Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:40:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Americans Win Big at Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/rock-n-roll-marathon-series/americans-win-big-rock-n-roll-arizona_161005 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 04:03:08 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=161005

Thomas Puzey (left) won the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon in 2:19:57, while Neely Spence Gracey won the women’s half marathon in 1:12:39. Photos: Bruce Wodder

With most of the country in the throes of winter, thousands of runners took to the streets of Tempe and Phoenix this weekend to participate

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Thomas Puzey (left) won the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon in 2:19:57, while Neely Spence Gracey won the women’s half marathon in 1:12:39. Photos: Bruce Wodder

With most of the country in the throes of winter, thousands of runners took to the streets of Tempe and Phoenix this weekend to participate in one of the American Southwest’s best races: the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon.

Thirty-two-year-old Thomas Puzey of Flagstaff, Ariz., was the first runner to cross the marathon finish line at Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe under cloudy skies and temperatures in the 50s. Puzey’s win was a commanding one with a 2-hour, 19-minute, 57-second finishing time. His nearest competitor, Roosevelt Cook , was over 3 minutes behind in 2:23:48. Third place in the men’s marathon went to Naamn Weldeyohans (2:24:11).

“The East African guys that came out made it a tough day. I didn’t expect to beat them,” said a surprised Puzey, who won the marathon last year. “Luckily it was a long race. I was able to outlast them. After 20 miles, it came down to just making it to the finish line.”

Puzey, who is the father of three young daughters, calls himself a “blue-collar winner” and was happy that he prevailed. “I run to make some bread and I did that today,” he said.

The women’s race was also a solo affair with Bailey Drewes of Ithaca, N.Y., winning in 2:42:50. McKale Montgomery was a full 8 minutes behind in 2:50:54, while Anna Corrigan was third in 2:56:11.

A half marathon was held in conjunction with the full marathon. American Jeffery Eggleston (Boulder, Colo.) broke the tape in a blazing 1:04:50. His nearest rival was Tyler Jermann, who finished over a minute behind in 1:05:57. Harry Dixon rounded out the podium in 1:06:11.

Afterwards, Eggleston, who had made his marathon debut in Arizona back in 2010, said he was pleased with his win.

“I was trying to do a marathon-pace run out there,” he said. “It started out quicker than I wanted it to be. I got a bit excited. The conditions were good overall.”

Eggleston had not run a fall marathon last year and has begun his marathon training in December. He hopes to race 26.2 miles next month in Japan.

“I would like to thank the Rock ‘n’ Roll races for helping me sharpen my knives. I just love coming to these races.”

On Sunday, Eggleston’s wife, Ali Clark Eggleston made her debut and Jeffery said that watching her training for the big race was incredibly motivating. She’s been so dedicated and committed. I’m super proud of her. I can’t wait to give her a kiss at the finish line.“

Neely Spence Gracey (Boulder, Colo.) prevailed in the women’s half marathon with a commanding 1:12:39 win for the 13.1-mile distance. Maor Tiyouri (1:15:47) and Courtney Marie Olsen (1:18:48) took second and third, respectively.

“I’m really pleased with how I did today,” said Spence Gracey, who was running her first race of the year. “I had written out the goals on my hand. There were four of them: to find my rhythm, to focus my mind, and the third was to fight through fatigue, and the fourth was to finish strong. I think I accomplished all of them.”

Spence Gracey said she wasn’t trying to run a specific time, but that she instead wanted to find the right rhythm out on the Arizona course. “I was able to do that. I loved the bands out there. I loved the crowds. I’m glad that I was able to come out there and take part in this big party. I look forward to the next Rock ‘n’ Roll race in New Orleans.”

Elite runners and fast times aside, Sunday’s races was all about the party. Alternative band Toad the Wet Sprocket took to the stage as the headliner for the finish-line festival, getting runners and their families to their feet with their big hit, “All I Want.”

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Thousands of Runners Toed the Start at Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & ½ Marathon http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/photos/thousands-runners-toed-start-rock-n-roll-arizona-marathon-%c2%bd-marathon_160960 Sun, 15 Jan 2017 19:39:43 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160960

More than 23,000 runners from 50 states and 21 countries toed the start line at the 14th annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & ½

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More than 23,000 runners from 50 states and 21 countries toed the start line at the 14th annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & ½ Marathon on Sunday. Thomas Puzey of Flagstaff, Ariz., placed first in the men’s half marathon and Bailey Drewes of Ithaca, N.Y., finished first in the women’s marathon. Jeffrey Eggleston (Boulder, Colo.) and Neely Spence Gracey (Boulder, Colo.) won the men’s and women’s half marathon, respectively. Upon finishing, runners celebrated with family and friends at the finish line festival where alternative rock band Toad the Wet Sprocket took the stage to headline the post race Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series.

Photo Credit: Anthony Cottrell

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Kicks off Marathon Weekend with Saturday 5K and KiDS ROCK http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/photos/rock-n-roll-arizona-kicks-off-marathon-weekend-saturday-5k-kids-rock_160933 Sun, 15 Jan 2017 00:00:38 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160933

Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona kicked off race weekend with the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K on Saturday. Thousands of runners toed the start line,

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona kicked off race weekend with the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K on Saturday. Thousands of runners toed the start line, which took place in Tempe Beach Park. Upon finishing, participants were treated to live music and a beer garden at the finish line festival. Children of all ages also got participate in Saturday’s festivities with the annual KiDS ROCK race, which also started and finished in Tempe Beach Park. Sunday is the main event with the marathon, half marathon and 10K. Participants that ran the 5K and any distance on Sunday will earn the coveted Remix Challenge medal in addition to each race’s finisher medals.

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6 Unique Destination Race Ideas for Your Next Vacation http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/news/6-destination-race-ideas-next-vacation_160921 Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:10 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160921

Photo: Courtesy of Kyoto Marathon

Combine a race with an out-of-town trip.

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Photo: Courtesy of Kyoto Marathon

Going on a trip? Why not do a race, too, in one of these six racing destinations that’ll rouse your inner wanderlust.

RELATED: Why You Should Plan a ‘Runcation’ (And Travel Tips for Runners)

Kyoto Marathon

Feb. 19, Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto-marathon.com/en

In Japan, the Tokyo Marathon receives most of the international spotlight. However, the Kyoto Marathon reveals Japan’s more culturally traditional side. The point-to-point course passes by seven temples and historical sites built centuries ago, finishing near Heian-Jingu Shrine. It also provides scenic views of the five surrounding mountains, and winds through the Kyoto Botanical Gardens, providing a more natural and peaceful contrast to the towering buildings and flashing lights of Tokyo

The Great Wall Marathon

May 21, Tianjin, China
Great-wall-marathon.com

Put this once-in-a-lifetime race on your bucket list, but train as if you’re going to run an ultra-distance mountain race. While it’s “only” a 26.2-mile marathon, it has a ridiculous amount of vertical gain and drop on steep staircases as the Great Wall of China winds through the Chinese countryside.

Great Ocean Running Festival

May 20–21, Victoria, Australia
Greatoceanroadrunfest.com.au

Formerly known as the Great Ocean Road Marathon, this stunning race along Australia’s southernmost coastline has expanded to several races from 1.5K to 60K. Grab a mate and enjoy panoramic views of the ocean in any of the distances.

Rio Maratona

June 18, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Maratonadorio.com.br/en

This race will give you the chance to see Rio de Janeiro you saw on Olympic broadcasts last summer. The course passes by the sandy shores of Ipanema and Copacabana and 2016 Olympic venues, with lively crowds that give this race a party atmosphere. Views of the impressive and towering Christ the Redeemer statue welcome runners at the finish, where the real party begins.

Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon

Aug. 19, Reykjavik, Iceland
Marathon.is/reykjavik-marathon

Travelers have discovered the stunning beauty of Iceland’s snow-covered mountains, glaciers and other natural features. Luckily for runners, Iceland also has a marathon in the country’s small but captivating capital. After the race, celebrate with locals at Culture Night, a festival with live music, food and beer and a fireworks show.

Kauai Marathon

Sept. 3, Kauai, Hawaii
Thekauaimarathon.com

Starting from Poipu, the course makes its way out to the coastline where picturesque beaches and rugged volcanic peaks come into view before heading into the island’s lush tropical forests. The highlight comes in last few miles on the climb to the finish at Kukui’ula Resort.

Cape Town Marathon

Sept. 17, Cape Town, South Africa
Capetownmarathon.com

The breathtaking course of this race starts in Green Point Urban Park near the sea and takes runners along Cape Town Harbor, through the city, along the tree-lined streets of the outlying neighborhoods below Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain, and past iconic landmarks in the city center before finishing in Cape Town Stadium.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Montreal Marathon

Sept. 23-24, Montreal, Canada
Runrocknroll.com

Rock out on the streets of Quebec’s largest city in one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series international races. (Other race distances included a 1K, 5K, 10K and half marathon.) Running through the streets, you’ll experience neighborhoods with cobblestoned, French colonial influences that’ll mentally place you in Europe, and not just across the border.

Berlin Marathon

Sept. 24, Berlin, Germany
Bmw-berlin-marathon.com/en

This flat and fast course has been the site of nine world records over the past 18 years. The course winds through the Berlin metropolis and starts and finishes near Brandenburg Gate, the city’s iconic 18th century neoclassical triumphal arch.

RELATED: 6 Adult Running Camp Escapes to Recharge Your Running

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6 Adult Running Camp Escapes to Recharge Your Running http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/features/running-camp-escapes-recharge-running_160918 Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:06 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160918

REI Outessa Summit, Photo: Alice Baker

Retreats that will help you get out of that running rut or give you that much needed "me time."

