When brainstorming for post ideas, Jenny suggested I write about my favorite race.
Good idea, I thought! Writing about my favorite race. What a novel idea for a running blog! I’m going to do it!
And then I realized just how challenging this would be. I honestly don’t know what my favorite race might be. So let’s go down the list.
Clearly, runDisney is at the top of this list. I love all things Disney. I love Walt Disney World, and though I’ve only been three times (all for races), I love Disneyland as well. And it was Disney racing that brought me to true distance running in the first place. I saw videos for the Princess Half Marathon and I wanted to do it. Of course, I then got sick and missed Princess that year, but managed to still make a Disney race my first half with the Disneyland Half.
It’s a tough call to make, but I think top of the list right now has to go to Disney’s Tinker Bell Half Marathon. Here’s a link to my recap of the inaugural race. I’m a WDW nut, so I’m surprised a Disneyland race makes the top of my list, but it does. Why do I have such fond memories of this race? Well, it was a runDisney event, so it was well organized and had great entertainment along the course. Anaheim has awesome weather for running (most of the time). Disneyland is smaller than WDW, so rather than boarding busses super early to get to the start, we all just walked from our hotel, which meant getting more sleep. And I genuinely loved the course. My favorite type of race course is the kind that goes through neighborhoods where people come out on their front porches to cheer (or sometimes stare in bewilderment at the costumed people running past their house). I loved running through Downtown Disney. I loved the crowd support (the Red Hat Ladies, the school bands and dance teams, etc.). It was just a really fun race.
I’m not even going to try to rank the rest, so here are some of my other favorites. And since I already professed the runDisney love (seriously, just run some of their races), I’m going to branch out.
Another race I loved was the Myrtle Beach Mini. I don’t seem to have recapped that race (whoops). Myrtle Beach in late October isn’t the prettiest weather for beachgoing, but it’s great race weather. The race is point-to-point and the course was absolutely awesome. Gorgeous scenery, a fast and flat course, and a finish right along the beach. The medal is pretty great too – GIANT surfboard that can be used as a bottle opener and it even has a magnet on the back to stick it to your fridge. There is music and fun and it’s just a very party atmosphere. Definitely fun.
Along the same lines is the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. I did actually recap that one. I love St. Patrick’s Day, so this race clearly calls my name. Cool weather, fast and flat course, finishing on the beach with a giant party. The spectators were amazing for this race. There were people all along the course cheering and offering beer to the runners. I was aiming for a PR when I ran this race, so I did not partake, but I can see doing so in the future. The finish line party was also excellent.
And to keep this short, I will end with a slightly shorter race, the Army Ten Miler. Here’s my recap from 2010. This race is an emotional roller coaster. There are many people who run in memory of fallen soldiers. You see a lot of signs and photos. You also see a lot of soldiers running in their gear and you see Wounded Warriors. There are also groups of spouses who run “with” their deployed spouse (the race does satellite runs at Army bases all over the world). It is an inspiring race to be a part of. The course runs through DC and I wouldn’t call it challenging, but for the slower runner, making the cutoff can be tough because it’s based on clock time, not on how long it took you to get to that point. If you get a slow start through the corrals, you may have to push. But it is so worth it.