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24 Must-Do July/August Races Across The U.S.

Spend the summer holiday running one of these scenic mid-summer races.

Spend the summer holiday running one of these scenic mid-summer races.

MID-ATLANTIC

Friends of the W&OD Trail 10K
Aug. 2; Vienna, Va.
safetyandhealthfoundation.org/friends

If you’re a runner living in the D.C. area, no doubt you’ve run along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. Show your support for these sacred training grounds by joining this race, which starts and ends in Old Town Vienna. The course is green, flat and shady—perfect for those sprinting toward a PR. All funds raised will go directly back to the upkeep of the trail.

Ben Moore Memorial Half Marathon and 10K
Aug. 9; Annapolis, Md.
kirg.org

As a mentor to hundreds of runners, Ben Moore reached legendary status as a marathon coach before he passed away in 2007. His legacy lives on in this event that takes runners on a winding, rolling course throughout downtown Annapolis, with proceeds going toward the Anne Arundel County Auxiliary Police, the Chesapeake Hospice and more.

The Ultimate Football Fanatic 5K
Aug. 16; Fort Washington, Md.
dcrunningclub.com

Fanatic about football? Show off your love of the sport—and your team pride—by hopping into this 5K in the scenic National Harbor. Want to up your game? Wear your favorite team’s jersey and rev up some rivalries as you race to the finish line. Participants meet up at local watering holes following the event to celebrate the first week of football season.

MIDWEST

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon
July 20; Chicago
runrocknroll.com/Chicago

Rock ‘n’ Roll is headed to Chicago for its annual summer stop. The half-marathon course features bands performing live music every mile along the way while offering a great tour of the city, including visits to River North, West Loop, Greektown and the South Side before a Lakefront return trip to the finish in Grant Park. The post-race party features more live music from a headlining performer as well as a finish line festival with food and drinks. The event also includes a 5K option, and all runners will receive a finisher’s medal, technical T-shirt, swag bag and entry to the post-race concert.

BTN Big 10K
July 26; Chicago
btnbig10k.com

Here’s your chance to show off your school colors—literally. Runners in the BTN Big 10K (and 5K) can choose their race shirt from one of the now 14 schools in the Big Ten Conference to wear during the run. The race, which starts and finishes near Soldier Field and features a Lakefront course, will be televised on the Big Ten Network. After the race, enjoy the ultimate post-race fan fest and tailgate party to kick of this year’s Big Ten football season. Runners will find mascots, cheerleaders, food, music, beer, interactive games, prizes, BTN on-air personalities and former Big Ten players. Top finishers will receives awards, and additional awards will be offered to fastest alumni and most creative school-themed running gear.

Run for Walk
July 27; Evanston, Ill.
nusports.com/sports/runforwalk

This third annual 4.1-mile run and 5K family walk in Evanston will once again honor Randy Walker, the late football coach of Northwestern University. The course takes runners along Evanston’s tree-lined streets, as well as next to the Lakefront on Northwestern’s campus. The race ends on Ryan Field, where participants are able to watch their finish on the video board in the stadium. The 4.1-mile run honors Randy Walker’s uniform number of 41, which he wore while playing for Miami University of Ohio. All runners receive a technical T-shirt and ticket to an upcoming Northwestern non-conference football game against California, Northern Illinois or Western Illinois. Additional tickets will be available for purchase at a discounted rate.

MOUNTAIN WEST

Colorado Running Festival
July 12–13; Copper Mountain, Colo.
enduranceraceseries.com/trailraces/
coloradorunningfestival

In just its second year, this high-altitude running fest, formerly known as the Copper Mountain Half Marathon, is just coming into its own. The event is one stop on the nine-part Endurance Race Series Colorado. Staged at beautiful Copper Mountain Resort, 75 miles west of Denver, the alpine adventure features runs and fun for the whole family. The current lineup includes a dirt-road and trail half marathon, 10K, 5K, duathlon, twilight 10K and two kids half-mile dashes. A pasta lunch, live music, family movie night, and a sports and health expo round out a weekend packed with action.

Classic 10K
July 19; Colorado Springs, Colo.
csgrandprix.com/10k.html

The 17th running of this Colorado Springs 10K is indeed a classic. The speedy, mostly downhill course draws elite runners from all over the state and beyond. “It’s also popular with everyday runners, as they try to set their personal best for a 10K—bragging rights!” says race director Carol O’Donnell. The point-to-point race follows the relatively wide Pikes Peak Greenway Trail, winding along Monument Creek and finishing in the beautiful, shaded North Monument Valley Park. The event is part of the six-race Colorado Springs Grand Prix of Running long series.

