Upcoming Marathons & Running Events You Should Look Forward To This Year
Upcoming Marathons & Running Events You Should Look Forward To This Year
You can set your sights on any of thousands of running events which include upcoming marathons and other running events. Maybe you have a destination race in mind or a PR-setting date in one of the many upcoming marathons on this years race calendar. Still, there are a handful of interesting, sometimes zany, if not iconic, races that every runner should consider entering too. Check out some of our favorites below.
These all might not be on any of your upcoming race calendars, but for now, add them to your ultimate race wish list.
Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon
Napa and Sonoma Valley, California
Wine-lovers and runners will enjoy the hallmark event in the Wine Country Half-Marathon Series. The 13.1 mile point-to-point course is a fast and scenic route through vineyards and wineries and even past the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Preserve. How many running events do you know that involve wine?! After finishing up your run in wine country, you’ll enjoy a wine and music festival where you’ll be able to taste California’s finest wines. You’ve earned your booze! The half-marathon limits entries to 3,500 runners and registration usually sells out quickly.
Yuengling Shamrock Marathon
Virginia Beach, Virginia
The Shamrock Marathon is a Boston Qualifier course, but it’s also famous for its post-race beach party on Virginia Beach, where finishers (over 21) will be served free beer. There’s live music over the 2-day running events, which feature other race distances too. The flat and fast course runs along the Atlantic Oceanfront and past the historic site where John Smith, Christopher Newport, John Rolfe and other Jamestown colonist first landed in America in 1607. The marathon finishes at the famous Virginia Beach boardwalk past a statue of King Neptune. The marathon is limited to 4,000 runners.
Price: $120 to $140/runner
Abominable Snow Race
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
For a race that combines both obstacles and frigid weather, Wisconsin’s Abominable Snow Race is a must on the to-race list. As far as running events go, this one is definitely one of the more amusing and entertaining ideas. The race is about 3 to 5 miles long and includes about 20 obstacles over the snowy course, including the “Blizzard.” The “Blizzard” is a 300-foot climb and descent through simulated blizzard conditions. Another popular obstacle is “The Snow Thrower,” which requires participants to launch snowballs at a Yeti target 30 feet away. Miss hitting Sasquatch and the penalty is burpees. Finishers receive a free local brew from Geneva Lake Brewing Co. and enjoy an afterparty with the Yeti. More than 1,500 participated in January’s race. Bill from our Uplift Community absolutely loved it!
Price: $60 to $90/runner
Zappos Bay to Breakers 12.1K
San Francisco, California
For more than 100 years, millions have participated in the colorful and sometimes zany annual Zappos Bay to Breakers 12.1K. The course, which runs from the San Francisco Bay to the breakers on Ocean Beach, features a range of serious contenders and costumed runners. It isn’t unusual to find Superman, Wonder Woman or dinosaurs attempting to finish the course. For many, the race is a party atmosphere beginning at the starting line with the tortilla toss, where crowds of runners waiting to start toss tortillas into the air. The race, which draws both revelers and runners, finishes with live entertainment, food and beer. About 50,000 runners annually take part in Bay to Breakers.
Price: $54.99 and up/runner
For more serious runners, one of the ultimate goals is scoring a slot to run Boston. The marathon, which draws about 30,000 runners, is held annually on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday in April. To qualify, runners must earn their spot by running a certified marathon course in a specified time. Once earned, runners get to compete at what’s considered one of the more challenging marathon courses. The course features Heartbreak Hill, which is infamously known for its difficulty. Just as famous as the course are the spectators at the marathon. Each year, the event attracts some 500,000 people, including the Wellesley College Scream Tunnel students. For about a quarter of a mile, the students cheer and offer kisses to runners. It’s just one part of the spirited and endearing race, and is very popular with Athletes Insight runners.
The Barkley Marathons
Of all the upcoming marathons in the list, these are perhaps one of the most testing and original. The super secretive Barkley Marathons may only draw 40 runners each year both because of its elusive entry process and it notoriety for extreme conditions, but its certainly an interesting race. The Barkley Marathons is a 100-plus mile race in backcountry woods marked by strange traditions (i.e. a trumpeter sounds “Taps” when a racer drops out). To complete the full Barkley, runners must finish five loops of about 20 miles each in about 12 hours each. There are no aid stations. No trail markers. No medical personnel on hand. Oh, and each loop requires about 11,000 feet of climbing and descending. In 2016, Jared Campbell finished the race to become the only person to complete the Barkley Marathons three times.
Price: $1.60 application fee + license plate from home state (for first-time runners)
Obstacle course races have increasingly become popular in the last few years, but the Spartan race series is long sought after among many. This series of running events offers many lengths to choose. The Spartan Sprint covers more than 3 miles and about 20 obstacles and is considered a worthy introduction to Spartan Race. The Spartan Super course runs over 8 miles and includes more than 25 obstacles. Finally, the Spartan Beast course is about 12 miles long and has more than 30 obstacles to overcome. Obstacles featured include the Rope Climb, Barbed Wire Crawl, and the infamous Bucket Brigade, which requires participants to fill a bucket with rocks and carry it over a specified distance. These races are tests of strength, willpower and dedication. Last year we sponsored the Spartan Race Pro Team with our Performance Sunglasses, the pro’s absolutely loved them, and we got on NBC, because they actually stay on!
Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run
Squaw Valley, California
Dubbed as the world’s oldest 100-mile trail run, the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run is long considered one of the toughest ultras on the globe. The course begins at the Squaw Valley ski resort and runs over brutal terrain in extremely hot and cold temperatures. Runners must first participate in a qualifying race and then enter a lottery. Runners who finish before the 30-hour time limit receive a bronze belt buckle. Runners who finish in under 24 hours receive a silver belt buckle. The race is limited to 369 runners per the U.S. Forest Service.
Price: $410 + online fee
We have covered some of the best upcoming marathons and running events this year; if your favorite is missing please mention them below and I’ll add it into the next Upcoming Marathons & Running Events update! Submit an entry below!
Article by Amanda Casanova