The rallying cry among some in the running world is to “Bring back the mile!” And they’re not just talking about the track.
Mile road races are a great way to see just how fast you are, and there are several across the country that offer fast courses, scenery, raucous crowds and more.
Whether you want to ease into road racing gently or just want to hammer it for 5,280 feet, these races across the U.S. give you the opportunity to go hard in the classic race distance:
Fifth Avenue Mile
One of the jewels of the New York Roadrunners schedule, The Fifth Avenue Mile in September covers 20 blocks of the iconic street bordering the east side of Central Park in New York City. It starts near East 80th street and finishes near East 60th street. The course is a slight downhill the first and third quarter-miles, a slight uphill the second quarter mile, and flat the last quarter mile. The professional races attract big names and in 2015 was televised in ESPN2. In all, more than 6,000 runners participate. (Photo: Courtesy NYRR)
Medtronic Twin Cities 1 Mile
A fast mile on 12 city blocks in downtown Minneapolis, this race is typically on a weeknight in May and doubles as the USATF 1-mile road championship—which attracts the best mile road racers in the country among the 2,500 total participants. The point-to-point race travels through a lively part of downtown before finishing at the Hennepin Avenue Theater District. (Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image)
Hoka One One State Street Mile
Run every June in Santa Barbara, Calif., this race is a gradual downhill mile through downtown Santa Barbara with no turns—a straight shot from start to finish. This year, four runners ran a sub-4-minute mile. Even more impressive was the dog mile, won by Josh Helton and Bro (a lab/pit bull mix) in a blazing 4:15! (Photo: State Street Mile Facebook page)
A point-to-point, downhill mile run on New Years Day in Londonderry, N.H., this is a great way to get the year started with a quick race. Despite the cold New England temperatures in January, fast times are still recorded among the 1,500 participants —two runners in 2014 ran a 3:58. (Photo: Millennium Running)
Pearl Street Mile
A quick exploration of Boulder’s famed Pearl Street area, this out-and-back course starts at 14th street near the Pearl Street Mall and makes its way down the lively street before shooting north to Spruce Street and heading back toward the start. As Boulder is the home of many great endurance athletes, the elite fields are often competitive. (Photo: Flatirons Running Events)
Billed as St. Louis’ fastest mile, the downhill Macklind Mile welcomes more than 1,400 runners to Macklind Avenue every June. This family friendly event has a wave for all abilities. Walkers, strollers and even pets are welcome in the recreational wave. Then competitive and elite racers head out before the big finale: the Kids Quarter Mile Dash. (Photo: Macklind Mile)
Run each March in the coastal city just north of San Diego, the Encinitas Mile is an out-and-back course along a scenic stretch of Vulcan Avenue near the Pacific Ocean. Along with the elite heats, there are open and masters heats, a kids mile and even a dog mile (which was won this year by Thomas Whitcomb and his dog Domino in 4:50).