Summer may be the racing season for the people up North, but in the South, our running season really begins in the fall. The weather is cooler, and heat stroke is not as much of an issue. With the leaves changing colors, and the houses decorated with pumpkins and Halloween gimmicks, fall is the most perfect season for running.
Not everyone is made for marathon running, and I admit, this year definitely was not mine, but there’s plenty of local 5k, 10k and half marathons that can keep you on track with your goals. Races can even give you an opportunity to travel. This is a perfect time to check out a new town and new landscapes. If you live in Florida, going north to see real fall colors is a special treat. If you live in the mountains, head for the coast. Fall travel has some great deals, and a long weekend is a great way to take advantage of racing travel, a win-win!
I research races on https://www.halfmarathons.net/race-calendar/ to see what’s coming up. I don’t really have a method of choosing a race. It really just depends on what I find interesting, and if I can get there.
Sometimes I find a little town I’ve never heard of that offers that great American charm, and other times I head for the big city races like the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC.
Big race organizers like the Rock’n’Roll Series tend to focus on popular cities. Disney also has several races on both coasts. One of my favorites is the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in Orlando, Florida. What’s better than running through the parks and enjoying all the great food, wine and rides afterwards?
Celebrating a holiday with a run like Halloween, Day of the Dead, or Turkey Day is a great way to burn off those festive calories. If you love music, then maybe the Jazz Half in New Orleans is for you.
Maybe you live up north and want some summer sunshine just a little longer like the Southernmost Marathon & Half Marathon in Key West, Florida. Or maybe you live down South and want to see the fall colors on the Kingdom Challenge Half Marathon in Lyndonville, Vermont.
One year I wanted to challenge myself in a different climate. Luckily, a special hotel deal arrived in my email for the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. Living in Florida, I was used to sea level and humidity. Scottsdale is at 1200 feet elevation, with relatively no humidity. A few days of acclimation and I ran my best half marathon ever. It felt great during the run, but not afterwards. Back at the hotel I sat in the shower just breathing in the warm steam trying to get back to normal.
I’m all about wine, so one year I did the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, New York. It definitely wasn’t my best race time, but it is a pretty area to run. California has plenty of wine themed races like the Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon in Geyserville, CA. If wine isn’t your thing, you can also find the Oktoberfest Half Marathon in Loganville, GA or the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon in Louisville, Kentucky.
If you really want to stretch yourself and your vacation time, why not try a race in another country? They have just as many fun races as we do in the States. Imagine seeing the fall colors in Canada or Germany, or head south for spring in Australia. Or have you ever thought about running in Antarctica? Known as the World’s most Southernmost Marathon, the Ice Marathon and 100K takes place in December across the ice and snow. I’m sure you have to have special shoes for that.
You are not limited in your ability, imagination or even your zip code to run a race. Get out there, explore, challenge yourself, and enjoy some sights along the way.
All the races mentioned can be found at https://www.halfmarathons.net/race-calendar/