Wednesday, June 25, 2008

50 Races in 50 States

My growing list of half and full marathons has taken on a life of its own. Over my lifetime, I would love to run a half or full in all of the 50 states. Right now I’ve covered only a handful, but then again, I am only 24 and have been racing for 18 months. So I think I have some time as long as my joints oblige. So far this is what I’ve done:

California (San Diego Rock and Roll)
Hawaii (Honolulu)
Florida (Walt Disney World)
Alaska (Mayor’s Midnight Sun)

Pennsylvania (Philly Distance Classic)
Florida (Disney World)

And I’ve got a new state, Arizona, coming up in January and a repeat (California – Disneyland Half) in August. A couple more repeats with Pasadena and Disney for the full races.

So I have to find races that cover the rest of the 45 states. Here is a list of 5 races I would love to run and why:

1. Extraterrestrial Full Moon Midnight Marathon
Extraterrestrial Highway in Rachel, NEVADA

Description: “Running along the fringe of the mysterious Area 51, this stretch of highway (375) has an overwhelming number of reported UFO sightings. So much so, that in 1996 the federal government officially named highway 375 the Extraterrestrial Highway. Not only is the ET Highway full of alien fun, it traverses some gorgeous scenery as well.”

Reason for running
: Probably the easiest race to pretend that you are running because something is chasing you … alien somethings.

2. ING Hartford Marathon
Hartford, CT

Description: “The ING Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon start and finish beside the Memorial Arch in downtown Hartford’s Bushnell Park. The Marathon is a Boston qualifier and results are automatically transferred to BAA. We offer Pace Leaders to assist runners, who wish to run Boston qualifying times.”

Reason for running
: The hometown race. I grew up not far from Hartford, and it would be great to return to CT to run, especially in October when the foliage is brightly colored.

3. American Discovery Trail Marathon
Pike’s Peak, Colorado

Description: “ADTM events are staged at the America the Beautiful Park. The finish line for all events is at the park. The start line for the marathon is in Palmer Lake. Runners should go to the America the Beautiful Park to be transported by bus to the start line. The half marathon and 5K events start and finish lines are both at the America the Beautiful Park.”

Reason for running: You finish in a place called “America the Beautiful Park.” I’d be hard-pressed to find a location as nice as that. I’m sure it would beat the park-turned-mud-pit in Honolulu.

4. ING New York City Marathon
New York City

Description: “The premier event of New York Road Runners, the ING New York City Marathon is one of the world's great road races, drawing more than 100,000 applicants. The race attracts many world-class professional athletes, not only for the more than $600,000 in prize money, but also for the chance to excel in the media capital of the world before two million cheering spectators and 315 million worldwide television viewers. As any one of the more than 700,000 past participants will attest, crossing the finish line in Central Park is one of the great thrills of a lifetime.”

Reason for running
: To take a tour of New York City by foot might be one of the coolest things to do, ever. I lived there for a brief while and loved the energy and atmosphere of the place. The crowd support is supposed to be unbelievable. I’ve had a couple friends run the race, and they were raving about how surreal and wonderful the run is.

5. Grandma’s Marathon
Duluth, MN

Description: “Grandma's Marathon is a point-to-point course run along the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior. The 26.2-mile stretch begins on scenic Old Highway 61, just outside Two Harbors, Minnesota and finishes in Duluth's Canal Park. Enthusiastic volunteers, spectators and live entertainers line the streets to cheer runners on as they stride to the finish line.”

Reason for running: Named one of the top 10 best marathon’s in the country. Also, you get a shirt that says “Grandma’s Marathon” and if that’s not bound to confuse a couple people, I don’t know what is. After the cooler weather in Alaska, I think I favor races in northern states. Minnesota sounds cool, even if the race is held in June

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