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REI Outessa Summit, Photo: Alice Baker

If you’re in a running rut or looking to rediscover yourself through running or just want a little “me time,” the following running camps and retreats will help you find what you’re looking for.

RELATED: Why You Should Plan a ‘Runcation’ (And Travel Tips for Runners)

Nike Adult Runners Retreat

Feb. 22–26, Yulee, Fla.
Ussportscamps.com/running/nike

Adult runners of all levels can experience running in an African safari type of environment without having to leave the country. This five-day retreat is hosted at the White Oak Conservation Center in Florida, a 700-acre land preservation home to some of Africa’s most endangered species. Runners will have access to 25 miles of the center’s dirt roads and receive guidance from Coach Roy Benson, whose program develops personalized training plans for an upcoming goal race using his Effort Based Training method. Also, campers go on a group wildlife tour of the grounds.

Wilder Running & Writing Retreats

May 26–29 (women only), Aug. 25–28 (men and women), Sisters, Ore.
Wilderrunning.com

This three-day retreat organized by professional runner and author Lauren Fleshman is designed to plow through writer’s block, overcome running ruts and open runner-writer’s eyes to how both of their passions can overlap and influence each other. Author and sociologist Marianne Elliott offers her expertise in writing, while former professional runner and entrepreneur Lauren Fleshman takes attendees through carefully planned runs designed to both challenge and inspire your writing. In order to attend, each attendee is selected based on an extensive application process, matching personalities together for small group interaction.

Mammoth Running Escape

August, Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
Deenakastor.com/escape

Three-time Olympian Deena Kastor will be leading this running camp, but the program is less about hardcore training and running fast, and more about overall running wellness. Hence, the camp is a mix between sport, relaxation and fun that includes non-running activities like a cooking class led by Kastor, delicious post-run brunches, a sunset uphill race, and an insightful discussion about adding positivity to your life. The program is all-inclusive and meant for all levels of runners—and more importantly, reflects what Kastor believes to be the key ingredients to running success.

Hut Run Hut

July/August, Aspen, Colo.
Hutrunhut.com

This six-day run covers 100 miles from Aspen to Vail, Colo., traversing a portion of the Rockies while resting at five of the secluded 10th Mountain Division Hut Association structures, remotely nestled at 11,000 feet. The intimate adventure—only 11 spots are available, plus five running guides—is open to “anybody that is up for the challenge,” according to their site. But be aware that this run requires 10 to 25 miles of running each day at elevations between 9,000 to 13,000 feet. Otherwise, look forward to a warm rustic hut and gourmet high-mountain dinners (like grilled lamb chops and lemony kale salad) every night for a week after a long yet satisfying day of running.

REI Outessa Summit

July (Northern California), August (Pacific Northwest), September (Northeast)
Outessa.com

Although this three-day women’s-only outdoor summit isn’t strictly a running camp—with opportunities to participate in beginner to advanced climbing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, yoga, kayaking, and gourmet campfire cooking activities too—it does include plenty of trail running within a stunning alpine setting. From quick sunrise mountain runs to night runs through forested paths as well as opportunities to run with professional trail runners like Stevie Kremer and Magdalena Lewy-Boulet on every outing, this camp is perfect for the well-rounded wild woman seeking adventure.

Running With the Bruces

July/August, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Stephandbenbruce.com

Husband and wife professional running duo Stephanie and Ben Bruce lead this four-day Training Camp in their home city of Flagstaff. According to the camp description on the Bruces’ website, “The camp has no speed limits and is open to all levels of ability.” Nonetheless, expect drills and stride sessions, and a focus on improving form early on in the camp that aims to make you a more efficient runner than before. Trainees will also have access to the Bruces’ masseuse and chiropractor for bodywork and assessment, along with the endless dirt trails among the aspens and pine trees of this quaint mountain town.

RELATED: 6 Unique Destination Race Ideas for Your Next Vacation

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Why You Should Plan a ‘Runcation’ (And Travel Tips for Runners) http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/features/go-runcation-travel-tips-runners_160913 Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:00:01 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160913

The Great Ocean Marathon in Victoria, Australia. Photo: Courtesy of Great Ocean Running Festival

Make a trip out of your next big run and become a pro at traveling for races.

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The Great Ocean Marathon in Victoria, Australia. Photo: Courtesy of Great Ocean Running Festival

You’ve probably had some memorable runs on just about every vacation you’ve ever been on, but have you ever planned a vacation almost solely around running?

Planning a “runcation” is like any other vacation, except the trip’s main attraction is a race, a running camp or other running-related event. Instead of packing the usual travel essentials, you’ll be stuffing your suitcase with running clothes and shoes, Body Glide, and all the chews, bars and liquids (within TSA regulations) you can possibly fit.

But what makes a runcation more exciting than a regular trip is the ability to view a new place from an entirely different perspective than if you weren’t traveling there to run. Running frees you from the tourist traps and allows you to explore the secret nooks and crannies of a city or discover an outdoor wonder.

It also makes you feel better after a trip. Ever come back home feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation? A runcation, especially one centered around a running camp, retreat or race, can actually make you feel more rejuvenated, motivated and fit than before you left. And because that’s what a vacation should be about—tending to both your physical and mental health and wellness—we’ve put together a guide of running camps and race destinations (mostly outside of the U.S.) to mark down on your 2017 calendar, and inspire your best (and healthiest!) running adventure yet.

5 Quick Travel Tips for Runners

1. Pack light.

The best part of running apparel these days is that everything is lightweight and made of quick-drying fabrics. So no need to bring every pair of running shorts and tees you own—a pair of shorts, a couple tops and a light weatherproof jacket can last you an entire week.

2. Bring a large plastic bag.

This will come in handy for muddy or wet runs, and sweaty clothing you need to pack away right after use.

3. Carry on running clothes and shoes.

If you’re flying, pack a running outfit, shoes and other essentials, like meds, in your carry-on. If your checked bag doesn’t arrive with your or gets lost, at least you have what you need to run.

4. Stand and walk around the airport as much as possible.

You’ll be doing plenty of sitting on the plane. Plus, it sets an active tone for the rest of the trip.

5. Make running a part of your itinerary.

If you’re attending a running camp, then this is a no-brainer. But if you’re going for a race or just want to incorporate running into the trip, then you’ll be held more accountable when you’ve made it part of your schedule, just like at home.

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25 Fun Half Marathons You’ll Want to Run This Year http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/features/25-fun-half-marathons-want-to-run-this-year_160901 Thu, 12 Jan 2017 13:00:49 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160901

Our favorite can't-miss 13.1-milers in 2017.

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500 Festival Mini-Marathon

Running 13.1 miles is far and away the most popular racing distance nowadays. Sure, it’s considered an ideal amount of miles to run, both because it’s still a big challenge but not overwhelmingly so like a marathon. Here are our favorite can’t-miss halfs in 2017. Because the distance is so popular, sign up quickly for the ones you want to run.

RELATED: 25 Must-Do American Marathons in 2017

Key West Half Marathon

Jan. 15, Key West, Fla.
Keywesthalfmarathon.com

Key West is known for its laid-back attitude, so you can’t be too disappointed if you don’t hit a PR at this 19th annual event that draws 2,500 people each year to the island that’s closer to Cuba than Miami. Runners will enjoy a flat and fast course that tours both downtown Key West as well as scenic parts of the island, with ocean views nearly the entire route.

3M Half Marathon

Jan. 22, Austin, Texas
3mhalfmarathon.com

More than 7,000 runners will converge on the Texas capital for this 22nd annual race. The course features rolling hills—but with a net drop of about 500 feet on this point-to-point course, you’ll find yourself going downhill much of the way. The route offers a good taste of Austin, with both funky neighborhoods, the urban downtown and the University of Texas campus all featured prominently.  

Humana Rock ’n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon

Feb. 5, New Orleans
Runrocknroll.com

The Big Easy is known for its parties. This one just happens to take place across 13.1 miles in one of the country’s most unique cities. Enjoy getting a taste of Cajun culture on this point-to-point half marathon course with lots of local musicians along the route. The post-race party at City Park is sure to do New Orleans proud, and you can enjoy all the French Quarter has to offer before and after your run.

 

San Francisco Half Marathon

San Francisco Half Marathon

Feb. 5, San Francisco
Getfitkpsf.com

Considered one of the most scenic half marathons in the U.S., the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon has been named the road race of the year by the Road Runners Club of America. Most of the course is run in Golden Gate Park and along the Great Highway, with incredible ocean and city views the entire way. The point-to-point route is relatively flat, with a net drop in elevation.

Alamo 13.1

March 19, San Antonio, Texas
Alamo131.com

Be ready to run when the muskets are fired at the Alamo in San Antonio. This popular half marathon starts and finishes at the historic Texas site, and runners will follow a route that offers some of the best cultural icons in the city. After the race, the beer will be flowing at the Alamo to celebrate the finish.

Mercer Island Half Marathon

March 19, Mercer Island, Wash.
Mercerislandhalf.com

This race just outside of Seattle celebrates its 45th anniversary this year—and you can understand why it continues to be so popular. Held on an island in Lake Washington between Seattle and Bellevue, the race makes a full loop of the island. Runners can expect rolling hills the entire way, with a couple of steeper climbs and descents, plus excellent views.

United Airlines NYC Half

March 19, New York City
Nyrr.org

This half marathon through Manhattan has quickly become nearly as popular as the full marathon through the city’s five boroughs in the fall. That means you’ll most likely need to win a lottery spot or raise money for charity to enter. But if you get a coveted spot, you get to run 13.1 miles New York—including right through Times Square.

Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon

April 1, Springfield, Ill.
Runabe.srrc.net

You don’t need to be a Civil War buff to enjoy the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon, which offers a tour of historic sites in Springfield. This year the race celebrates its 53rd running, and while the first half is relatively flat, the second half offers some hilly terrain, at least by Illinois standards. Participants run past the Old State Capitol, the Lincoln Law Office and the only home Lincoln ever owned.

Chick-Fil-A Connect Half Marathon

April 1, Athens, Ga.
Cfahalf.com

Athens, home to the University of Georgia, hosts this annual half marathon that offers runners a tour of the city and much of the campus on this loop course. You’ll find mostly rolling hills along the way, with a big climb between miles 7 and 8, but nothing too outrageous.

 

Star Wars Half Marathon

Star Wars Half Marathon—The Dark Side

April 23, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Rundisney.com

The ability to finish a half marathon is insignificant next to the power of the Force. Expect to hear this and other Star Wars tributes from fans who have not one but two themed races to choose from at the Walt Disney World Resort this year. The Light Side focuses on the good guys, but everyone knows the Dark Side is more fun—if only to see people running a half marathon dressed in full Darth Vader costume.

500 Festival Mini-Marathon

May 6, Indianapolis
Indymini.com

One of the largest half marathons in the U.S., this race draws 35,000 runners each year to Indianapolis. The course highlights the downtown neighborhoods while also taking a lap on the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 41st annual race is part of the city’s month-long celebration of the Indianapolis 500, and it traditionally draws a strong elite field as well as runners from across the country.

Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon

May 7, Portland, Ore.
Terrapinevents.com

This celebration of Mexico takes place in Portland, starting and finishing at Pioneer Courthouse Square while hitting most of the downtown neighborhoods, including Chinatown, the Pearl District and Slabtown. Live music will be found all along the scenic course, and the post-race party will feature drinks from Lagunitas and Two Towns Cider, plus plenty of food.

Yosemite Half Marathon

May 13, Bass Lake, Calif.
Yosemitehalfmarathon.com

Not that you need an excuse to visit one of the country’s most beautiful National Parks, but the Yosemite Half Marathon gives you just that. The first 5 miles are on somewhat rugged fire roads and trail. Miles 6 to 10 are on paved roads and feature a significant descent, with the last few miles on relatively flat roads around Bass Lake.

 

Boston's Run to Remember

Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon

May 29, Boston, Mass.
Bostonsruntoremember.com

This 13th annual race in downtown Boston honors first responders that have been killed in the line of duty, and money raised is donated to local children’s charities. The race, which draws more than 9,000 runners, starts at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center and takes runners past many of the city’s historic sites along the way.

Covered Bridges Half Marathon

June 4, Woodstock, Vt.
Cbhm.com

What better way to tour rural Vermont than by running one of the state’s most scenic half marathons? The Covered Bridges Half Marathon starts in the small town of South Pomfret and features a point-to-point course that follows the Ottauquechee River through farmland and several notable covered bridges along the route. The race finishes in Quechee where you can enjoy food and live music.

 

Run the Rockies Half Marathon

Run the Rockies Half Marathon

June 3, Frisco, Colo.
Townoffrisco.com

This 41st annual race isn’t for the faint of heart, but runners up for a challenge are in for a treat. Frisco sits above 9,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains just west of Denver, so be prepared for the light air. The course is on both paved roads and dirt mountain bike trails, and 75 percent of the race is downhill, which should help those lungs a bit. The views of the Rockies should also help distract you.

Twilight Half Marathon

July 8, Vancouver, Wash.
Twilighthalf.com

If you’re not an early-morning runner, this race is for you. This flat and fast half marathon starts at 6 p.m., which means you’ll finish and enjoy the post-race party in the twilight of a summer evening in “The Couve.” As an added bonus, the pounding beats of The Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers will rev you up at the start.

Humana Rock ’n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon

July 16, Chicago
Runrocknroll.com

The Rock ’n’ Roll tour returns to Chicago for its ninth year of this popular race that brings people from all over the country to the city. Starting in Grant Park, the race takes runners among the downtown skyscrapers and the River North, Loop and Streeterville neighborhoods. Runners then head south before returning to downtown via the Lakefront, making for one of the great finishing views in the country.

Minnesota Half Marathon

Aug. 5, St. Paul, Minn.
Minnesotahalfmarathon.com

This half marathon in Minnesota’s state capital is unique for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that you don’t have to run it. That is, there’s an in-line skate race over the same course if you’d rather roll the 13.1 miles. But for runners, the out-and-back loop course along the Mississippi River provides an excellent way to see St. Paul and much of the green space that marks the city.

Madison Mini Marathon

Aug. 19, Madison, Wis.
Madisonminimarathon.com

This half marathon offers a scenic tour of downtown Madison and the University of Wisconsin campus. Participants will run past the Capitol building, Camp Randall Stadium and the Henry Vilas Zoo on a clockwise loop around the city. The 14th Mile post-race party is held at the Memorial Union Terrace, which overlooks Lake Mendota. Enjoy plenty of refreshments from the Wisconsin Brewing Company.

Pier to Peak Half Marathon

Sept. 3, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Runsantabarbara.com

This race dubs itself the “world’s toughest half marathon,” and there aren’t many races that will dispute it. The race starts at sea level on Stearns Wharf and climbs nearly 4,000 feet to the top of La Cumbra Peak. You at least have some flat terrain through downtown Santa Barbara before the grueling climbing begins. There’s a free ride back down after the race.

Rockfest Half Marathon

Oct. 1, Hampton, N.H.
Hamptonrockfest.com

This annual trek along the New Hampshire coast draws rave reviews from runners. The course features both waterfront running as well as a tour of some of the inland rural areas, and is considered one of the flattest courses in New England—especially helpful for those looking to PR. After the race, runners are treated to local favorites like lobster rolls, clam chowder, Smuttynose beer and Stonyfield yogurt.

Synchrony Financial Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

Oct. 14, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Runrocknroll.com

One of the newer races in the Rock ’n’ Roll series, the Brooklyn race started as a 10K before upping the distance to a half marathon in 2015. The streets of Brooklyn will be filled with bands and other live music as runners take a scenic tour of the borough that ends in Prospect Park.

2016 Rock n Roll LA Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA Oct 30, 2016 Photo: KevinMorris@PhotoRun victah1111@aol.com 631-291-3409 www.photorun.net

Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon

Oct. 29, Los Angeles
Runrocknroll.com

Put on your costume and take to the streets of Los Angeles to participate in the world’s largest Halloween-themed half marathon. Costumes are, of course, optional, but you will have plenty of company if you’re game. The course starts at the Staples Center and finishes at LA Live while giving runners a nice tour of downtown L.A.

GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

Nov. 11-12, Las Vegas
Stripatnight.com

There’s nothing in running that comes close to this race, which runs up and down the famous Las Vegas Strip after dark. (The only other time that Las Vegas Boulevard is closed to traffic is on New Year’s Eve.) There are also 5K, 10K and marathon races and there’s always a major headliner to kick off the evening of racing, as Macklemore, Kid Rock and Snoop Dogg have fired up runners with hour-long concerts before the start in recent years. Viva Las Vegas, baby!

Photos: Courtesy of 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, Courtesy of San Francisco Half Marathon, Courtesy of RunDisney, Courtesy of Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon, Courtesy of Run the Rockies Half Marathon, Kevin Morris

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New NYRR RUNCENTER is Home Away From Home for Runners http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/news/new-nyrr-runcenter-home-away-home-runners_160890 Wed, 11 Jan 2017 23:41:10 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160890

Photo: Courtesy of NYRR

The newly opened facility will serve as a welcome center for area runners, complete with day-use lockers, changing rooms, a New Balance

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Photo: Courtesy of NYRR

Photo: Courtesy of NYRR

(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, Photos: Courtesy of NYRR

New York City runners have a new home away from home at the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the New Balance Run Hub, located on Manhattan’s West Side just two blocks south of Central Park. The newly opened facility will serve as a welcome center for area runners and be the primary bib number pick-up location for New York Road Runner (NYRR) races, and is also a retail store featuring New Balance merchandise. The gleaming space on West 57th Street also features exhibits showcasing NYYR’s history, including TCS New York City Marathon finisher medals, historical photographs and original race posters.

“My absolute favorite thing, and what struck me when I came this morning, is how I see the pictures and recognize the faces, and I remember the events,” said 2016 Olympic 1500m bronze medalist Jenny Simpson who visited the center today. “So, when you become part of the New York Road Runners community, you just feel very much a part of what they are doing. So, the familiarity, the love of the people on the walls, that’s what really struck me when I walked in the door.”

The RUNCENTER has been nearly a decade in the making, officials said, and is the product of a unique partnership between NYRR, America’s largest not-for-profit running race organizer, and New Balance, the Boston-based designer and manufacturer of running shoes and apparel. Last year, the two organizations signed a long-term marketing agreement, paving the way for opening the RUNCENTER.

“We have been talking about building a run center, possibly ten years in the works,” said NYRR president and chief executive officer, Michael Capiraso.  He continued: “The whole idea is to bring the community together.”

Run Center 011117

Set in a long, multi-level space, the RUNCENTER and New Balance Run Hub can be used daily by runners and other visitors. The facility includes 78 day-use lockers, for runners who need to store their belongings while out on a run, and there are four changing rooms. In the NYRR Running Lab, supported by sponsor TCS, there are touch screens to allow runners to search for their TCS New York City Marathon results (from any year), and view weekly race course maps. There is even bleacher-style seating called the Borough Steps, which seat up to 100 runners for events at the running lab, or just to hang out a few minutes prior to their runs. There is even free Wi-Fi provided by TCS.

