We’ve said goodbye to 2015 and welcomed 2016 with open arms and ambitious goals. With the end of every year comes the internet stampede of ‘review of 2015’ posts, including my own review which is sitting in draft on my computer at home while I’m travelling – oops! So instead of looking at what’s been done in 2015 (which will be published later this month when it’s no longer relevent), let’s look at what to do in 2016 instead.
This is my bucket list of races for 2016, the races I’d choose if I could pick one per month, if money and travel were of no concern. Some of these I’ve run before, most I haven’t, but all are known to be races you don’t want to miss out on!
12 RACES TO RUN IN 2016
JANUARY – ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MARATHON, Tempe, AZ
The Rock ‘n’ Roll race series has grown in popularity over the past few years, and it’s not difficult to see why. Starting in 1998 with the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon, there are now 31 events across 9 countries and are known for their combination of live music, cheerleaders and enthusiastic volunteers – you’ll feel like you’re running through a big street party! The Arizona race covers the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, with a 5k and kids race on Saturday 16th and a 10k, half and full marathon on Sunday 17th, as well as a pre-race expo. A great event to start the year!
Race weekend January 16th-17th, details at http://www.runrocknroll.com/arizona/
FEBRUARY – DISNEY PRINCESS HALF MARATHON, Disney World, FL
I couldn’t have a list of races without including a RunDisney race, these should be on everyone’s bucket list! RunDisney is a series of running events held at the Disney World and Disneyland theme parks in Florida and California, and the Disney Princess weekend in February offers a mix of distances from 5k to half marathon. Dressing in my best Disney Princess costume and running through Disney World, what’s not to love! My princess of choice is Ariel from The Little Mermaid, although I doubt mermaids are very good at running so I might need a different costume for this one.
Race weekend February 18th-21st, details at http://www.rundisney.com/princess-half-marathon/
MARCH – SHAMROCK RUN, Portland, OR
There are St Patrick’s day themed races taking place all over the U.S., and I’d imagine in Ireland too! The Shamrock run in Portland is one of the best St Patrick’s themed races, with over 35,000 runners taking to the streets to complete 5k, 8k, 15k and half marathon distances. There’s plenty of entertainment along the way too, with bands performing at the start line and along the routes, and theres even a live stage to kick off the afterparty. This one promises to be a crazy one!
Race takes place on March 13th, details at http://www.shamrockrunportland.com/
APRIL – LONDON MARATHON, London, England
For April, I was torn between the London and Paris marathons, I’d love to run both and they’re both cities I absolutely love. I opted for London as it really is one of my ‘must do’ races for the next few years. With a relatively flat course, spring weather conditions and plenty of London landmarks along the route, the race attracts runners from all over the world. I’m hoping next year will be my year for this one!
Race takes place on April 24th, details at https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/
MAY – BOLDER BOULDER 10K, Boulder, CO
Calling itself ‘the best 10k road race in the USA’, Bolder Boulder takes place every Memorial Day weekend along the streets of, you guessed it, Boulder, Colorado. Last year’s race saw over 54,000 runners, making this one of the biggest road races in the world and the largest one in the U.S. Finishing in the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field, the after party is one hell of a Memorial Day celebration and one of the biggest gatherings of its kind. Having visited Boulder and a few other parts of Colorado in the past, I can already tell you what a beautiful part of the world it is and this race is the perfect excuse to check it out for yourself!
Race takes place on May 30th, details at http://www.bolderboulder.com/
JUNE – MIDNIGHT SUN MATATHON, Tromsø, Norway
This one would be a real experience. Taking place in Tromsø, Norway, the race is the world’s most northernmost marathon and takes place in the height of summer when it doesn’t get dark. 4000 runners come from all over the world for this unique experience, kicking off at 8:30pm for a 10k, half or full marathon, enjoying breathtaking views in a city that only sees daylight for 6 weeks a year. It would definitely be one to remember, running through the night in broad daylight!
