Xterra Monte Sano Trail Run
Jan. 11, Huntsville, Ala.
If you’re itching to up your running ante from road to trail, 15K (or 5K) of rocky off-road terrain will do the trick at this Alabama race. The Xterra Monte Sano Trail Run is not for the faint of heart and promises a challenge for even the most cardio-ready trail runners. The course runs through Monte Sano State Park, and the rocky loop is sure to test your balance and agility. For those undeterred by the course demands, this race is the perfect fit for your adventurous side. The top three finishers in each category (determined by age) will receive a finisher medal—but be sure to stick around, as you must be present to win the bling.
Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon
Feb. 2, New Orleans
Mardi Gras comes early during this race, taking runners down beads-in-the-trees St. Charles Avenue. Revel in the sites, smells and sounds of the French Quarter—the beignets are calling your name! For those ambitious enough to tackle the full, experience a splendid tour of City Park and Lake Pontchartrain during those sometimes grueling last few miles. But all is worth it when you finish at Roosevelt Mall and spend the remaining hours exploring Bourbon Street.
Miracle Match Marathon
Jan. 26, Waco, Texas
It all started with one run-loving Waco firefighter who dreamed of hosting a race. The Miracle Match Marathon benefits the Scott & White Marrow Donor program that seeks to match donors with potential recipients. If the cause alone isn’t enough of a motivator, perhaps the finish-line fiesta will nudge your registration. There will be free margaritas, beer, wine, fajitas and live music waiting for you. All participants will receive a finisher medal designed by a stem cell donor and Waco Fire Department equipment operator. Run for a good cause and party like it’s 2014 at this event. Firefighter uniforms not required.
Rocky Raccoon 100/USA Trail Championships
Feb. 1, Huntsville, Texas
The Rocky Raccoon 100 doesn’t disappoint, with a course that trudges through the most beautiful Texas landscape. The weekend in Huntsville State Park will be one to remember, starting from your packet pick-up on Friday night to your early start Saturday morning. With a 30-hour time limit, this race requires a stellar nutrition plan and good all-night mental vibes. The idyllic course comprises five 20-mile loops on singletrack trails and jeep roads amid pine forests and the open fields of the state park. Doubling as the USA 100-Mile Trail Championships in 2014, this race, which offers a $1,000 first prize, will attract some of the country’s best trail runners.