WANT TO RUN A BIG, BIG CITY RACE?
Would you love to experience the excitement of a huge race in a large urban center? Think your non-running family or friends might like to tag along for a short vacation, and maybe “catch the bug” so afterward you’ll always have “in-house” running buddies? From all the media coverage that the Boston and NYRR marathons receive you might think that the biggest races cover the longest distances, and that you might not be able to join in the fun. Think again!
Running USA released its report listing 2015’s largest 50 races by participant number. The top five races are in large cities and not all are marathons. Other top place races are less in distance and seem to be held mostly in or near our country’s largest metropolitan areas. This makes sense as travel to, accommodations during, and the care and feeding of athletes and their travel companions requires facilities/infrastructure that can handle the large influx. These venues are also seen as vacations destinations by those not in the running world and, of course, the nearby draw areas are highly populated.
The NUMBER ONE honor goes to the Atlanta AJC Peachtree Road Race, a 10K held on July 4, which repeats in that position (also #1 in 2014) with nearly 55, 000 finishers. The 2nd through 5th spots, repeats from 2014 in their positions, were taken by: New York City TCS Marathon held in November (49,000+), BOLDER Boulder 10K, in Colorado held in late May (45,000+), Spokane Washington’s 12K Lilac Bloomsday Run, also held in early May (42,000+), and the Chicago Marathon held in October (37,000+).
Some races might easily have attracted greater participant numbers, but have qualifying times or lottery draws that purposefully limit runner numbers! The designation “best” race is determined by individual preference, not necessarily size. BUT, if you are interested in BIG, this is the list for you.
Following up just below the top five are:
#6 BCBS Broad Street Run 10 Miler, in Philadelphia, PA (~36,000) in early May
#7 Zappo’s Bay to Breakers 12 Mile Run, San Francisco CA, in mid-May (~29,000)
#8 Cooper River Bridge Run 10K, Charleston SC, in late March (27,000+)
#9 Boston Marathon, in mid-April (27,000+)
#10 Brooklyn NY Half Marathon, in mid-May (26,000+)
#11 Army 10 Miler, Washington DC, in October (26,000+)
#12 Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K, Richmond VA, in late March (25,000+)
#13 Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco CA, in mid-October (25,000+)
#14 Marine Corps Marathon, Washington DC, in late October (23,000+)
#15 Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K/5K, in late March (23,000+)
Rounding out the TOP 25 are:
#16 Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Las Vegas, in mid-November (23,000+),
#17 Bank of America 8K Shamrock Shuffle, Chicago IL, in late March (almost 23,000)
#18 Oneamerica 500 Festival Minimarathon Indianapolis IN, in early May (22,000+)
# 19 Pat’s Run, 4.2 miles, Tempe AZ, in late April (22,000+)
#20 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in FL, early January (22,000+)
#21 LA Marathon, Los Angeles CA, in March (nearly 22,000)
#22 Honolulu Marathon, Hawaii, in December (21,000+)
#23 Across The Bay 10K, Annapolis MD, in November (21,000+)
#24 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in FL, early January (19,000+)
#25 New York City Half Marathon, in mid-March (19,000+)
The general times of the year that each race is held are included because you may want or need to plan far in advance for the next year’s event in terms of training, qualifying, and vacation planning, etc.
REMEMBER THAT, USING EARNED RUNS BIBS, YOU CAN:
1) Run an individual personal race in “solidarity” with the bigger event farther away
2) Create a training incentive/tool by scheduling pre-event practice races
3) Generate interest and involve others in your preparations and excitement
4) Race GREEN, by NOT traveling far and NOT adding to the environmental stress of the on-site event
Enjoy the 2016 running season! By the way, Chicago and Washington DC each have 4 races in the top 50! If you have visited, you know each city has the course capacity for large events!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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