32 Must-Do January/February Races Across The U.S.

Pacific West

Avalon Benefit 50-Mile Run
Jan. 11, Avalon, Calif.


At 5 a.m., you can either continue sleeping or get up and burn approximately 5,000 calories while circumnavigating an island in an ultra-distance run. Choose the latter and find your inner beast as you take on this 50-mile jaunt around beautiful Santa Catalina Island off the coast of Dana Point. Runners get to experience the innate beauty of the flora and fauna native to this spectacular island while following a course free from the hustle and bustle of city life. The run benefits the Avalon Hospital, high school scholarships, Catalina Conservancy and the Bill Putnam Health Care Fund—plenty of good reasons to stomp some island ground. Grab a headlamp and a ferry pass and kick off 2014 with a bang!

Carlsbad Marathon and Half Marathon
Jan. 19, Carlsbad, Calif.


This is one of San Diego’s best events, one that highlights the stunning North County coastline and other undeniable reasons to visit Southern California. The course follows the oceanfront, hitting a maximum elevation of only 308 feet. Starting in Carlsbad and venturing into north Encinitas, the race starts and finishes near Carlsbad Village and all of its beachy shops and restaurants. Participants can enjoy the health and lifestyle expo to brush up on the latest in fitness gear and apparel at the finish. For those overachievers, this event is the first step in earning the coveted San Diego Triple Crown medal (which also includes the La Jolla Half Marathon in April and the AFC Half Marathon in August).

Surf City USA Marathon and Half Marathon
Feb. 2, Huntington Beach, Calif.


Considered one of the best half-marathon courses in the country, this event offers world-class views of Pacific Coast Highway and the Southern California coastline. Starting and finishing near the Waterfront Beach Resort, the race offers the full beach experience, with a finish-line festival next to the waves of the Pacific Ocean. For those who dig new race hardware and bragging rights, the surfboard “Maverick” medals are enough to make any out-of-towner swoon with SoCal-inspired excitement.

Mermaid Half Marathon
Feb. 8, San Diego


Discover Mission Bay and feel the offshore breeze under your fins as you cruise around Fiesta Island and finish in Tecolote Shores. Offering both 10K and 5K distances, the event is good for divas of all capabilities. The Mermaid Series embraces the “mermaid athlete” in every women—so grab a girlfriend or two and tackle this flat and fast course, good for runners and walkers alike. Don’t forget—packet pick-up is at Sports Authority in Carmel Mountain on Thursday, Feb. 6 and Mission Bay Hilton on Friday, Feb. 7.

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