Denver Oyster
July 26; Denver
oysterracingseries.com/Denver.php

Part of the national “urban hybrid adventure” series, the longest running of its kind, the Denver stop offers up city mystery—with a view. Teams of three to six racers can choose their own adventure—a half course (three teammates) for 10 to 15 miles or the full oyster (up to six team members) for 20 to 30 miles around town. The half typically requires up to 3 hours to complete; the full, up to 6. Racers move on foot and bike as they combine athletic ability with sheer strategy to crack clues leading to the next location. Stellar stunt performances and technology prowess also come in handy for the event’s top teams.

NORTHEAST

IN24 Philadelphia
July 19; Philadelphia
philadelphia.in24race.com

It’s not a common occurrence to find hundreds of die-hard runners taking to the streets of a major American city in the middle of the night, but that’s exactly what happens at this event. Competitors try to run as many laps in downtown Philadelphia as possible, alone or as part of a relay team. Proceeds benefit the Back on My Feet charity, an organization dedicated to transforming lives of the homeless through running.

Goshen Gallop 10K
July 19; Goshen, Vt.
blueberryhillinn.com/gallop1.htm

This race, held on dirt and gravel roads of rural Goshen, is not for the faint of heart. Runners are challenged with a climb up to 2,100 feet but are rewarded with stunning views of the Green Mountain National Forest. This year’s race monies go for a worthy cause: rebuilding trail bridges that were destroyed during Hurricane Irene.

NYRR New York Giants Run of Champions 5K
July 20; East Rutherford, N.J.
nyrr.org

If you’ve always dreamed of scoring a touchdown where the New York Giants play, then lace up your running shoes. The race’s finish line is located in MetLife Stadium’s end zone. But if football isn’t your thing, still consider giving this one a shot, as the pancake-flat course offers the potential for a fast finish time.

NORTHWEST

Running of the Bulls 4M Race
July 19; Eugene, Ore.
pinkbuffaloracing.com/Running_of_the_Bulls.html

Pink Buffalo Racing is at it again, with the freshly introduced Running of the Bulls 4-mile race. In its second year, this event proves to be a race you won’t forget. At packet pick-up you’ll receive a red sash to tie on. Ten minutes after you start the run, the real race begins (or chase, to be more accurate). The Emerald City Roller Girls will be after you on their skates, dressed in red, stampeding for the gore (a soft tap on the backside with a small red bat). Once you’ve been gored, don’t worry, you’ll continue running to the finish, where Track Town Pizza will be waiting for your battered body.

Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon
Aug. 2; Tacoma; Wash.
tacomanarrowshalf.com

The Tacoma City Marathon Association recently introduced The Crown of the Sound Half Marathon Series, which includes the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon. (If you run four of the six half marathons, you receive a commemorative medal). The point-to-point course takes you across the historical Narrows Bridges, which are the fifth-longest suspension bridges in the world. You’ll run on the warning track at Cheney Stadium and finish in downtown Tacoma. With honey buckets and Nuun electrolytes at every aid station, you’ll finish with plenty left in the tank for the after-party.

Huckleberry Half Marathon
Aug. 9; Welches, Ore.
huckleberryhalf.com

Aside from just sounding like a good time, the Huckleberry Half Marathon truly delivers when it comes to an enjoyable running event. Labeled “a quintessential Mt. Hood experience,” you’re sure to have some memorable moments as you traipse through the national forest and cross over the Salmon River. You might even luck out with a Bigfoot sighting. (Bigfoot will actually be there, taking commemorative photos with all participants.) The finisher’s medal is also a laser cutout of Bigfoot himself. If you’re looking for something scenic and peaceful, with some adventure muddled in, the Huckleberry Half is for you. Register quickly—there are a limited number of spaces, and you don’t want to miss your opportunity to spend some time with the legendary beast.

PACIFIC WEST

Shoreline Half Marathon, 10K, 5K
July 13; Ventura, Calif.
shorelinehalf.com

The double-loop, oceanfront course winds runners along the boardwalk in Ventura, then up along the gentle sloping Visa Del Mar ridge with incredible views that make every step worth the effort. Offering both a 10K and 5K option, this event has something for everyone—even the course varies its elevation changes to cater to uphill runners and speedy flat-ground warriors alike. The generous 4-hour time limit welcomes any and all race paces.

