I’m back to join in with the Friday Five link up with Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?, Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run. This week’s topic is 5 Fall Races. When I saw the topic for this week’s Friday Five, I knew I had to join in!
There are so many great races during the fall running season, not just in the northeast but all over the country. By the fall, the weather has cooled in many areas making it a great time to run, especially some PRs. Regardless of the weekend you can probably find multiple races to choose from to keep you motivated September through December.
I thought I’d share 5 fall races I have run and that I would highly recommend if you’re looking for a race in the mid-Atlantic area. It was really hard to choose just 5!
1. Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon in Bird-in-Hand, Pa.
This is by far one of my favorite races of all time. It might just be my favorite. First, the medal is awesome. It’s made by the Amish from used horseshoes. It’s by far the largest medal in my collection. Second, the course is beautiful. You’re out in Amish country near Lancaster with beautiful scenery. The course is hilly, but the incredible views it provides distract you from that. Third, the Amish are a huge part of the race, including as participants, volunteers, and friendly support along the entire course.
This race sells out well in advance each year, so be sure to watch for signups in early October to make sure you get the best rate and so you don’t miss out on the opportunity. Read my recap from the 2014 race.
2. Philadelphia Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia, Pa.
I ran this half marathon in 2013 with a couple friends. It was a really fun morning minus the traffic in and out of the city, but that’s pretty normal. I loved that the course took you past Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The early parts of the course downtown had great crowd support and I was able to find Gabe and my friend Stefanie very easily.
The course eventually runs out of downtown and along the river. Eventually your cross over it and head back toward the city. While this portion of the course lacks significant crowd support, they do have bands along the way and there was a great crowd on either side of the bridge.
The race was in September when I ran it so it was warmer than a later fall race would be. This year, due to the Pope’s visit, it’s not until October.
3. Tussey Mountainback 50-mile Ultra and Relay in Boalsburg, Pa.
Looking for a challenge or just a chance to have fun with a group of friends for the day? This may be the race for you. I’ve run the Tussey Mountainback as part of a relay team three times. I’m hoping to add a fourth this year as part of a team of 6 if we can get a group together. Check out my recap from last year here.
The course runs along fire roads in the mountains outside of State College, Pa. The roads are mainly dirt but some sections are paved. It has some really tough climbs, but also some great flats and downhill segments.
If you’re part of a relay team, your team splits up the legs. You can do anything from a 2-person to an 8-person relay team. I find it the most fun to get to run two legs during the event. You usually start encountering the ultras later in the race and it’s always great to cheer them on. For the relayers though, it’s a fun day of cheering on your teammates, basically tailgating at each transition stop, and enjoying the beautiful Pennsylvania wilderness.
4. Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.
This was my second marathon and I couldn’t have asked for a better race. It was a beautiful day on a beautiful course. I’m hoping to run it again in 2016. Cross your fingers!
This race has a lottery entry and you find out in April whether you’ll be spending your summer in training for it. I felt lucky to get picked on my first attempt at the lottery. The course starts near the Pentagon and takes your into D.C. past the monuments, along the mall, and many other beautiful areas. The crowd support is great throughout.
There is also a 10k that has a separate start line if you want to do a shorter distance. It is not a lottery for registration so you can register basically right up until race weekend I believe.
Check out my recap!
5. Annapolis Running Classic in Annapolis, Md.
Finally I have to recommend the Annapolis Running Classic, which offers both a half marathon and a 10k. I first ran this in 2013 with my dear friend Anna. She ran the 10k and it was her first ever race! She rocked it and has been hooked on running races ever since. Visit her blog if you have a chance!
Anyway, I’m running this again in November and can’t wait. I’m from the area so it’s a bit more dear to my heart because of that. The course starts at the Navy Marine Corps Stadium outside of downtown Annapolis. It takes you through the historic downtown, including a jaunt down Main Street and around the dock area. The most challenging parts of the course include the bridge over the Severn River and the various hills on the other side of the river. To head to the finish you have to cross back over the bridge before finishing outside the stadium. The 10k is not nearly as hilly.
I actually enjoy hills and the challenge they provide so this course is great. The scenery and views are incredible and the weather in November in Maryland is perfect for running. I’m looking forward to running it again as one of my taper runs prior to the Rehobeth Marathon in December.
So there you have it! Five fall races I think you should add to your list.
What are your favorite fall races? Have any you could recommend to me? They could be anywhere!