Peachtree Road Race
July 4, Atlanta
This 10K race has been a tradition in Atlanta since 1970. It started with 110 runners (now dubbed the “Original 110”) and now has a cap of 60,000 participants each year. The sheer size of the field leads to enormous crowds cheering you on. It’s quite an experience, and one worth putting on your bucket list.
Crazy 8s 8K
July 9, Kingsport, Tenn.
A fast 8K on a figure-eight course near the Kentucky border, this race dubs itself the “world’s fastest 8K.” It can back that up, too—the world record was set here in 1996 (22:02.3) and lasted 18 years until Stephen Sambu broke it elsewhere in 2014. The women’s 8K record (24:27.7) was set in 2002 at Crazy 8s and still stands.
July 10, Utica, N.Y.
One of the top 15Ks in the country has been going for 38 years and counting. The race has plenty of prize money up for grabs ($7,000 for the winners), but you have to earn it—the point-to-point course has challenging hills throughout.
Beach to Beacon 10K
Aug. 6, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Started by running legend Joan Benoit Samuelson in her hometown, this race has slowly grown to a field of about 6,000 runners—led by some of the fastest elites in the world. The scenic point-to-point course starts near Crescent Beach State Park and finishes at the Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in Maine.
Falmouth Road Race
Aug. 21, Falmouth, Mass.
The 2016 race will be the 44th in its prestigious history, with 12,000 runners on hand to take on the 7-mile course. The race is so popular that a lottery is held in May to determine entries. It also attracts an excellent elite field annually.
CVS Health Downtown 5K
Sept. 18, Providence, R.I.
Since it’s doubled as the USA 5K Championships in recent years, this race has been full of running’s biggest names—Shalane Flanagan, Molly Huddle, Ben True, Diego Estrada and Matt Tegenkamp have all won in the past eight years. For age-groupers, the race is a charming run through downtown Providence, passing the Rhode Island State House among other landmarks.
early October, Arlington, Va.
Starting near the Pentagon, runners cross the Arlington Memorial Bridge into Washington and run along the National Mall, seeing some of the U.S.’s most famous landmarks. The 32-year-old race gives out a finisher coin to all participants.
Baltimore Running Festival 5K
Oct. 17, Baltimore
As part of the Baltimore Running Festival, the ShopRite 5K starts just after the Baltimore Marathon (at the same start line) and finishes with a run down Eutaw Street adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles. All finishers get a race medal and Under Armour performance shirt.
Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Chicago
Oct. 30, Chicago
According to Running USA, no 5K in the United States is larger than the Chicago Hot Chocolate event—in 2014, there were 29,300 participants for the 5K alone (and another 16,000 for the 15K on the same day). The course takes runners through downtown Chicago with the finish line in Grant Park, where a post-race party with lots of hot chocolate awaits.
YMCA Turkey Trot
Nov. 24, Buffalo, N.Y.
The longest-running road race in the United States, the 2016 edition will be the 121st consecutive Thanksgiving Day run. The 8K doesn’t stop for anything—not even an enormous blizzard in 2000 that buried the city could slow down the 14,000 runners.
Manchester Road Race
Nov. 24, Manchester, Conn.
Perhaps the most renowned Thanksgiving Day race on a holiday full of them, this 4.7-mile race welcomes 13,000 runners and offers more than $50,000 in prizes. The race is one of the oldest in the U.S., starting in 1927 with only 12 runners.
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