“We have an incredible partner in New Balance who saw the vision and helped bring it to life,” Capiraso added. Another NYRR official, runner services chief Christine Burke, described the space as “7,000 square feet of runner nirvana.”

Probably the most unique feature of the space is the Run for Life Wall, featuring eight 48″ video touch screens. The wall has an interactive feature with videos of Jenny Simpson, which invite guests to perform exercises with Simpson, mimicking the 2011 world champion’s motions on the screen. Simpson demonstrated the system for the media today.

Finally, the RUNCENTER has a direct charitable component as part of NYRR’s mission to improve the lives of people through running and walking, especially children. Under the “1 For You, 1 For Youth,” program, New Balance will donate a pair of shoes to a participant in one of NYRR’s youth programs for every pair sold in the New Balance Run Hub. NYRR’s free youth running programs serve 215,000 children in nearly 900 schools and community centers in New York City and nationally.

“There’s no better spot,” observed NYRR president of events and TCS New York City Marathon race director, Peter Ciaccia who, like Capiraso, is a longtime runner.  “This will be the hub for runners to come.”

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The Essence of Adventure: How the Mountains Have Influenced My Running http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/trail-running/essence-adventure-mountains-influenced-running_160875 Wed, 11 Jan 2017 21:02:01 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160875

This scene from the Imogene Pass Run in Colorado exemplifies the essence of running adventure—the simple notion that your own two feet can take you to amazing places and lead you to new challanges. Photo: Michelle Smith

How one runner is forever changed after participating in a mountain race in Colorado.

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This scene from the Imogene Pass Run in Colorado exemplifies the essence of running adventure—the simple notion that your own two feet can take you to amazing places and lead you to new challanges. Photo: Michelle Smith

Saturday, Sept. 9, 2000 dawned clear and brisk in the mountains of southern Colorado. I was one of 1,000 runners converging on Main Street in the idyllic mountain town of Ouray for the start of the Imogene Pass Run, a legendary and grueling 17.1 point-to-point race over the San Juan Mountains and down into the ski town of Telluride.

Ouray, aptly nicknamed “the Switzerland of America,” is nestled along the rushing Uncompahgre River and enclosed on three sides by massive mountain faces. The only way in or out of town is either via Highway 550, or by a maze of improbable, burly, rocky dirt roads originally built by intrepid miners during the silver and gold rushes of the late 1800s. The IPR course follows one of these roads 5,400 feet into the sky to the top of 13,114-foot Imogene Pass. This would be one of my longest runs ever, and though I knew that I was committing to a huge effort, I had no idea that I had arrived at the starting line of what would be for me much more than a race.

For the previous decade, much of my life revolved around an oval. As a middle-distance runner at Penn State, I barreled non-stop through a redline haze of anaerobic burn, training throughout the year—on the track, roads and in the gym—for a shot to knock a few seconds off my fastest 800-meter time. After several tough seasons with minimal improvement, I came on strong during my last year as a collegian, tasting enough success to motivate me to continue racing for two more years. As I grew weary of the arduous cyclical grind, something else was calling: The promise of adventure in lands over the western horizon. Like many before and after me, I answered the call, and found myself toeing that line in Ouray.

Boom! We were off, jostling for position on paved roads. Take away the cliffs above town and this start felt oddly similar to scores of mad dash road race starts that I had previously endured. But it was quickly apparent that this was a different beast as pavement gave way to the more rugged dirt of Camp Bird Road to begin the ascent to Imogene Pass.

I paced myself pretty well until the 7-mile mark at tree-line, when suddenly, I was smacked with the reality-check of high altitude mountain running. With heart rate sky high on the steepest part of the course, I was passed by many as skyrocketing heart rate and screaming legs forced me to hike, anathema to a short-distance specialist unfamiliar with accepted trail running tactics. Hitching gags emerged from my throat, and actual tears of delirious agony were shed as I suffered my way ever-upward on the increasingly rugged jeep road. The final 3 miles to the Pass were the longest I had ever experienced.

Then finally, I arrived at the top and a welcome aid station. With the world below my feet, the pain was replaced by a sense of accomplishment different than any I had previously felt. Knowing it was in the bag, the remaining 7.1 miles down Tomboy Road into Telluride felt like atmospheric re-entry as I gleefully ignited the afterburners, surging to a respectful 14th-place finish in my first real mountain run. But what stuck with me most was the feeling that I had experienced a journey of the body, mind, and spirit. I knew then that I would answer the call of outdoor adventure for the rest of my life.

I couldn’t get enough. The next morning, I shook off prolific soreness to charge up the legendary 14,158-foott Mount Sneffels, the monarch that reigns over Telluride. This time, there was no need to run back down, so I basked in the sun for an hour at the summit, absorbing the myriad of peaks around me. I watched raptors soar on thermals overhead, gazed downward into the dark couloirs gashing the northerly aspect of the mountain, and started to dream about all the other places that I wanted to go.

Over the past 16 years, the modes of travel during my journey have diversified, leading me to adopt various technical skills in the pursuit of personal challenges that seemed previously unattainable, like summiting the Grand Teton, climbing desert towers and snowboarding steep mountain faces. For a while, I ran very little to pursue other mountain activities, but have recently come back to trail running for its simplicity as life becomes more complicated with work and a child. To me, the trails deliver the essence of adventure, and all I need is a backpack, a weather-resistant shell, and a good pair of shoes.

Two years ago, I returned to southern Colorado for the Imogene Pass Run; this time in support of my wife Michelle. With our then-infant son in my arms, I joined the throng of spectators lining the final stretch in Telluride. Just as I was imagining the younger, super-aggro me crushing down that last 100 meters years ago, Michelle rounded the corner, her face illuminated with a charge that spoke of the joy of her own journey.

RELATED: How Trail Running Helped This Runner Explore a World Outside

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About the Author:

Jason Smith is the Director of Outdoor and Endurance for Inkwell Media, a social-first content and influencer distribution network based in Boulder, Colo.

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Adidas Rewards Portland Runners with Free Shoes on Record Cold Day http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/news/adidas-rewards-portland-runners-free-shoes-record-cold-day_160826 Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:03:49 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160826

Photo: Courtesy of Adidas

Adidas officials say this is their way of thanking local runners who are sticking to their fitness goals and New Year's resolutions

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Photo: Courtesy of Adidas

As part of Adidas’ “Why I Run Portland” movement, the athletic company passed out free pairs of their performance BOOST and BOUNCE footwear to runners of Portland, Ore., for getting outside and braving the record freezing temps last week.

Adidas representatives drove around in colorful Adidas vans, hitting up popular Portland running spots, including Mt. Tabor, Eastbank Esplanade and Washington Park, where runners were able to try on pairs of the Ultra BOOST, Uncaged, Pure BOOST X, or AlphaBOUNCE styles. In exchange for a new free pair of Adidas running shoes, runners could either choose to donate their current pairs to the Boys & Girls Club of Portland or ship them back home.

Adidas officials said this is their way of thanking local runners who are sticking to their fitness goals and New Year’s resolutions regardless of the weather. “Thank you for running, Portland. You braved the cold, we brought the heat,” was the brand’s message for the day.

RELATED: Adidas Debuts Exclusive $333 3D Printer Running Shoes

RELATED: Adidas Makes Running Shoes from Recycled Ocean Plastic

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8 Ways to Improve Your Daily Diet and Eat Cleaner in 2017 http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/nutrition/8-ways-to-improve-your-daily-diet-and-eat-cleaner-in-2017_160813 Mon, 09 Jan 2017 17:33:33 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160813

You can make this balsamic roasted seasonal vegetables dish with a variety of seasonal crops. Photo: Courtesy of Real Athlete Diets

Eating cleaner is the key to making sure your body has what it needs to run that extra mile.

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You can make this balsamic roasted seasonal vegetables dish with a variety of seasonal crops. Photo: Courtesy of Real Athlete Diets

It’s been 2017 for just over a week and the all or nothing “fresh start” posts clogging social media feeds are already beginning to fade. The effort is valiant for sure, but often hard to follow through on.

If eating cleaner is something you really want, yet find hard to attain, perhaps what’s needed is a different mindset. As a runner, food is your friend; it really is fuel for all you do. Instead of examining your diet to figure out how to “Lose Those Last 5 Pounds!” or “Look Great in Your Running Kit!” look at it as a toolbox for improving run performance. Sounds more enticing, right? Eating cleaner is the key to making sure your body has what it needs to run that extra mile, dig deep for a finish line kick or even head out the door without so many aches and pains. Because the popular adage “you are what you eat,” holds true.

In case you’re wondering what it means to eat clean, ultrarunner and chef Kelly Bailey Newlon, co-founder of Real Athlete Diets (RAD) in Boulder, Colo., has an easy explanation.

“When we hear the term ‘eating clean,’ to us it simply means nothing but real, whole food is used, with nothing packaged or processed added,” says Newlon who takes into consideration the flavor, texture and health benefits of each ingredient (think fresh fruits and vegetables, non-processed grains, meats and seafood) when creating new recipes for her clients.

RELATED: Eat Like an Athlete—A Colorado Food Business that Fuels Performance

Heidi Buttery developed her interest in nutrition in 2013 while training for her first Ironman. She decided to try a whole foods diet and immediately noticed she had less inflammation (aka soreness) and was able to recover faster from workouts. She also slept better and had even energy throughout long workouts and the day. The positive transformation was so profound that she decided to leave her job in the financial industry to become a certified nutrition consultant and help others realize the power of food for living a healthier life.

