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Bubbly, roses, and faux-gem-bedazzled medals greet finishers at the Divas Half Marathon and 5K Series. Each of the 10 race weekends throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico offer something different like discount spa specials, free wine tastings, or post-race concerts and pool parties. Runners (men included) can even dress like divas by picking up feather boas and tiaras at on-course stations.
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With more than 30,000 finishers, the Nike Women’s Marathon and Half Marathon in San Francisco is the largest women-focused running event in the world. Instead of finisher medals, ladies (and some men) take home Tiffany necklaces hidden inside those iconic blue boxes. Throw in a red-carpet finish adorned with tuxedoed gents, and it’s no wonder these events are so popular that you have win a spot through a registration lottery. Last year Nike added a Women’s Half Marathon in D.C. for those who can’t make it to Cali.
As the world’s first women-only road race, the Oakley New York Mini 10K began with just 78 women in 1972, the same year Title IX became law and the Olympics introduced 1,500 meters as its longest distance for female athletes. The Mini, named after the miniskirt, now attracts a sold-out field of 5,600 women who run for personal bests through Central Park alongside Olympians like Paula Radcliffe, Deena Kastor, and Kim Smith, who are vying for the race’s $34,950 prize purse.
Related: Sign up for the Shape Diva Dash! The women-only obstacle race is coming to a city near you.
Debuting this year, the Queen Bee Half Marathon is a charitable event that benefits a suite of women’s groups including Dress for Success and Pink Ribbon Girls. But it’s also designed to be a girls’ getaway with a sportswear fashion show at the Bee-u-tique expo, lipstick stations before the finish line, finisher jewelry, and entertainment along the course. Men are welcome, and a shorter race distance is also in the works.
Michael E. Anderson
If you find it hard to motivate yourself to run, perhaps chocolate and champagne will do the trick? Cross the finish line of one of the See Jane Run Half Marathon and 5K Race Series events, and you’ll find the sweet stuff, plus bubbly to wash it down. Before the race, held in the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, and Wichita, runners make like Richard Simmons with an ‘80s aerobic warm-up, and while men can run (and chow on chocolate), prizes are ladies only.
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See Jane Run
Wine flows at the finish of the SoCal Wine Country Women’s Half Marathon and 5K in Temecula, CA. It’s one of the few women-only trail races in the U.S., with a pair of challenging courses settled amongst pine-covered mountaintops at the 11,000-acre Vail Lake Resort. Groups of four or more compete for Fastest Team and best Team Spirit, and runners get free mini massages after the race. The finisher’s medal doubles as a wine stopper, and half marathoners get to take their wine glasses home.
Outrun the law at the Thelma and Louise Half Marathon in Moab, UT, where the 1991 Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon movie was filmed. Participants can hide—er, camp out at the start, and runners follow a convertible with Thelma, Louise, and J.D. stand-ins. The ultra flat course beside the Colorado River was made for running personal bests with just 20 feet of elevation gain. Some runners even tackle it in costume, and the finisher’s medal doubles as a belt buckle. Sorry gents, this one is ladies only: Not even Brad Pitt can hitch a ride.
Thelma and Louise Finish—Action Sports Images
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend at the Women Rock 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon series in St. Paul, Chicago, and Dallas/Fort Worth. In 2014, finishers take home more than $200 worth of swag, including a running jacket and diamond and sapphire pendant in St. Paul and Chicago, and a diamond and ruby pendant in Dallas. Bubbly and live music await at the post-race party.
Team Ortho Foundation
Organized by women, for women, the Zooma Women’s Race Series puts on luxe girls’ getaways in six vacation destinations from Napa Valley to Cape Cod. Race distances include 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons, and each weekend is hosted at an upscale hotel like the Ritz Carlton in Amelia Island, FL. Weekend activities feature mocktail parties, wine tastings, yoga, post-race massages, and, of course, shopping. Guys are allowed, but prizes are just for the gals.
Where running like a girl is rewarded with wine, flowers, jewelry, and other ladies'-only prizes
Wine, flowers, jewelry, and other ladies-only awards make these runs more like parties than workouts.
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