As I prepare my racing calendar for 2015, I already have some pretty obvious races on the calendar: Valparaiso Half Marathon, a spring half marathon in either central Illinois (Illinois Marathon) or Saint Louis area (Run River Town Half Marathon), the yearly Popcorn Panic 5-miler, and hopefully a local 5K or 10K. These are all courses that are flat and in the Midwest—great for running a PR.
Ever since I studied abroad in Germany and spent a semester traveling everywhere in Europe from Ireland to Hungary, I’ve had a touch of wanderlust in me, a desire to explore new areas and see new sites. Now that I’m getting more into racing, this desire to travel has evolved into a desire to run dream destination races, races that are scenic, historic, and different from my usual Midwest view of things.
In my runner brain, traveling to a race is a perfect way to explore a new area. After all, you’d spend 13.1 to 26.2 miles on foot weaving through some of the most scenic parts of the city! I prefer to sight-see on foot as it is, like the time I was in Rome and walked somewhere between 8 and 10 miles a day. So naturally running is a great way to sightsee, and races provide safety and organization in an unfamiliar area.
These are some of my dream destination races and hopefully some day I can run as many of these as possible! (Yes, this is also indulging my obsession with all things Pacific Northwest.)
Most long distance runners dream of running the Boston Marathon, and I’m no exception. I would geek out completely if I ran this race, between the historic sites of Boston and the historic role of the Boston Marathon in American long distance running and women’s running. Of course, you have to qualify to run Boston, but that only increases my desire to someday run this race.
Another marathon set along historic sites, the Eugene Marathon course runs along the historic Hayward Field track (where track legend Steve Prefontaine trained) and through the University of Oregon campus. Plus it’s in Oregon, which means glorious weather and a nice flat course.
Big Sur Half Marathon
California does not usually top my list of places to travel, but the Big Sur Half Marathon in northern California races along the coast and through the mountains during the best running season (the race is in November). It’s supposed to be one of the most beautiful races in the United States, and the pictures certainly attest to that.
Rock and Roll Seattle Half Marathon
I’ve never run a race from Rock and Roll race series (I usually prefer smaller races), but my obsession with Seattle makes me totally want to run this race some year. The weather would be absolutely perfect race weather (low humidity+mild temperatures+overcast) and the scenery of the coast, mountains, and Seattle skyline would be gorgeous. Seattle is also my running mecca, with Brooks, Nuun, and Oiselle all located there.
Runner’s World Festival Hat Trick
Each year, Runner’s World puts on a festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with four racing options: half marathon, 10K, 5K, or the Hat Trick, which is all three races. A Hat Trick sounds like such a fun challenge—the 5K and 10K are on one day and the half marathon is the next day. Plus I’ve heard Runner’s World sure knows how to put on a race weekend and I would love to experience that!
St. George Half Marathon
After reading Hungry Runner Girl’s race recap of the St. George Marathon, I quickly became obsessed with running a race across the beautiful backdrop of Utah. I visited Utah a few years ago for a research conference and was smitten with its beauty and the mountains. This race is in January, which means cool weather, which is perfect for me because I’d rather run in 30 degree temperatures then anything above 65 degrees.
(Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with nor am I receiving any compensation for this post. These are simply races that I just really want to run!)
Question of the Day:
What are some of your dream destination races?
Have you run any of the races I listed?