Nevertheless, the August issue of Competitor has a feature inside called, "A Runner's Bucket List" and lists the top favorite races this writer has picked for 10 different categories. As with any list it involves lots of personal choices but it did peak my curiosity as I'm always up for a good challenge. So here are his 10 categories, his favorite in each category, a few side notes, and my comments about each and if I'd do the race are in purple.
1) Historic Race
Next Race: April 18, 2011
The Boston marathon celebrates its 115th running next April, making it the longest-running marathon in the U.S. and one of the oldest running races in the world.
How to get in: Qualifying time from a previously run marathon (duh, we all know this one!)
There is no other marathon like it in the U.S. but the 2nd oldest marathon is Yonkers Marathon in NY, which turned 85 this year. The Dipsea Race, a 7.4 mile trail run north of San Francisco has been run continuously since 1905. Athens Marathon celebrates its 2500th anniversary this year (Wow! I think "Green Running Girl" is doing this one. I'm so jealous! Anyone else??? This is a race on Jill's "bucket list")
Me: Boston - been there twice. Trained hard for and raced well (3:51) in 2009. Lung infection and a mental cramp cause me to run pathetically in 2010 (4:30) but had a blast running it with Katie A. on my 47th birthday. Will I go back in 2011? I am qualified. Hate the course. Love the whole atmosphere and experience and the fact it's Boston. I will probably register come October 18th, but will see how the heel is, finances are (this race will tack on 3 more years before I can retire for each year I run it), and if I can train hard for it. I will not go and run it again like I did this past year. I am grateful for the years I did do it, there is nothing like it in all the marathons I've ever done. On the fence about if I'll do it again or not.
Hood to Coast
Next Race: August 27-28
The largest and most prestigious is the 197-mile from Mt. Hood to the Pacific Ocean. 36 different legs varying between 3.7-7.4 miles each and runners run at least 3 legs.
How to get in: Teams must submit a registration postmarked on October 14th. Entries go into a lottery to choose winners. If your team loses, it does get preferential treatment the following year.
Me: I have always wanted to do this relay - it is well-known and highly sought after in the running community. I was actually invited by some friends I know who were looking for another female for their Hood to Coast Relay this year. I was bummed to turn them down; I was suppose to be doing the Colorado Relay the weekend before this one and thought I'd just be too tired to tackle this after Colorado's and also the date of this relay was the week I start back to school and I knew I'd have to donate my first born to take days off during the first week of school (hum...tempting). Plus the cost of these relays are crazy and I'd have to add airfare and hotel costs to Hood to Coast. One day I WILL do it though.
3) Ultra Marathons
Western States Endurance Run
Next Race: June 25-26, 2011
Running 100 miles on the trails of California's Sierra Nevada range. One of the oldest, most prestigious and definitely most challenging races in the U.S.
How to get in: Participants must meet a variety of criteria, including one performance-based qualifications such as completing a 50-miler ultra in under 11-hours.
Me: Um, not only NO but HELL NO! Personally, I'd think Bad Water's 135 miles in Death Valley in July or the Leadville 100 in Colorado, which has insane vertical challenges, would be more of an ultra challenge. But I'm never going to do any of the 3 to find out for sure. Don't even tempt me with any free entry or the likes, I'm not doing a 100+ ultra at my age. Did I ever mention my back starts to scream by the end of a marathon? Hush, Jamoosh...it's not because I have sucky form.
4) International Marathon
Next Race: May 29, 2011
"To call the Comrades the "Boston Marathon of ultras" might help describe the historic nature of this South African Race..." A 56-mile footrace between Pietermarizburg and Durban to honor veteran Vic Clapham's comrades who were killed in WWI. This May marked it's 85th anniversary and attracted 23,563 runners. The course flips directions each year (that's kinda cool!) Participants have 12 hours to finish.
How to get in: Best I can tell from the article, it has no cap and no lottery.
Me: I'm intrigued. Sure, I would attempt this if someone paid my way!! I *think* I could run the first half before my back gave out and then shuffle along with an ice pack on my back and 12 Ibuprofen downed for the second half and finish in 12-hours. Maybe.
5) Big Urban Marathons
New York City
Next Race: November 7, 2010
Takes runners on a tour of all New York's five boroughs. Last year more than 43,000 finished which made it the biggest in the world by a comfortable margin. Features the best crowd support (Boston has amazing crowd support. Hello Boston College drunk students!!), an amazing start which takes over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and a strong elite field.