“By making small, gradual diet changes, people can enhance their lives,” says Buttery, who now councils others through her business Nutrition by Heidi in Redwood City, Calif.

Feeling inspired, but don’t know where to begin? Buttery and Newlon shared some helpful tips to get you started, plus a recipe you can try right now!

RELATED: New Year, New You? Only If You Make It Happen

Boost anti-inflammatory foods

Some of Buttery’s favorites include: coconut oil, wild-caught salmon, spices (like turmeric, cinnamon and cloves) and dark leafy greens. For something sweeter, try fresh pineapple or cherries. According to Buttery, these foods speed up recovery, provide consistent energy and strengthen the immune system via increased blood flow.

Take a high-quality multi-vitamin and fish oil

Athletes generally have a higher requirement for minerals and vitamins than others due to stress placed upon their systems by exercise and heavy training. Even with a healthy diet, it can be hard to get an adequate intake of micronutrients due to a lack of quality topsoil in our farmlands says Buttery. Fish oil is important because it contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which help to reduce inflammation, muscle soreness and joint pain.

Reduce inflammatory oils

Avoiding industrial made oils—such as canola, vegetable, safflower, sunflower and soybean—will boost overall health and reduce muscle soreness.

Reduce dietary sugars

Sugar’s tantalizing hold and empty calories are wreaking havoc on your system. Reducing it, especially when it comes to working out, will help your body shift to burning fat, which is good for your waistline and steady energy. Cutting back on sugar also reduces inflammation and strengthens your immune system. Even when you know the benefits, it may not be easy to ditch your afternoon soda (diet sodas have the same inflammatory effect) or the candy bar fix and late night bowl of ice cream, but the longer you go without, the less you’ll crave it.

Increase consumption of healthy fats

Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, flax, raw nuts and chia seeds have healing properties. Buttery says an added bonus is that they provide steady fuel for longer workouts.

Hydrate!

Drinking water and herbal teas throughout the day will keep your body hydrated and functioning optimally. Staying hydrated ensures your body can transport essential vitamins and minerals throughout and use them for energy.

Upgrade energy bars and drinks

Many manufacturers are incorporating real food into bars and drinks. Look for low-sugar, recognizable and pronounceable ingredients, and bars containing high-quality fats.

Season your food

Season food with sea salt, cracked black pepper, fresh herbs (never dried because, according to Newlon, they have “zero flavor and even less nutritional value”) and lemon zest/juice. Newlon, who is steadfast about seasoning, says both the fresh herbs and the lemon zest provide strong health benefits while also brightening up the flavor of any dish, ditto with salt and pepper.

“If we can stay excited about a way of eating, we are more likely to stay on track, which can only help make for a great race season,” Newlon says. “Eating clean, well-seasoned whole foods provides this.”

Try this build-to-suit, clean-eating recipe from Newlon to fuel winter workouts.

RAD’s Balsamic Roasted Seasonal Vegetables (GF/DF/NF/VEGAN)

For a yield of 4-5 servings, gather 2-3 pounds of seasonal organic vegetables. Use several different kinds and as many colors as possible to add more flavor, texture, antioxidants and micronutrients. For example, different colored carrots, squash, beets, sweet potatoes, red onion, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, etc., depending on what is in season and available.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, rosemary and thyme are nice) *be sure to use fresh herbs and not dried.
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. As you cut your chosen vegetables up, be mindful that they are uniform in size so that they cook evenly. Set the garlic and fresh herbs to the side.

3. Add vegetables to a large bowl. Add all other ingredients except the garlic and fresh herbs and coat evenly. Add to large sheet tray or pan. The pan should be large enough that the vegetables are arranged in one layer. If they are piled on top of each other, this will only steam and not dry roast. Steaming will create uneven cooking as well as result in mediocre flavor.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Remove pan from oven and add garlic. If you add the garlic at the beginning, it is likely to burn. Stir garlic into vegetables and place pan back in oven for an additional 10-15 minutes. Vegetables should be just fork tender.

5. Remove from oven and add herbs just before serving and adjust seasoning if needed.

PHOTOS: Eat Like an Athlete Healthy Cooking Class at Food Lab

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Q&A with the World’s Fastest Elvis and Globetrotter Michael Wardian http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/interviews/qa-worlds-fastest-elvis-globetrotter-michael-wardian_160623 Fri, 06 Jan 2017 23:25:23 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160623

Photo: Jennifer Wardian

We caught up with Mike Wardian and recapped his epic year of running around the world and beating records in 2016.

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Photo: Jennifer Wardian

Michael Wardian, 42, just had maybe the most epic year of running any runner ever has. In addition to running all six World Marathon Majors in 2016—Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York—in a new record average time of 2:31:09, he also competed in a 5K while blindfolded for charity in Boston, ran 42 miles across the Grand Canyon and back in the middle of the night, turned in strong results in 100-mile runs in San Diego, New York City and Chamonix, France, spent a week running pristine trails in Cuba, and ran additional races in New Zealand, Hong Kong, France, Japan, Iceland and on the Spanish island of Menorca. Oh, and Wardian, who works full-time as an international shipping broker, won the GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon in 2:38:04, setting a new world record for the fastest marathon ever run while dressed as Elvis.

Why do you run?

Running is my passion and I think my purpose in that I love kinetically moving through the world under my own power, and seeing the world under my own terms. I run for so many reasons, some of which are freedom, power, health, exploration, sanity, obsession, accomplishment and, of course, pure joy.

What inspires you to run so many races in so many places?

I am inspired to explore the world, meet new people, experience unique cultures, places and styles of competition and see just how far I can push my limits and what I am comfortable with. Racing to me is raw and true and allows me to access places I didn’t think possible. I am fascinated by moving through foreign places under my own power to see what is around the next bend, over the next mountain, down a narrow alley or singletrack trail.

How are you able to recover so quickly between events?

I am asked about recovery a lot, and I think a fair amount of my ability to recover is due to my mindset. I am super motivated to take advantage of every opportunity, and fulfill each obligation, and that means I don’t have the luxury of extended recovery. For me, the act of moving—even light movement—is really helpful for speeding up the recovery process. I also use compression clothes, drink copious amounts of liquids, consume the highest quality food I can find, use Addaday recovery products, get massages and try to stretch and do strength training.

What was the hardest thing about running so fast in an Elvis costume?

The sunglasses bounced the entire race and by the end, after pushing them up the 200th time, I noticed a bit of pain on the bridge of my nose. I was thinking the Elvis wig would be a problem, but it was great during the race. The Elvis suit was dialed in and didn’t bother me too much.  It was hot but not crazy hot, and the crowd’s cheers more than made up for it.

RELATED: Elvis (aka Mike Wardian) Wins Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon

What’s your favorite post-run meal?

If I can get some incredible fresh fruit or a smoothie, that is pretty much heaven for me. If I have access to it, I would love to chase my fruit with an almond butter and honey sandwich on fresh bread. I am addicted to Big Spoon Roasters Almond Ginger almond butter and raw honey.

What’s on tap for 2017?

It’s going to be unbelievable! It will start with the World Marathon Challenge, which entails running marathons on seven continents in just seven days in January. In February, our family will travel to New Zealand, where I will run the Tarawera 100K. I’m definitely planning to run the Boston Marathon and Big Sur Marathon back-to-back again, and then I’ll head to Australia for the Ultra Trail Australia 100K in May. From June to August, there’s a chance I’ll run the Comrades 90K race in South Africa, the Western States 100 in California, Hardrock 100 in Colorado and the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc.

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Why Running and Antibiotics Don’t Always Mix http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/nutrition/running-and-antibiotics-dont-always-mix_160706 Fri, 06 Jan 2017 19:31:12 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160706

Photo: Shutterstock.com

How a certain class of antibiotics could affect your running and potentially put you at greater risk for injury.

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Photo: Shutterstock.com

Cold and flu season is upon us and inevitably, some of us will end up on antibiotics at some point this winter. The faster we can get through whatever bug it is we picked up, the faster we can get back out to training, right?

Yes, except when we’re talking about a certain class of antibiotics, called fluoroquinolones. Commonly known by their prescription names—Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox—this group of antibiotics can have dangerous side effects for runners. Specifically, the drugs can weaken tendons, leading to injury and even rupture.

Terzah Becker, from Longmont, Co., knows this all too well. This fall her physician prescribed a round of Cipro for a urinary tract infection, which she willingly took. “Even though I was aware of the implications, I’ve had UTIs progress to kidney infections so I wasn’t going to mess around,” the 44-year old marathoner says.

A few days into her regimen, the mom of two headed to the track with her children to help them fulfill mileage for their 100-mile club. “I was keeping it nice and easy because I’d noticed some stiffness in my calf muscles,” she says. “But then the kids challenged me to a 100-meter race and I went for it.”

Becker felt a frightening sensation—not quite a pop, but she knew something was amiss. “Suddenly I could barely walk,” she says. “I hobbled my way back around the track just to get the kids three miles total. But for the rest of the weekend I was limping. And because of what I knew about Cipro, I knew I needed to go see my doctor.”

Matthew Sedgley, a sports medicine physician at MedStar Ortho and Sports Medicine in Maryland, says that tendons are at an increased risk for injury both during and after a round of fluoroquinolones. “Like any group of antibiotics, these drugs are very useful but also have side effects,” he says. “This is especially true for athletes who might already have some weakness or degeneration of tendons like Achilles or quadriceps.”

