Before I became a runner, I bemoaned the end of summer as soon as the first leaf on the maple on our front lawn changed color. While I still am not happy about the upcoming drop in temperatures and shorter days, at least I have fall training and racing season as a consolation price.
But how does a runner chico or chica find said races? Here are my favorite sources to find the best races to fill up my schedule:
- Other runners. As I continuously mention, I have made some awesome friends since I became a runner. And said friends like to regale me with stories about their race exploits, especially during our weekend long runs. I have learned about my most-favorite races (Gazelle Girl Half Marathon comes to mind) through my friends. Bonus: You get intel on things like which races fill up immediately and which ones have the best swag. Plus, it usually doesn’t take a whole lot to convince your runner friends to sign up with you.
- Running groups. I still mostly run with Team Playmakers and Black Girls RUN! and they both host races or running events. They’re a great source for race ideas, whether to participate or volunteer. Bonus: If your running group is hosting an event, you are bound to get the best course support on the planet.
- Runner bloggers. Want to race in a different state? Search your favorite runner bloggers’ sites; they’ve probably done a race recap or review, giving you lots of advice, photos of the course (and bling), and enough details to plan for things like where to meet your family/friends when you’re done. I learned about my first trail half — the Two Hearted Trail Half Marathon — from Detroit Runner’s amazing race review. I immediately added the race to my schedule when I read his review and next year plan to book the Grand Island event I read about on his blog. Bonus: Bloggers like to get into lots of details and post lots of photos.
- Running store. Much like running groups, our favorite local running stores often sponsor races and race series. Ours even sponsors an amazing trail series, including one run at a local cider mill where they make and sell delicious hard cider. Bonus: The potential to participate in fun, local races and, well, hard cider or local beer.
- Interwebs. Don’t knock a good ‘ole Google search or information on local races and race series. I learned about several other races (including a couple in Puerto Rico) by searching for half marathons in the winter. Fair warning: Huge rabbit hole. You may spend two hours clicking on different links before you realize it. Bonus: Sky’s the limit on location and type of experience.
As for my fall race schedule, it’s pretty slim because I’ve been hyper-focused on my big-deal-whoopie race, the Run Woodstock 50K ultra. That said, I’m running across the Mackinac Bridge on Labor day as part of my Michigan Fitness Foundation duties, running the aforementioned ultra the following weekend and finishing up my season with the yearly Turkeyman Trot on Thanksgiving morning. It’s been a great year for running and I’m grateful to have been healthy to enjoy it.
How about you: Where do you learn about races? What’s on your fall race calendar? Feel free to share a link to your blog post below if you’ve written about this topic.