How to get in: A lottery system. Some entries are reserves for charity slots. (Article doesn't state it but I happen to know you can also qualify with not just a marathon time but also with a half marathon time. In 2009, I was 11 seconds off qualifying with my 1:44:11 half marathon in Atlanta. Had I known about the qualifying time THEN, I maybe would have pushed a little more at the end!?!?! Never could afford to go there AND Boston, but still...)
Me: See above. Would I ever like to do it? Maybe, but it's not high on my list. I'm not sure why. I've never been to NYC so if I went to run, I'd also like to stay and see the sights - and shop! But I would definitely like to qualify.
6) Scenic Race
Big Sur Marathon
Next Race: May 1, 2011
The point-to-point course course starts in Big Sur, CA and follows Highway 1 to Carmel, CA. Best know for it's views of the Pacific Ocean from high atop bluffs along the ragged coastline of central California. The 2-mile climb from Hurricane Pt between miles 10-12 gets the most attention from wary running. Founded in 1986 with 1800 it has grown to 4000 marathoners. Additionally there is a 21-mile, 10.6-miler, 9-miler, and 5K.
How to get in: Registration is currently open on their website. (really? I'm so tempted....)
Me: I did this race in 2008. It almost killed me. Bahaha. I trained my ass off for this race - I hired a trainer to get me into the best shape of my life and when I stood on the start line of that race, I had no idea what I was capable of so I took off blindly running an insane pace. That famous Hurricane Pt hill sucked but I got to the top and high-fived everyone around me and then stupidly, screamed down the other side of the hill to make up for lost time on the previous big uphill. Huge mistake! It was hot. It was super windy. And the hills were brutal. By mile 18, I was puking on the side and by mile 20 I had severe leg and stomach cramps - I was majorly dehydrated. I walked most of the remaining 6 miles home and crossed in 4:17. Given this race claims to add 20 minutes to a "normal" marathon time, I guess it's not bad but I was very emotionally disappointed for literally MONTHS after. 3 months after the race, I remember sitting with my then-trainer and tears were flowing over this race. It took a long time to let it go and I vow I will be back one day and run it correctly. I loved this race, despite the fact I screwed it up worse than any race I've ever run. Revenge!There I am, about 4-hours post race, standing at start of the famous Hurricane Point 2-mile hell hill that killed my race on the other side of it. Beautiful, yes. Painful, yes!
7) Set a PR
Next Race: October 10, 2010
Got it's boom in the 70's and is now the 2nd largest marathon in the country and 4th in the world with more than 33,000 runners. Apart form a few overpasses, the marathon is uniformly flat, making it super fast. Easy to get to which means no long bus ride to the start.
How to get in: First come, first served to those registering on their website. This year the race's capacity of 45,000 runners was reached in 5 weeks.
Me: Never wanted to do this race because of the number of people, but I did register for it for this year because I thought it would be kind of cool to run a marathon on 10/10/10. The allure of that was intriguing and a friend did it last year and he said I'd love the course. I took the bait and paid the $140 ridiculous registration....and now I'm not going to do it because of the heel. Disappointed? Hell yes, but I don't want to run anymore marathons half-trained. Anyone want my bib??
Similar events: California International (Dec. 5th) in Sacramento tends to get a fast field for it's net downhill. This was my 2nd marathon ever in 1998. 4:07, and I didn't even train for it. It's been way too long to remember much about it, but I did like it. I wonder where the heck my medal is. Hum. Would I want to do it again? Sure.
St. George Marathon (October 2nd) in St. George, Utah. Basically a downhill course that ends 2600' lower than it starts. I ran this in 2008 and it was my first BQer. I was an emotional wreck in the weeks leading up to this race as the pressure to BQ mounted; no one, including my family, wanted to be around me. I needed 4-hours to qualify, I ran 3:46. The weather was ideal for me: drizzling rain. It kept the temperatures down and my body loves cooler temps. Plus, I trained like a mad-woman for it. I'll probably never run this marathon again because it holds such a special place in my heart and I'd hate to ruin that memory by doing it poorly.
Official race photo. See the forward lean? No wonder my back hurts by the end of a marathon. I do work on this but when fatigue sets in, all form goes back to crappy.
8) Obstacle Race
Next Race: January 30, 2011
Part obstacle course, part military training exercise, and all macho, the race near Wolverhampton, England is for runners who want obstacles to overcome. Dubbed the world's safest, most dangerous taste of mental and physical pain, fear and endurance. Features and 8-mile course filled with barriers to keep runners from the finish. Past obstacles have included floored 40-foot tunnels, balance beams across a fire pit and lot of barbed wire. This year more than 3700 people finished.
