“A starting line is the best, most exciting place I can imagine. When I stand on one, I feel fully alive—scared, yes, but also energized, focused and prepared for the big challenge ahead. My head buzzes, my stomach grumbles, my feet twitch. My entire self—mind and body—is fully engaged. I can’t wait to get going.” — Amby Burfoot
Quiet rural roads marked by hilly climbs in rural Virginia — surrounded by the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park off in the distance — await runners at this late summer race, which makes its inaugural running this year.
Sat, Sep 2 • Luray, VA
Designed for women only, this race follows an out-and-back course that starts and finishes next to Soldier Field, the home of the NFL’s Chicago Bears, and unfolds entirely along the shoreline of Lake Michigan.
Sat, Sep 2 • Chicago, IL
While they’re out on the course at this Labor Day race, runners encounter local bands playing from stages set up throughout the race, from the starting line near the Virginia Beach Convention Center all the way out to the Oceanfront Boardwalk, where the finish line lies.
Sun, Sep 3 • Virginia Beach, VA
The mostly flat, fast course for this race features views that capture perfectly the quaint, authentic feel of New England, taking runners through covered bridges with names like Thompson, Slate, Carlton and Cresson, most of which date to the pre-Civil War era.
Sun, Sep 3 • Swanzey, NH
A couple thousand runners make their way to the Amish country every fall for this race, along rolling country roads in and around this small village whose history dates all the way back to the early 1730s, when it was founded by Quakers and Mennonites.
Sat, Sep 9 • Bird-in-Hand, PA
A gorgeous run through the Blue Ridge Mountains that straddle the Tennessee-North Carolina border awaits runners at this face, which makes a very gradual climb near the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park just outside Knoxville.
Sat, Sep 9 • Maryville, TN
Known for its beautiful rolling green hills and horse farms, this city of just over 8,000 souls hosts this race on the 31-mile-long High Bridge Trail, a former railroad bed that dates back to the mid-1800s and is famous for being the longest recreational bridge of its kind anywhere in Virginia.
Sat, Sep 9 • Farmville, VA
Run through eastern Utah’s San Rafael Swell, also known as the “Little Grand Canyon,” this race offers up some of the southwest’s most pristine natural beauty, including majestic towering red rocks and the chance to see actual dinosaur footprints on the side of the road along the race route.
Sat, Sep 9 • Huntington, UT
Starting from Falls Park on the Reedy River here at the home of Furman University, this all-new race unfolds largely along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a nearly 20-mile-long trail that winds alongside the Reedy River through Greenville.
Sat, Sep 9 • Greenville, SC
Get set to experience an elevation drop of more than 3,000 feet as you descend through Utah’s Big Cottonwood Canyon at this race, which starts high up in the mountains of the Wasatch National Forest, “just 11 miles away from Salt Lake City but a million miles away in attitude.”
Sat, Sep 9 • Salt Lake City, UT
Run as summer is giving way to fall here in this tiny town in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, this race features views of Lake Memphremagog and Lake Willoughby along the way, as well as Jay Peak, the popular wintertime ski resort.
Sun, Sep 10 • Brownington, VT
Featuring a breezy, sunny stretch along the Rhode Island beachfront, this out-and-back race starts in and finishes near Misquamicut State Beach, one of the state’s more popular summertime beach resorts, and includes a stretch with the waters of Winnapaug Pond on one side and the ocean on the other.
Sun, Sep 10 • Westerly, RI
“Run a fast, beautiful course through the woods. Eat lots of cake. Avoid a sasquatch.” That’s what you get to take in at this gorgeous race near Seattle organized by the cartoonist Matthew Inman, who we’re a huge fan of for his “The DOs and DO NOTs of running your first marathon.”
Sat, Sep 16 & Sun, Sep 17 • Carnation, WA
Prepare yourself for pink running outfits, sequined tiaras and feather boas! The Divas Half Marathon in DC follows a scenic, winding out-and-back course that starts and finishes at Virginia’s Tarara Winery, which lies on more than 470 acres along the Potomac River.
Sat, Sep 16 • Leesburg, VA
Part of a day filled with live music and a festival devoted to environmental sustainability, this race starts on the Village Green here in the home of Davidson College, and then winds along the South Prong of the West Branch of the Rocky River.
Sat, Sep 16 • Davidson, NC
Mountains, forests and single-track dirt trails through the wilderness – that’s what awaits at this trail run that winds among the Bighorn Mountains of northern Wyoming that surround Eatons’ Ranch, the oldest operating dude ranch in the West (as well as the rest of the United States).
Sat, Sep 16 • Wolf, WY
Timed to start runners off just as fall is arriving on the leaves, trees and slopes of this Rocky Mountain town, this race starts in Snowmass Village and finishes in Aspen, and has been lauded by Colorado Runner and Trail Runner magazines as one of the country’s most scenic trail races.
Sat, Sep 23 • Aspen, CO
Thousands of runners take to the streets of the Windy City every fall at this race, which takes you along Chicago’s famed Lake Shore Drive for more than half of the 13.1 miles of the course, offering up breathtaking, scenic views of the city’s lakefront parks and downtown skyscrapers.
Sun, Sep 24 • Chicago, IL
Set for its fourth annual running along the quiet country roads of this small town along the Connecticut River in central Vermont, this race features plenty of what’s in its name, through residential neighborhoods between the villages of Bellows Falls and Saxtons River.
Sat, Sep 30 • Bellows Falls, VT