Much of the problem, he says, lies in the fact that patients often receive the medications at urgent care or minute clinic-like settings. “Here the physicians don’t know the patients and their activities and so might not share the warnings,” he says. “If I know a patient is a runner, I always tell them to be cognizant of the potential side effects.”

There have been enough complaints about the damage associated with the drug class that the FDA actually strengthened its warnings about it this past summer. The agency added a “blacked box warning” to the antibiotics—its most serious—for their effects on tendons, joints, muscles and nerves. The warning points out that adverse effects can occur anywhere from a few hours to weeks after taking the medications.

Physical therapist Heather North, DPT, of Boulder, Colo., has treated several patients who have suffered tendon damage while on fluoroquinolones over the years. “The drugs destroy the tendons’ ability to regenerate normally,” she explains. “The Achilles is a very typical spot to see the damage because it takes so much force.”

For patients who experience minor damage, North can usually have them back up and running within a few weeks. “But for a full rupture, athletes are looking at losing a good year off running,” she says. “It’s an awful situation.”

RELATED: Are Antibiotics Safe for Athletes?

The Right Course of Action

So what should you do if you are prescribed a fluoroquinolone? You have a couple of options, says Sedgley. “There’s almost always a medication alternative,” he says. “People have allergies to drugs, for instance, and have to make other choices.”

As an educated consumer, it’s important to share that you’re a runner with your physician and ask about alternatives. “This is particularly important if you are on any type of steroids, which in combination with these antibiotics, makes you that much more vulnerable,” Sedgley points out.

In some cases, however, the physician will rule that fluoroquinolones are the best option. The FDA’s new warning suggest that physicians reserve the drugs for cases when no other options are available for acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis and urinary tract infections. The agency stated that the risks generally outweigh the benefits of the medications.

If you find you are prescribed a fluoroquinolone with no other options, bide your time wisely, say both North and Sedgley. “It’s a very individual response, but generally, take it easy,” North says. “Avoid quick movements, bounding and jumping for a while.”

Sedgley agrees. “Most of the risk comes from eccentric movements, when the muscle is fired and lengthened,” he explains. “So downhill running can be a problem.”

If you are concerned, take a couple of weeks to lay low and concentrate on exercises that involve concentric, or muscle shortening, movement. A bicep curl is an example of this type of exercise.

In Becker’s case, a few weeks of downtime did the trick after feeling that ominous sensation at the track. “I got in to see my doctor a few days after the incident, and by then I was walking fine, though my tendon and calf were still both very stiff,” she says. “He probed my tendon and found nothing damaged. This was very reassuring, and he advised me to refrain from running for another week.”

Becker spent a couple of weeks swimming and doing time on the elliptical just for safe keeping, then eased back into running. Both she and her physician felt Cipro was the right course of action, in spite of the tendon scare. “I wouldn’t hesitate to use the drug again if I had a UTI,” she says. “But I’d probably back off running while on it.”

RELATED: Should You Train When You’re Sick?

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9 Great Running Books You Should Be Reading Right Now http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/photos/9-great-running-books-your-should-be-reading-right-now_160739 Fri, 06 Jan 2017 19:00:23 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160739

Some of the best running books of 2016 and a few new ones released in 2017.

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Looking for a good book to start the new year? Here are some of the best running books of 2016 and a few new ones released in 2017.

RELATED: The 25 Greatest Running Books of All-Time

Olympic Collision: The Story of Mary Decker and Zola Budd by Kyle Keiderling, $28 The Endurance Diet: Discover the World's Greatest Athletes' 5 Core Habits to Look, Feel and Perform Better by Matt Fitzgerald, $17 Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight, $29 Complete Training Journal and Believe Logbook by Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas, $21 and $18 The Born Again Runner: A Guide to Overcoming Excuses, Injuries, and Other Obstacles―for New and Returning Runners by Pete Magill, $19 Grand Trail: A Magnificent Journey to the Heart of Ultrarunning and Racing by Frederic Berg and Alexis Berg, $45 Rocket Fuel by Matthew Kadey, RD, $23 The Haywire Heart by Chris Case, John Mandrola, MD, and Lennard Zinn, $25 The River Road by Dennis Barker, $14

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7 Ways My Dog is a Better Runner than Me http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/news/7-ways-my-dog-is-a-better-runner-than-me_160686 Fri, 06 Jan 2017 18:38:03 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160686

Author Rachel Toor admires the fact that Helen, her most frequent running partner, doesn’t whine about being tired, sore, hungry, cold, hungover or burned out. She just loves to run. Photo: Jon Jonckers

Lessons runners can learn from their eager and highly-motivated four-legged training partners.

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Author Rachel Toor admires the fact that Helen, her most frequent running partner, doesn’t whine about being tired, sore, hungry, cold, hungover or burned out. She just loves to run. Photo: Jon Jonckers

With zillions of marathons and ultras under my belt and PRs long behind me, there are days—especially when the weather is less than perfect and I’m overwhelmed with work, feeling unmotivated and just plain blah—that lying around reading a mystery novel is more appealing than dragging my lazy butt out for a trot.

However, the prospect of disappointing Helen, my four-legged running partner, keeps me lacing up my shoes. She always wants to go and her excitement can be contagious. She reminds me of what matters when it comes to running—that it’s the most basic and elemental of activities, satisfying our animal natures. She’s a natural runner, and in many ways I wish I were more like her. For example:

1. My dog embraces speed work.

Instead of plodding along, Helen knows how to vary her pace. On nearly every run she throws in some intervals to exercise her fast-twitch muscles (SQUIRREL! DEER! The neighbor’s cat!). And then she allows herself adequate recovery, stopping to pee, poop, sniff butts, and roll in things dead and stinky.

2. Though she is super-fast, my dog can accommodate a variety of partners.

When Helen is with someone slower, she’ll log extra miles by running ahead and coming back. She can cover twice the distance of a given route while never completely deserting her partner or making her feel bad.

3. Cross-training is important to my dog.

On trails along the river or near a lake, she’ll dip in and do some laps. Helen is eager to participate in sports like baseball and soccer and will occasionally play Frisbee, even though it’s not her favorite.

4. My dog doesn’t make excuses, complain about injuries, and is never disappointed with her results.

Helen doesn’t care about PRs or placing in her age group. When she came in fourth in the canine division in her first half marathon, she never felt the need to post that news to Facebook.

5. My dog stretches before and after runs.

Upward facing dog, downward facing dog, toe wiggles—she makes sure her muscles are supple and loose during the day.

6. She’s not a ‘gear head.’

Dozens of worn out running shoes don’t clog her closet. Helen doesn’t spend hours discussing the merits of various GPS devices and she doesn’t pile up dirty shorts and T-shirts (and sometimes wear them again before they make it into the wash). No one ever has to wait for her to get ready.

7. Her attitude and habits are winning.

My dog always wants to go; she doesn’t whine about being tired, sore, hungry, cold, hungover, or burned out. She never worries about her weight, eats healthy food, and gets plenty of sleep. For her, running is joyous and celebratory.

And, of course, Helen discovered barefoot running long before Chris McDougall made it a thing.

RELATED: A Guide to Running With Your Dog


About The Author:

Rachel Toor teaches creative writing at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, Wash., and is the author of four books of nonfiction, including “Personal Record: A Love Affair with Running” (2010, Bison Books), and a young adult novel, “On the Road to Find Out” (2014, Square Fish). She is owned by a dog named—you guessed it—Helen.

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Is Your Mental Game Keeping You from a Time Goal? http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/training/is-your-mental-game-keeping-you-from-a-time-goal_160703 Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:26:18 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160703

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Find out if a mental block is preventing you from achieving your time goal and how to get past it.

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Photo: Shutterstock.com

For almost three years, 32-year old Amanda Hicks has been trying to break the three-hour mark in the marathon. On several occasions, she’s come within minutes of her goal time, but seemingly no matter what she tries, that barrier remains elusive. “I have a sticky note with curled edges on my refrigerator that says 2:59:59,” she says. “I’m tired of seeing it there.”

For many runners, Hicks’ story is relatable. Setting a particular time goal and then throwing everything you have at it, only to come up short, is a common phenomenon, according to sports psychologist Justin Ross of Denver-based Mind Body Health. “There’s a lot of research on setting a reference point and then having a loss aversion tied to it,” he says. “Marathons, in particular, afford people a crisp, tangible goal to go after.”

There’s nothing wrong with having a goal time, of course, and working toward it. The problem comes with the emotional attachment to it, which sometimes works against you. “Runners place an attachment to the pain of not reaching their goal,” Ross says. “Then if they don’t hit that number, they begin to build it up and start putting pressure on themselves.”

Hicks admits this applies to her. “I know my goal is within reach,” she says. “But sometimes, I start to think that maybe I’m not meant to break three hours.”

In fact, Hicks wonders if she hasn’t self-sabotaged in some of her races. “It feels like around mile 22 or 23, I’ll get stage fright,” she says. “I tell myself I’ll be happy with a slower time and don’t finish it out like I should.”

This in spite of the fact that Hicks has worked on her mental game as hard as her physical. “I read up on the mental aspect of racing before Chicago this year, and felt like my head was there,” she says. “My body was running my race pace without my even looking at my watch. I don’t know what happened.”

Statistics from a 2015 study of marathon times by economists from U.C. Berkley and the University of Chicago show that many runners “cluster” around specific goal times. Big spikes show up in the data on the one hour, half hour, and even 10-minute points, revealing that most runners are aiming for a time-related goal.

