Racing this time of the year is largely a function of where you live. For some, the cold and slippery weather limits outdoor time. But for others, it’s the best season to enjoy cool temperatures and low humidity. No matter where you live, though, it’s always a good time to add races to your calendar and keep you training through the last of winter and into spring.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington DC
March 12; Washington, D.C.
Get a close-up view of the nation’s capital at this Rock ‘n’ Roll event, which features both a full and half marathon (and 5K) that hit all the major sights in town. This being a Rock ‘n’ Roll race, expect a course lined with live music, local bands and cheer teams to keep you going strong.
March 12–13; Asheville, N.C.
Choose from the half on Saturday or the full marathon on Sunday; either way you’ll enjoy running through America’s largest backyard at the Biltmore Estate, the 250-room French Renaissance chateau built by the Vanderbilt family. Both races stay within the private grounds of the property, which was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
March 20; Atlanta
In its 10th year, the Georgia Marathon was purchased by the Atlanta Track Club, which organizes more than 30 events in the city. The race starts and finishes at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta and offers a loop course that explores much of the city.
April 24; Bend, Ore.
After a successful inaugural year, the Bend Marathon and Half returns to the Oregon mountain town. The route along the Deschutes River and the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway is about 90 percent pavement, 10 percent trail. The first half climbs about 500 feet, but mostly finishes with a fast downhill.
Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon
April 30; Louisville, Ky.
Before Churchill Downs is filled with fancy hats and mint juleps, Louisville welcomes runners from all over the country for a race that takes a bit longer than two minutes. The loop course features a tour of many of the city’s neighborhoods as well as a lap inside the Churchill Downs track. Be sure to bet on yourself!
Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon
May 1; Cincinnati, Ohio
You might snicker at the name, but the Flying Pig Marathon celebrates its 18th running this year and is regarded as one of the strongest races in the Midwest. The weekend is full of races, and runners can even challenge themselves by completing the “4-way,” which includes a 5K and 10K on Saturday followed by the full marathon on Sunday.