Race takes place on 18th June, details at http://www.msm.no
JULY – BOILERMAKER 15K, Utica, NY
Taking place on the 2nd Sunday in July, the Boilermaker 15k in upstate New York has a reputation for being one of the most fun races in the U.S. race calendar. Organised in conjunction with the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, the race is sponsored by the Matt FX brewing company, home of Saranac beer in the city of Utica. This hot summer race takes over the whole town, with unrivalled crowd support and an after-party which carries on all day with plenty of beer flowing! I haven’t yet run the Boilermaker, but have done smaller races in Utica before and it’s a great town – I recommend Utica greens for your post-race meal, they’re delicious!
Race takes place on July 10th, details at http://www.boilermaker.com
AUGUST – CITY TO SURF, Sydney, Australia
Inspired by San Francisco’s Bay to Breakers, the City2Surf 14k takes place each year on the second Sunday of August in Sydney, Australia. With a staggering 80,000 entrants, it’s the biggest race of its kind in the world and features the aptly named “heartbreak hill”, a gruelling 2km uphill climb at the halfway mark of the race. Travelling to Australia takes more commitment than the other races on this list, but this race definitely deserves its place here!
Race takes place on August 14th, details at http://www.city2surf.com.au/
SEPTEMBER – GREAT NORTH RUN, Newcastle, England
If you are a keen half marathon runner, this is definitely one for you. The Great North Run is the largest half marathon in the world, attracting nearly 60,000 runners each September. Running through the streets of Newcastle Upon Tyne in the north of England, the course is always lined with thousands of spectators to keep you motivated. At the time of writing this post, I have entered into the ballot for a place in the race, keep your fingers crossed for me! The ballot is only open until the beginning of February, so act fast if you want to enter.
Race takes place on September 11th, details at http://www.greatrun.org/great-north-run
OCTOBER – GREAT SCOTTISH RUN, Glasgow, Scotland
I couldn’t have a bucket list of races without including one from my home town, could I? The Great Scottish run is like the little sister of the Great North run, taking place over a weekend in Glasgow, Scotland each October (which, incidentally, is the best city in the entire world). There’s a 10k, a half, and a kids race and the race attracts over 30,000 runners which makes it the biggest race in Scotland. Despite being from Glasgow and living there for the first 24 years of my life, I’ve never actually run this race as exercise found me long after I moved away. I’m hoping to rectify that in the next few years though.
Race takes place October 1st-2nd, details at http://greatscottishrun.com/
NOVEMBER – NYC MARATHON, NY
Have I mentioned I’m running the NYC marathon this year? I think I might have brought it up once or twice…. or a hundred times!
This is arguably the most well-known marathon in the world, so it doesn’t need much of an introduction. Taking place at the start of November, the race takes over 50,000 runners through all 5 boroughs of NYC and is the biggest race in the New York Road Runners calendar. The race has taken place every year since 1970, with the exception of 2012 which unfortunately saw the race cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.
The NYC marathon is a popular race, attracting runners from all over the world. Entry is through a lottery system, but local NYRR members can guarantee entry by running 9 of the previous year’s races in the NYRR calendar and volunteering for at least 1 race. Which I did in 2015. Which I talk about on the blog, a LOT. Bring on the marathon!!
Race takes place on November 6th, details at http://www.nyrr.org/
DECEMBER – NYRR Midnight Run, NY
I guess this race doesn’t actually take place in December, it technically starts on January 1st. However, I’m still counting it as you’ll head to the race start in December!
This is an interesting idea for a race, one of the many shorter races on the New York Road Runners calendar. It’s another race in NYC, but a very different type of event to November’s marathon. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, as the fireworks hit their peak and everyone sings Auld Lang Syne and the ball drops in Times Square, this race kicks off for a brisk 4 mile jog around Central Park. How cool! Definitely one of the more unusual races you’ll do in your life.
Race takes place on December 31st, details at http://www.nyrr.org/
So there you have it, my 12 races you need to run in 2016. Let me know if you sign up for any of them. Maybe I’ll see you there!