Also tracked in the data is the speed runners reach in the final 2.2K. For those close to a round number—likely a goal time—they were often able to summon the mental energy to pick up the pace in an effort to reach it. Runners like Hicks are painfully aware of this, but don’t know how to get to that place.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Mentally Prepare for Your Next Race

What works

Dennis Polmateer, a 33-year-old runner from Denver, has been in Hicks’ shoes, but recently figured out how to change his outcome. “I found I had mental blocks around certain time goals,” he says. “In training, for instance, I found my mind stopped me from running under a 6-minute pace. It was scary to see it on paper and then try to execute it in practice.”

Polmateer says that he couldn’t convince himself that he was fast enough to achieve those paces. “When I started marathons, I was a four-hour runner, so it became nerve-wracking to think I could run sub-sixes,” he explains. “In the marathon, I’d reach the halfway point in PR time, but then tell myself I couldn’t sustain it.”

After too many frustrating races, Polmateer turned to Ross for guidance. “He showed me how I was focused on numbers and perceiving certain paces as a failure,” he says. “He taught me to match my effort to my measure of success.”

In other words, Polmateer learned that he was getting plenty out of his workouts as long as he was putting the effort in, in spite of what the numbers on his watch said. “This was a big one for me,” he admits. “Now I know that I’m not a failure if I don’t hit a certain number.”

One of the issues for runners, says Ross, is learning that not every workout or race is going to go according to plan, and that it’s not a deal breaker. “If you let numbers dictate what you are capable of, you can train yourself not to reach your goal,” he says. “The cool thing is that it’s all about our perceived relationship with numbers, something we can change.”

Ross counsels runners to shift their reference points with goals. “So if your goal is four hours, for instance, shift it to 3:55,” he suggests. “It helps you create a new relationship with numbers.”

He also recommends unplugging from the technology that gives us so much numerical feedback. “Having all this data can create mental blocks,” he says. “It’s important for all of us to leave the watch in the drawer sometimes and get back to enjoying running for running.”

Polmateer readjusted his mental state and ultimately achieved a 2:49 PR at the Twin Cities Marathon. “Instead of worrying about numbers, I had faith in the process,” he says. “I went into my races with a more positive attitude, knowing I wasn’t a failure for not hitting certain times.”

Hicks, in the meantime, isn’t throwing in the towel any time soon and will target this spring’s Boston Marathon for her next attempt at cracking the three-hour mark. Her new approach is similar to Ross’s suggestions for shifting her time goal.

“I’m adjusting my marathon pace to aim for a 2:55 so that 3:00 will be my cushion,” she says. “I don’t know what else to do. I know this is all between the ears.”

RELATED: 7 Traits of Mentally Tough Runners

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New Balance Unveils RunIQ Watch and PaceIQ Headphones http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/news/new-balance-unveils-runiq-watch-and-pace-iq-headphones_160675 Thu, 05 Jan 2017 20:39:06 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160675

The New Balance RunIQ watch will hit stores on Feb. 1

New Balances newest GPS smartwatch and wireless earphones is available for pre-order with a Feb. 1 release date.

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The New Balance RunIQ watch will hit stores on Feb. 1

New Balance has been working behind the scenes for several years with key partners in the digital domain to develop wearable tech products. Today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it unveiled the RunIQ watch ($300) and companion PaceIQ wireless headphones ($110) that will hit stores in a few weeks.

We had a sneak preview of the RunIQ at The Running Event in December and were impressed with its elegance and simplicity for running and as an everyday watch. The screen and data layouts were simple and easy to see. You can change the watch face color motif to suit your preferences, even to Strava orange, one of the partners in a collaboration with New Balance that includes Intel for the electronics, Google for the Android Wear operating system and Jabra for the wireless headphones.

Class aside (and this is one classy watch) the RunIQ is first and foremost designed to be, as New Balance puts it, “Made to Run,” and a smartwatch “For runners made by runners.”

Beyond its looks and a very competitive price for a full smartwatch with GPS, what makes the IQ a strong, new competitor for runners’ wrists? It has GPS, real time heart rate monitoring, and the usual stats of pace, distance, time, and heart rate with zones. It combines a touchscreen with three buttons for on-the-run operation, including a lap button, for sweaty fingers reliability. Battery life is rated at 5 hours with GPS and HR running and up to 24 hours in typical use, typical stats for Android Wear watches and the Apple Watch. It is also waterproof to 5 ATM, which is fine for surface water swimming and of course rainy day runs.

RunIQ seamlessly uploads workouts to Strava, which essentially is the run stats app for the watch. In parallel with the launch, and in collaboration with Strava, New Balance has also created the New Balance Global Run Club, a digital and physical community to bring New Balance runners together. It will include virtual training programs for key events and races, some of which will be centered in New Balance stores.

If you have an Android phone the RunIQ does far more than just track runs. RunIQ can access thousands of apps from the Google Play store. “OK Google” voice control is built in. It can also be loaded with music, up to 50 hours of Google Play music, and used phone free as a music player with wireless headphones, but only if you have an Android phone. IPhone integration is more basic and like other GPS smartwatches: phone notifications, music control, and some limited voice commands.

The PaceIQ wireless headphones, based on the fine Jabra Sport Pace headphones, are an integral training partner not only for music and calls but also for using the NB RunIQ Sport Button, letting you hear run stats from the watch, even without a phone.

The RunIQ and PaceIQ are available now at newbalance.com for pre-order with a Feb. 1 release date.

RELATED: Innovative New Music and Wearable Tech Gear for Running

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German Student’s Adidas Commercial Perfectly Captures the Spirit of Running http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/video/students-adidas-commercial-captures-spirit-running_160692 Thu, 05 Jan 2017 20:07:32 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160692

An incredibly moving spec commercial that demonstrates how running never truly leaves us nor can it be taken away.

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German student director Eugen Merher created this moving spec commercial titled “Break Free,” that perfectly captures the spirit of running. In less than a couple minutes and no dialogue, the commercial tells a story about a former marathon runner whose body and soul are decaying in a retirement home, until he finds an old pair of Adidas. The end will certainly have you cheering.

Merher, a 26-year-old student at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, told The Huffington Post that he tried sending it to Adidas’ communications department, but hasn’t heard back.

For now, it’s a feel-good message about how running can never be taken away from us.

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Picky Bars Collaborates with Elyse Kopecky to Develop New Fuel Products http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/news/picky-bar-collaborates-elyse-kopecky-develop-new-fuel-products_160674 Thu, 05 Jan 2017 18:54:28 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160674

Photo: @pickybars

The Oregon-based energy bar company will be expanding its product line outside of the real food energy bars it's become known for.

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Photo: @pickybars

A new year means new developments for Picky Bars. The Oregon-based energy bar company founded by professional athletes Jesse Thomas, Lauren Fleshman and Steph Bruce announced a collaboration with Elyse Kopecky to lead new product development. As a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute and as New York Times bestselling author of Run Fast, Eat Slow (and an avid trail runner), Kopecky brings an expertise that will help Picky bars to expand into new foods, outside of the nine real food energy bar flavors currently available.

The news was first released on the Picky Bars’ Instagram account yesterday with an official announcement of Kopecky’s title as lead of product development.

“I knew Elyse from my early Nike days, almost 10 years ago,” said co-founder Lauren Fleshman in a press release. “When Elyse moved to Bend we got to catch up. Hearing her passion for changing the culture around nourishment for athletes, I knew she’d be a great fit for us.”

Fleshman also notes that this new collaboration with Kopecky will be the first step in creating fuel products beyond just the real food energy bars they’ve become known for.

“I love that Picky Bars is built on the same real food ethos that I believe in.” said Kopecky about her new role at Picky Bars. “Athletes need an incredible amount of nutrition to stay healthy. This collaboration enables me to get crafty with some of my favorite ingredients for energy and recovery.”

Picky Bar subscribers can look forward to first tastes from this kitchen collaboration in the coming months.

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25 Must-Do American Marathons in 2017 http://running.competitor.com/2017/01/features/25-must-do-marathons-in-2017_160650 Thu, 05 Jan 2017 13:00:35 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=160650

The 26.2-milers to check out and sign up for in 2017.

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Chicago Marathon

Although half marathons get more attention nowadays, running a marathon is still a very noble pursuit. Whether you’re crossing races off your bucket list, looking to qualify for Boston or earn a PR on a pancake-flat course, there are many races out there just for you. Here are our favorites for 2017—taking place in big cities, small towns and scenic trails.

RELATED: 25 Fun Half Marathons You’ll Want to Run This Year

Walt Disney World Marathon

Jan. 8, Orlando, Fla.
Rundisney.com

What a way to start the year: The Walt Disney World Marathon celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and the race that first helped popularize the destination marathon/vacation combo is still going strong in 2017. Enjoy a fantasy-filled course that covers four of the Disney World theme parks, including the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

Surf City Marathon

Feb. 5, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Runsurfcity.com

Take in California’s longest stretch of uninterrupted beachfront at this annual marathon that celebrates the state’s surfing culture. Comfortable winter temperatures and that view of the Pacific much of the way make this a popular getaway marathon for those in snowy climates—or just about anywhere. Listen to surf bands along the course and realize that all of those cold, middle-of-the-winter long runs were worth it.

Mercedes-Benz Marathon

Feb. 12, Birmingham, Ala.
Mercedesmarathon.com

Experience southern hospitality at its best in this midsize marathon through downtown Birmingham. The two-loop course is offers a nice tour of the city, with trips past the Civil Rights Museum and the University of Alabama Birmingham campus. The course offers a few hills, but nothing too strenuous, and the post-race barbecue will help you with the recovery.

