whatever order you like. Of course, there’s a prize for the team that finishes first, but there are also prizes for things like best costume and most unnecessary mileage. And this race takes place throughout the year in cities all over the U.S., so if San Fran isn’t an easy trip for you, it’s simple to find one that is. Status for 2012: Open!
4. Big Sur International Marathon, April 29 in Big Sur, California. This race is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful marathons in the country, if not the world. You’ll run past incredible redwoods and see picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean, which is practically guaranteed to help you focus on something other than the pain. But, if 26.2 miles isn’t really your jam, there are other marathon-related activities, including a 21-mile power walk, 5K run, 9-mile walk, 10.6-mile walk, marathon relay, and Just Kids 3K. Status for 2012: Some events sold out; see site for details
5. Boston Marathon, April 16 in Boston. Are you a serious runner with a bucket list of marathons you must complete? Surely Boston is on the list. But, it’s a great race for even less serious runners to aspire to—just qualifying is pretty freaking awesome and worthy of a bit of bragging, if you ask me. One word of warning, though—the standards to qualify for the race next year are going to be tighter, so, you might want to start training, like, now. Status for 2012: Very much closed, but you can start applying for next year in September!
Are there any spring races you’ve done or are dying to try? Let’s hear them! —Kristen