48 Must-Do Dec./Jan. Races Across The U.S.

The Cock-a-Doodle-Shoe, Jan. 18; Saranac, N.Y.

Northeast Region

Santa–Will Run For Beer
Dec. 14; Bethlehem, Pa.
runlehighvalley.com/races/run-santa-run

Santa (Mrs. Claus for the ladies) attire is required for this “un-5K” event, aka bar crawl, that serves as Run Lehigh Valley’s year-end event. “Runners” start at 12 p.m. and end at 3 p.m. at the same bar—but the order they hit up the locations in between is up to each drinking beard. For those super speedy chuggers, each bar will offer free beer to the first 20 jolly men (or women) in red suits to flag down the bartender. Prizes will be awarded to the best Santa costumes, and yes, there will be an after-party after the “race.”

Ladies Night Out: Run, Wine and Chocolate
Dec. 14; Newburyport, Mass.
bnseventmanagement.com/events/LadiesNightNewburyport.html

Boasting a 3 p.m. start time, this event is a perfect way to kick off a holiday evening with the ladies. The registration fee includes all-you-can-eat finish-line chocolate and wine—no wonder it caps at 400 participants. Handsome gentlemen are at the red-carpet finish line, ready to congratulate, pose and greet with an accolade of flowers. Sorry guys—this is strictly a ladies-only event. There is, however, the chance to nominate the man in your life at a finish-line volunteer, allowing him to greet you as you cruise through with your girlfriends.

Jingle Bell Half Marathon
Dec. 14; Atkinson, N.H.
jinglebellhalf.com

An inaugural event in the Northeast region, this half marathon has a single-loop, USATF-certified course, running on rolling, rural back roads that showcase the beautiful back country of Atkinson. Tired of traditional electrolyte rest stops? This festive event features a hot cocoa stop to get you through the last few chilly miles. Hosted by the Atkinson Resort and Country Club, the event’s after-party takes place in the resort ballroom, complete with soup, hot cocoa and, of course, beer.

Somerville Jingle Bell Run 5K
Dec. 15; Somerville, Mass.
baevents.com/jinglebell/

Put a little extra jolly in your stride with the 7th annual Somerville Jingle Bell Run 5K, which has sold out in the six previous years. The course starts and finishes in the same location, taking runners on a loop around Davis, Teele, Ball and Magoun Squares. Finishers are equipped with a bottle opener medal—making post-race celebrations a must. Speedsters in each division do not need to be present to claim their prize—awards will be mailed out to all winners after the event, giving you plenty of time to try out your “medal.”

NYRR Midnight Run Presented by Emerald Nuts 4M
Dec. 31; New York City
nyrr.org

Just as the name suggests, the race kicks off the New Year with the first sound of fireworks at 12 a.m.—technically in 2014. But the Dec. 31 party starts with dancing at 10 p.m., followed by a costume contest at 11 p.m.  The 4-mile course starts and finishes in the same location near the 72nd Street Tranverse in Central Park, with cash awards for top-3 male and female finishers. Are you in it to break the course record? Cash is awarded to that ambitious runner as well.

The Cock-a-Doodle-Shoe
Jan. 18; Saranac, N.Y.
cockadoodleshoe.com

Sporting 5K and 10K distances, this snowshoe race is a regional qualifier for the U.S. National Snowshoe Championships on March 1 in Bennington, Vt.. Covering rolling trails throughout the 287-acre New Land Trust area, this event benefits its host: The New Land Trust, which is dedicated to maintaining the property for health and public use. The races are presented by DION Snowshoes, a Vermont snowshoe manufacturer that will offer demo models for new racers. But register early—this event is limited to 100 eager participants. Prizes will be available to winning runners after the event concludes, so you have the chance to walk away with more than snow-soaked smiles.

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