Napa Valley Marathon

March 5, Napa, Calif.
Napavalleymarathon.org

Known as the “biggest little marathon in the west,” the Napa Valley Marathon celebrates its 39th anniversary this year. The point-to-point course highlights the incredible views of the Napa Valley, while race organizers ensure a high-end road racing experience. Enjoy the views of the vineyards along the route, and then spend a few days afterward sampling.

Asheville Marathon

March 13, Asheville, N.C.
Ashevillemarathon.com

If you’ve never been to Asheville, N.C., this race is a great reason to visit the scenic town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The race takes place on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned home in the United States. The chateau-style home, built by George Washington Vanderbilt II in the late 19th century, will amaze you. But the scenic course on the grounds features packed dirt trails, hardwood forests, meadows and formal gardens to explore.

 

Grauman's Chinese Theater with runners.

Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon

March 19, Los Angeles
Lamarathon.com

This annual Los Angeles race draws more than 25,000 runners from all 50 states to enjoy a scenic point-to-point course that starts at Dodger Stadium and includes many of the city’s landmarks along the way, including West Hollywood, Chinatown, the Financial District and Beverly Hills. The finish line in Santa Monica overlooks the Santa Monica Pier, where you can enjoy a post-race drink as waves roll in across the Pacific Ocean.

St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon

April 29, Nashville, Tenn.
Runrocknroll.com

Perhaps no city is better known for its music than Nashville, and this 18th annual stop on the Rock ’n’ Roll tour in the Music City offers one of the best chances to combine music and running in the country. Formerly known as the Country Music Marathon, the event features an impressive tour of the city, plenty of local musicians that highlight the diverse music scene and a headliner concert to cap it off.

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

May 7, Cincinnati
Flyingpigmarathon.com

Yes, it’s an odd name—a shout-out to the city’s historical nickname of “porkopolis” when it was a center of agricultural commerce in the 1800s. Cincinnati has changed, but this 19th annual event has long been a favorite of Midwestern runners. You’d be hard-pressed to find a race focused more on the fun surrounding the marathon, and the tour of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods is a great way to see the city. The first half features some climbs, but you’re rewarded with a gradual downhill over the second half.

Capital City Marathon

May 21, Olympia, Wash.
Capitalcitymarathon.org

The capital city of Washington State is home to one of the more popular marathons in the northwest. This will be the 36th year that Olympia hosts this annual marathon, which shows off the downtown with a scenic course filled with rolling hills. After the race, the post-race party continues the celebration of running with food, drinks, music and massages.

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon

June 4, San Diego
Runrocknroll.com

This year marks the 20th running of the race that stated the Rock ‘n’ Roll running series. The original location is still one of the most popular events in the country, and runners will once again get a spectacular tour of San Diego—including Balboa Park, Old Town and other historic neighborhoods—all while enjoying the great music along the way that helped launch the series. If you’re looking for a late spring or early summer event—and there’s also a half marathon and 10K—head to America’s Finest City, where  the weather is always perfect and there’s plenty to do.

Lake Placid Marathon

June 11, Lake Placid, N.Y.
Lakeplacidmarathon.com

This small town nestled in the Adirondack Mountains has seen more than its share of sports excellence. The host of the 1980 and 1932 Winter Olympic Games, it’s where speedskater Eric Heiden won five gold medals and the U.S. Hockey team celebrated its Miracle on Ice. The marathon, which starts and finishes at the Olympic Speedskating Oval, offers incredible mountain views the entire route.

The San Francisco Marathon

July 23, San Francisco
Thesfmarathon.com

You don’t find a lot of big-city marathons in the middle of July, but San Francisco’s cooler summer temperatures make this an excellent option for runners looking for a big mid-summer marathon. This year marks the race’s 40th anniversary, and runners will get an excellent tour of one of the country’s most scenic cities, including running across the Golden Gate Bridge. Expect some hills, although the loop course isn’t as tough as it could be.   

Air Force Marathon

Sept. 16, Dayton, Ohio
Usafmarathon.com

This annual marathon at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, routinely draws more than 15,000 participants from all 50 states. Runners can expect to be treated to a flyover before the race and see pieces of aircraft history along the course—make sure to visit the onsite museum after the race. Because it’s mostly on an Air Force base, you won’t find big crowds along the route, but the volunteer support is excellent.

 

Twin Cities marathon

Twin Cities Marathon

Oct. 1, Minneapolis, Minn.
Tcmevents.org

There’s a reason that the Twin Cities Marathon is known as the “most beautiful urban marathon in America.” The trip between Minneapolis and St. Paul takes full advantage of the many parks in the Twin Cities, and for an urban course you’ll find an incredible amount of green space—filled with fall colors. The downhill finish past the Cathedral of St. Paul and in front of the state capitol is one of the best you’ll find in the U.S.

Chicago Marathon

Oct. 8, Chicago
Chicagomarathon.com

This year marks the 40th anniversary of runners traveling from around the world to Chicago for its flat and fast course in hopes of a Boston-qualifying time—or at least a PR. Each fall the 45,000 participants discover a fun tour of the city’s diverse neighborhoods with huge spectator support the entire way. The loop course starts and finishes in Grant Park, making this one of the logistically easier big-city marathons for out-of-towners.

Portland Marathon

Oct. 8, Portland, Ore.
Portlandmarathon.org

This year marks the 46th running of the Portland Marathon, which has become one of the best races in the Pacific Northwest. Starting and finishing in downtown Portland, the course crosses the Willamette River twice and offers a nice tour of the city, including the scenic riverfront, Old Town and residential neighborhoods. Few marathons offer more giveaways than Portland, with a long-sleeve T-shirt, finisher medal, collectable coin, poster and a tree seedling to plant, among other swag.

Maui Marathon

Oct. 15, Maui, Hawaii.
Mauimarathon.com

This is a great race to plan a ‘runcation’ around, especially because the event will be run a month later in 2017 and in future years to avoid the heat of September. The course starts near the Maui airport on Ho’okele St. in Kahului and sends runners south toward Maalai Bay and from there they head west and run the second half of the race along the sea to the finish line at Kaanapali on the western side of the island. There’s also a half marathon and the fast and fun “Run Forrest Run” mile race the day before to get your competitive juices flowing.

Seven Bridges Marathon

Oct. 15, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Sevenbridgesmarathon.com

Chattanooga, located just across the Georgia border and surrounded by rolling mountains, has become an outdoor Mecca in the southeast. The Seven Bridges Marathon has grown along with the city, and offers multiple river crossings via—yes, seven bridges—over the Tennessee River. Runners will find out why Chattanooga is nicknamed the Scenic City over the course of 26.2 miles.

Marine Corps Marathon

Oct. 22, Washington, D.C.
Marinemarathon.com

The best way to see the nation’s capital is to run the Marine Corps Marathon. Known as the “marathon of monuments,” the race offers more sights than a tour bus as it covers Washington, D.C. It also features the kind of support you’d expect from the U.S. Marine Corps, which has been organizing this race since the beginning.

Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Oct. 22, Toronto, Canada
Torontowaterfrontmarathon.com

Want a race with international flavor that’s still about as easy to do as any American race? The Toronto Waterfront Marathon shows off Canada’s biggest city with a scenic mostly Lakefront course that’s flat and fast. Get that Boston-qualifying time and then enjoy all the city has to offer. The race is very well organized and offers all the amenities of any big-city race in the U.S. Just bring your passport. 

New York City Marathon

Nov. 5, New York City
Nycmarathon.org

Along with Boston, the New York City Marathon is one of the most iconic running experiences in the U.S. You start by crossing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, tour all five boroughs, and finish in Central Park amid overwhelming spectator support throughout the race. It’s a must-do for any runner. However, the toughest part might just be getting an entry—the lottery closes this year on Feb. 17.

 

RNR Las Vegas

GEICO Rock ’n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon

Nov. 12, Las Vegas
Stripatnight.com

Viva Las Vegas! The Las Vegas Strip shuts down every fall as runners take over the city at this nighttime marathon that is like no other in the country. In addition to the music along the course, a headliner concert and perhaps the best post-race party around, you’ll also find countless people running as Elvis, getting married, and generally doing things that they hope will stay in Vegas.

Space Coast Marathon

Nov. 26, Cocoa, Fla.
Spacecoastmarathon.com

Florida’s oldest marathon celebrates its 46th running on the east coast of the state near the Kennedy Space Center. The space-themed race includes those running in costume, space props along the course and at aid stations and space shuttle finisher medals. But even if you’re not about to dress up as John Glenn (or Darth Vader), the race offers a very scenic, mostly flat course along the Indian River. 

California International Marathon

Dec. 3, Sacramento, Calif.
runsra.org

This fast course in California’s capital has long been known as a favorite for West Coast runners looking to qualify for Boston. The 9,000-person race is solid all-around with great spectators along the scenic course—usually with good weather too. The race prides itself on being organized by and for runners, and it shows.

 

Honolulu Marathon4

Honolulu Marathon

Dec. 10, Honolulu
Honolulumarathon.org

If you’re going to do a destination marathon, why not go all in? Who doesn’t want to end the racing season with a trip to Hawaii? The Honolulu Marathon draws 30,000 people from around the world to enjoy the spectacular course and the Oahu’s amenities. Arrive early for the Friday night luau before the race. Stay afterward to recover on the island’s beautiful, famous beaches.

Photos: Courtesy of Chicago Marathon, Courtesy of Los Angeles Marathon, Courtesy of Twin Cities Marathon, Ryan Bethke, Courtesy of Honolulu Marathon

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