The 10 Best Spring Races
The Color Run
One of the most free-spirited 5Ks around, the Color Run is the largest race series in the United States with more than 50 events held from April through June. Runners come to the non-timed races wearing white t-shirts and are showered in colorful powder as they run. Not only will you look like the emblem of spring with your rainbow-colored shirt, it’s also the perfect race to ease into competition with more than half the participants running a 5K for the first-time.
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Opt for a different kind of spring competition with the
, a five- to seven-mile run packed with 25 tough-as-heck obstacles. Sign up as team or compete individually and work through the challenges, which can include wading through ice baths, climbing eight-foot walls, and crawling through mud pits. There are a handful of spring races held at sites across the country, including Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
NYCRUN's Mother's Day 5K
May 10, Roosevelt Island, NY
Celebrate the moms in your life with the inaugural Mother’s Day 5K on Roosevelt Island. The flat-as-a-pancake course make it perfect to do with family and friends, plus it offers great views of the east side of Manhattan. If it’s your first time to the island, take the tram for beautiful aerial views of the city and enjoy the post-race nosh from Terrace Bagels of Brooklyn, which is ranked one of the top bagel shops in NYC.
Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run
April 6, Washington, D.C.
One of the prettiest races to grace the east coast, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run takes you through the quintessential spring landscape: hundreds of blooming cherry trees. The bright pink flowers will keep you company as you sprint past the Washington Monument, Arlington Memorial Bridge, and the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. This popular D.C. race caps at 15,000 participants, sells out fast, and requires entrance into a lottery, but there’s still room to run with a charity, or volunteer at this year’s race for guaranteed entry into 2015’s competition.
Mt. Evans Ascent
June 14, Idaho Springs, CO
North America’s highest road race, the 14.5-mile Mt. Evans Ascent finishes at 14,264 feet, only a hundred feet away from the summit of Mount Evans, one of the most iconic and beautiful mountain ranges in Colorado, 60 miles west of Denver. Runners begin the climb at Echo Lake amidst a pine tree forest, and three miles later emerge above the tree line as they climb the steady, challenging mountain throughout the rest of the race. At the finish, expect to be met by a herd of baby mountain goats and a fabulous view.
Barkin' Dog Duathlon
May 10, Denver, CO
Despite the name, there are no dogs involved in this popular Denver race, the largest duathlon in Colorado. Participants in the Barkin’ Dog Duathlon can opt for two distances for the run-bike-run competition as they traverse the groomed trails and paved roads through Cherry Creek State Park: a 1.2-mile run, 18.K bike ride, and 5K run, or the longer 5K run, 34K bike, and 5K run. After the race, enjoy the 4,200 acres of the park and dip your toes in the lake if the weather permits.
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April 19, Missoula, MT
Named one of the best triathlons in America by Triathlete magazine, the Grizzly Triathlon is the largest pool-swim tri in North America. Competitors follow a 1,000-yard swim (20 laps) in the pool at the University of Montana with a 20K bike and 5K run. Missoula is known for its beautiful mountain scenery and culture, making it a great place to explore post-race. (This year all race seats filled up in the first 40 hours, but race organizers ask that you add yourself to the waitlist since nearly everyone on the list will get to compete.)
April 13, Austin, TX
Country music’s hometown hosts a 10-mile race perfect for both beginners and seasoned runners alike. The Austin 10/20 is in its third year and expecting more than 8,000 participants to sign up to enjoy the 20 local bands playing along the route. Post-race festivities include barbeque and taco food trucks and a performance by the band Puddle of Mudd.
May 4, Pittsburgh, PA
If your winter training has you set for 26.2 miles this spring, the Pittsburgh Marathon is a great choice. The route takes you across five bridges and through the city’s historic neighborhoods, including Shadyside, Oakland, and Bloomfield. If you’re not quite ready to go the distance, sign up for the 5K or pet walk (the half marathon is already sold out).
Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon
May 31, Loudon County, VA
Drinking and running? Oh yes. The Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon starts at the green, lush Doukenie Winery an hour west of Washington D.C. Enjoy the scenic roads of this southern town and the scent of grapes as you continue along the course, making sure to refuel at mile six with a two-ounce glass of local white wine. The finish at the winery is rounded out with a three-hour festival where 15 region wineries pour tasting to go with the food truck grub and live music.