How to get in: Registration is currently now open on their website
Me: I doubt I'd want to do this. If you could do it with a partner, maybe, but I don't think that's allowed. I'm kinda a fearful wuss.
9) Party Race
Las Vegas Marathon and Half (Rock and Roll)
Next Race: December 5, 2010
A horde of running Elvi, Bengal tigers, wedding on the course, shutting down the strip, and a post-race concert by Bret Michaels. Relatively flat and fast. Like other RnR series, there's a band at every mile to entertain runners. Runners looking to tie-the-knot can do so at the run-through wedding ceremonies. Fourteen RnR marathon and halves are held throughout the country (this is Denver's first year for a RnR. Same race course as the Denver Marathons in past years (sort of) but first for an RnR), minus the Bengal tigers.
Now to get in: Article does not state, but I think it's just open and doesn't have a race cap.
Me: I wouldn't mind doing it, but there are others I'd do first over this one if I were paying for a marathon. I know some, like Adam, have a goal to run all the Rock and Rolls, which is way cool. I don't have that goal. I've been to Vegas a few times (used to go there on our way to San Diego, way back in the day when my kiddos were little. Did love all the cool pools at the hotel, but Vegas itself to me is just really filthy). If someone wants to pay my way though, or a bunch of friends were going, sure I'm in!
10) Running Festival
Bay to Breakers
Happy Weekend....and happy running.
Next Race: May 15, 2011
Next year will be the 100th running of the San Francisco's ING Bay to Breakers, perhaps the race that's most famous for everything about it that has nothing to do with running. First held in 1912 to raise money for the 1906 earthquake. Starts near the Embarcadero and finishes it's 12K course by the breakers of Ocean Beach. Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest footrace when it attracted 110,000 people in 1986. This year the race attracted about 60,000. Famous for it's party atmosphere and and outrageousness. Many team up to form centipedes or groups of 13 tied together. Also famous for the tradition of wearing nothing at all.
How to get in: Registration for 2011 has yet to be announced.
Me: Believe it or not, I did this race in 1991 (ahem!). A group of friends were going, I had just had my first child and never been to San Francisco so I was in. I don't remember much other than that it was super crowded, super steep hills, full of centipedes, and yes, I saw a lot of naked people running - which is just weird to see body parts flopping around out there. I have no idea what my time was, would have to go way back to look up some hard copy journal which is probably in my attic. Would I do it again? Sure, if a bunch of friends were doing it and I happened to be living nearby. Doubt I'd make it a destination race and it occurs at the end of the school year when life is crazy in Jill world.
So there you have it, the authors top races for his pick of 10 categories. To each their own, I know, but I thought it was fun and loved thinking about these bucket list races he suggested. So here's a small bucket list I have, in no sense of priority:
-Austin Marathon - I don't know why, it just appeals to me. Saw the medal once at an Expo, and though I never run a race for the medal, it just was cool and it became a race on my list.
- New Orleans Marathon - I just think that city is pretty neat.
- San Francisco, Long Beach, and Surf City Marathons - Mostly because I want the cool swag you get for doing all three of these in a one-year span.
- Fying Pig - One of my girlfriends ran it and said it was a great course and I like the whole idea of a pig medal. A pink pig medal at that.
- Quad Cities Marathon - Run in my hometown of Davenport Iowa, and it runs in two states.
- Marathon Marathon - Run in the town of Marathon, Iowa. How cool is that? Very small race and run the end of June makes this a big challenge for me (I do not handle heat well, big hydration health issues) but if I took it super slow, I could do it. I think.
- Pikes Peak Marathon - I can't believe I said that. I ran the Ascent last summer and I swore to all the heavens above I was done tackling that mountain. But the year before I ran it also and got to mile 10 when we were turned back and had to go back down 10 due to adverse weather. So I ran 20 of the 26 and by God, I think I need to run the full. There's also a race called the "Doubler" where you do the Ascent on Saturday and then on Sunday do the full marathon. Yeh, I think I need to do that also.
- JFK 50-miler - Has always been the top of my ultra list. Not sure I can ever get the back to cooperate but I'd love to try to get in that kind of condition to do it. I think I'd like to run one, and only one, ultra in my lifetime so I don't want to dink around with a 50K, I want it a 50-miler :).
I'd also like to do a slew of distance trail races, as I really find I love the trails.
International marathons, which I'd love to do but probably will never have the resources to do include: London, Dublin, The Great Wall of China, Greece, Paris....well hell, I'd be happy to run any marathon across the pond, period!!
What about you? What's on YOUR bucket list of races to run. I just might find another one, or ten, in your list that I can't live without having to run also.
Happy Weekend....and happy running.