Duval Street Mile

Key West, Fla. • April

Timed to coincide with the “World’s Longest Parade” — which rolls down Key West’s famed Duval Street, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico right after the last runners cross the finish line — this race also is part of the “Conch Republic Independence Celebration,” a 10-day festival filled with parties, sailing events (including one to Havana, Cuba), parades and races, all of which you’re encouraged to wear a costume to. It’s an early evening race that starts at 7:00 p.m.

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A runner takes a pause in Hanging Rock Trail in Danbury, N.C. Credit: @morganinspired_adventure


St. Augustine Half Marathon

St. Augustine, Fla. • Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019

When you run the streets of this coastal Florida city, youll run through the oldest part of American history there is — St. Augustine was reached as early as 1513 by the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, and was officially founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles, another Spanish explorer. All of that will be on display as runners make their way through the streets of its historic downtown and across the Matanzas River (twice), including a stretch along the edges of Anastasia State Park and past the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, a military fort that was built in the 1670s and once was part of the Spanish empire, helping to protect the treasure ships that set sail from here on their return to Spain.

$79 and up • Sign up here »

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Daufuskie Island Marathon and Ultra


Daufuskie Island Half Marathon

Daufuskie Island, S.C. | Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020

A magical run on the island pictured above, accessible only by ferry and whose isolation from the mainland helped preserve its Gullah culture and language for more than a century. Most of the island remains undeveloped today, and you’ll get to see much of it along a combination of paved and unpaved road that snake along the coastline and into the island’s interior. You’ll have your choice of running 13.1, 26.2 or 39.3 miles — the half marathon runs the loop route once, the full marathon twice and the ultra three times — but this isn’t a race to run to record a fast time. You want to soak in the feel, the sights and the sounds of it all.

$110 and up | Sign up here

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Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run

Auburn, Calif. • Saturday, June 29, 2019

When it began in the mid-1950s, this now-legendary trail run was actually a horseback trail ride along the Western States Trail through California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the 1970s, the first runners attempted it and this now-legendary race was born, a run with stretches through snowpack as well as through scorching heat and sun, as you’ll climb more than 18,000 feet and descend more than 20,000 feet during the course of your 100 miles. It’s among the world’s most sought-after ultra races, as more than 5,000 aspirants applied for its 369 spots last year.

$410 • Entry process here

Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run

Leadville, Colo. • Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019

This legendary race through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains is known as the “Race Across the Sky,” for its stunningly beautiful — and daunting — out-and-back course that climbs up to 12,600 feet above sea level at Hope Pass, its highest point. First run back in 1983, the race was founded as a way to draw interest from tourists — when a Leadville hospital administrator was told about race co-founder Kenneth Chlouber’s plans for the event and reportedly said to him, “You’re crazy! You’ll kill someone!” Chlouber is said to have responded, “Well, then we will be famous, won’t we?”

$335 • Entry process here

Ice Age Trail 50

La Grange, Wis. • Saturday, May 11, 2019

It’s been called one of America’s most scenic trail races by Trail Runner magazine, thanks in large part to its location along the Ice Age Trail, which was formed by the receding of the Wisconsin glacier some 13,000 years ago. Today it’s part of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, a place filled with 18,000 acres of forests, ponds, marshes, and wide-open prairies, where the magazine says you’ll find “a supremely runnable course,” with “rolling, smooth single track [trail] that will challenge runners without breaking them.”

$85 – $100 • Sign up here

Mount Hood 50

Clackamas Lake, Ore. • Saturday, July 13, 2019

Run on the heavily-shaded Pacific Crest Trail — made famous for most of us in Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 book Wild — in the shadow of nearby Mount Hood, this race is considered an ideal run for your first 50-miler, thanks to its pair of out-and-back stretches that split up the run into smaller, more manageable chunks. In addition to the 50-miler, the race also offers the 50K and 25K distances. “It’s also not too much climbing and is nestled in the forests for most of the race,” running coach Yassine Doubin told Trail Runner.

$125 – $140 • Entry wait list here

Silverton Ultra Marathon

Silverton, Colo. • Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019

“If you are into big mountains, big, expansive views, big climbs, and big descents you will LOVE this course,” say the organizers of this summertime run through southwestern Colorado’s largest mountain range, where you’ll climb and descend nearly 17,000 feet on single-track trails in the San Juan National Forest. You’ll also run along parts of the Colorado Trail and through the Animas River Gorge, and you’ll be able to choose between the 100K and 55K distances.

$125 – $225 • Sign up here

Table Rock Ultras

Morganton, N.C. • Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019

With a 50K and a 30K that start in Morganton’s Steele Creek Park and take you through the Pisgah National Forest to the top of majestic Table Rock, this ultra is far from the easiest ultra you’ll find, as it features some 7,000 feet of elevation gain. But the rewards are worth it, as you’ll cross over creeks and hop over rocks on your way to the panoramic view you’ll discover at the summit.

$75 – $100 • Sign up here

JFK 50-Mile

Boonsboro, Md. • Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019

A race with a long and storied history — this year marks its 57th annual running — this ultra will take you along miles-long stretches of the Appalachian Trail as well as portions of the C&O Canal Towpath, which features gently rolling terrain that leads you in to the finish line in the nearby town of Williamsport. The AT sections are its longest and toughest, with plenty of rocky terrain along mountain ridges and stretches with steep switchbacks that drop more than 1,000 feet. You’ll gain more than 1,100 feet during the course of the race, and you’ll have 13 hours to complete it.

$200 and up • Sign up here

Courtesy Running Ahead

Friends,

I received a notice last night from the operator of the website that provides our half marathon course maps (like the one in the photo above), that Google Maps has begun charging for the use of their map data, and that they’ll need to begin charging us to use them as well.

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5 Reflective Gear Picks for Morning Runners

© Jaromír Chalabala | Dreamstime.com

Now that daylight savings time has started, reflective gear is more and more important for runners in the morning. It is the runner’s duty to stay lit up when running in the dark.

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© Martinmark | Dreamstime.com

“The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon.” — Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

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13.1 Scenic Half Marathons Across the Southwest U.S.

© Mikhail Dudarev
| Dreamstime.com

“For every runner who tours the world running marathons, there are thousands who run to hear the leaves and listen to the rain, and look to the day when it is suddenly as easy as a bird in flight.” — George Sheehan

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13.1 Scenic Half Marathons in the Heartland

© Susan Sheldon | Dreamstime.com

“I always loved running. I wasn’t very good at it, but it was something you could do all by yourself, all under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” — Jesse Owens

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Runners on the course at the Monterey Bay Half Marathon. (Courtesy Big Sur International Marathon)

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