Wharf to Wharf
July 27; Santa Cruz, Calif.
wharftowharf.com

It’s time to celebrate the best little road race in California! Celebrating its 42nd year, this 6-mile race from the Santa Cruz Wharf out to the Capitola Wharf is overflowing with historical fun facts and captivating scenery—including some legendary surf spots. A nonprofit event, this race gives all proceeds back to the community, mainly through improving recreational endeavors for youth. Held every fourth Sunday in July, the race has exploded from 273 participants in its inaugural year to more than 15,000 today. Come see what all the hype is about, and get yourself a commemorative poster on race day.

Wet N Wild 5K
August 9; La Mirada, Calif.
wetnwild5k.com

This 3.1-miler is nothing short of soaking wet and foolishly wild. The entire course is laid out inside of La Mirada’s Regional Aquatic Center and Water Park. Whether racing for a personal record or just looking to finish, there is a place for you at the event. The highlight of the race is running—or wading as quickly as possible—through the park’s lazy river. Sponsored by Chick-fil-A and Jamba Juice, the after-party is sure to be delicious.

SOUTH

Too Hot to Handle 5K/15K
July 13; Dallas
runproject.org/too-hot-handle-5k15k

Running strong for two decades, the Too Hot to Handle event at Norbuck Park is not to be missed. Flat and fast, both races offer the chance for big PRs and plenty of fun. At the finish line the sponsor village will feature food, music and a beer garden for runners. There will also be the Cooling Zone, where there will be cold towels, water and sprinklers available, as well as the Recovery Zone, offering massages for runners’ weary legs. All participants will receive a sleeveless tech shirt, and 15K finishers will also earn a finisher medal.

Watermelon Crawl 5K/10K
Aug. 9; De Leon, Texas
racedayeventservices.com/apps/calendar

Held in conjunction with the De Leon Peach and Melon Festival and Tractor Pull, this 5K/10K event is wholly unique. Sign up to run, and stay for the real fun after the races, which includes a watermelon-eating contest, seed-spitting contest, melon-patch tour and parade. There will also be carnival rides and a tractor pull for the whole family to enjoy. All runners who register in advance will receive a T-shirt. All fitness levels are welcome at this event, so load up the entire family and come to De Leon for a fun-filled day in the heart of summer.

Undy Run/Walk
Aug. 16; Nashville, Tenn.
support.ccalliance.org/site/TR?fr_id=1970&pg=entry

Starting and finishing at Walk of Fame Park next to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the 5K race runs around downtown Nashville. Focused on raising money for the Colon Cancer Alliance, this event gives you the chance to help others. In addition to running the race, the charity has organized an incentive program for participants to fundraise. The more money you raise, the more chances you have to win prizes. Not only will this help fund patient support and education programs for the millions affected by colon cancer, but it will also help raise awareness. Plus you can prance around in your skivvies!

SOUTHEAST

Flavor Run Atlanta 5K
July 12; Marietta, Ga.
flavorrun.com/locations/atlanta.html

This family-friendly event at Jim Miller Park invites runners, walkers and strollers to “see, smell, touch, hear and taste” each kilometer. The 9 a.m. wave start ensures crowds are dispersed, allowing for maximum enjoyment of the flavored powder in blueberry, strawberry, orange, banana, watermelon and grape (really all-natural cornstarch) launched onto participants throughout the race by tutu-clad “flavor fairies.” Wear an all-white outfit, and you’ll finish with your very own colorfully flavored fashion ensemble. The post-run “flavor zone” also includes a taste of fresh fruit along with vendors, live entertainment and children’s activities.

Picnic Island Adventure Run
July 18; Tampa, Fla.
tamparaces.com/PicnicIsland

Bring your A-game to this 3.6-mile off-road run rigged with rugged challenges looking to slow you down, including crawling and running on the beach and trails. Expect to get your feet wet and run through tires as well as clear short hurdles, along with other surprises. The 6:45 p.m. kickoff means you’ll miss the hottest part of the day and can enjoy a gorgeous post-race sunset on Tampa Bay. After the obstacles are conquered, enjoy an after-party with a feast from a professional caterer.

Heroes in Recovery 6K
July 26; Roswell, Ga.
heroesinrecovery.com/heroes6k/roswell-ga

This inspirational race is one of seven Heroes in Recovery events throughout the country looking to shine a light on a worthy cause—recovery from addiction and co-occurring disorders. Each kilometer represents a letter in the word “Heroes,” and the race brings together those in recovery with their loved ones as well as supporters of the cause to break the stigma associated with addiction and mental health conditions. Starting at 7:30 a.m. at Riverside Park, the 3.728-mile race is an out-and-back course on the Riverwalk Trail along the scenic Chattahoochee River.