The lovely TOTR ladies are sharing all about their favorite local races, and I’ve got plenty to say on the matter!
When we moved to the Northeast Florida area almost a decade ago, neither Mr PugRunner nor myself had running on our minds. It was only in the last few years that we discovered our little hobby was supported by what I would consider one of the best running communities ever.
Here are some of my favorites:
Touted as the largest 15K in the entire country, the Gate River Run just celebrated its 40th anniversary. Over 20,000 runners come from all over the world to participate in the morning’s events (in addition to the 15K, there is a 5K, a Junior River Run of one mile and a Brooks Rehab Mile).
The course takes runners on a scenic tour of Jacksonville: through the city, over the Main Street Bridge,
through some of the beautiful neighborhoods on the other side of the river, back over the Hart Bridge with a finish line right outside Everbank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Course support is outrageous: residents and fans set up camp in the streets, with signs and high fives, in addition to mimosas, bloody mary’s, extra beer, and even sausage, donuts and popsicles! It’s definitely worth experiencing, at least once.
Created in 2008 by local news personality and three-time breast cancer survivor Donna Deegan, Run 26.2 with DONNA is amazing as both a race and a charity. The DONNA takes over the entire second weekend of February, with a 5K and 10K held on Saturday, and the half marathon, full marathon and marathon relay on Sunday.
All proceeds from the race go to both the DONNA Foundation (which provides financial assistance for the critical needs of men and women diagnosed with breast cancer) and the Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer Translational Genomics Program for breast cancer research, awareness and care.
I ran the Sunday event for the first time in February, and I have been missing out. It is the most inspirational, beautiful race I have ever had the honor of running, and I intend to be back for years to come. From the streets lined with pink, to the nonstop cheering crowds, to the teams supporting each other – it’s really unlike anything else.
You know I am all about a good race challenge, and Tour De Pain is one of the coolest. The race takes place over two days with a four-mile beach run on Friday night, a morning 5K road race, and then a late afternoon mile “sizzler.” It’s pretty exhausting, both mentally and physically. There’s enough downtime to psych yourself out, but not enough to really get some good rest. Oh, and did I mention it takes place in August?
With half marathon and 6K options, the Thanksgiving Distance Classic has just become part of the holiday. I can’t imagine starting to work on a turkey without a race under my belt.
There’s a nice, early start, and the course is through some pretty, shaded Mandarin neighborhoods. For some reason, it’s almost always one of my faster runs, so I always try to make time for it in my race calendar.
I’m a sucker for a good cause, so Ready. Set. Glow 5K is certainly up there on my list. In its second year, Ready. Set. Glow benefits three neighborhood schools with it’s nighttime, glowrific 5K (and a one mile fun run for those who aren’t up to 3.1 miles). It’s a great way to get families out and running, which is always a wonderful thing in my book.
What are some of your favorite local races?