Want to know how a race is before you spend the big bucks to register? Here’s your guide!
I ran the 10-k in 2012 as part of my half marathon training. It’s in the middle of February so cold weather is expected (even, gasp, snow!). It’s a small, well run race that is relatively flat. I’m planning on running the half marathon next month so I’ll keep you posted. No headphones allowed. Inexpensive.
*Half Marathon Update* A bit more hilly for the half marathoners. Beautiful scenery if the weather cooperates, and great post race food. Worth the price if you register early.
Tom King Classic 1/2 Marathon (March 9, 2013), Nashville, TN
PR course (take it from me, I PR’d). Flat and fast. Smaller race that caps at 1,500 and typically sells out. Efficiently run – great volunteers and aid stations. Begins and finished at Titan’s Stadium. Inexpensive.
This is the race that started my whole running kick. Expect lots of people, costumes, and a beautiful, flat course. Weather can vary from year to year so be prepared for anything. Really fun race with good energy.
Color Me Rad 5-K (April 6, 2013) Knoxville, TN
A fun ‘color run’. Very organized but VERY laid-back. Not timed, and if you chose to run it, be prepared to weave around the walkers. Also, do not wear your fancy running shoes – they will never be the same.
Covenant Health Knoxville Half Marathon (April 7, 2013) Knoxville, TN
Beautiful course, not too pricey, and well-organized. Plenty of aid stations throughout, and you end on the 50 yard line of Neyland Stadium! Be aware, this is not a flat course. Several rolling hills with a few steep ones worth noting.
Nike Women’s Half Marathon (April 28, 2013) Washington DC
You want a big race with all the bells and whistles? This is it. 15,000 chicks all running in downtown DC for a Tiffany’s necklace at the finish line. Registration is expensive but the beautiful, flat course leads you past all the major monuments. Pretty crowded, but organized.
Country Music Half Marathon (April 28, 2012), Nashville, TN
First ever half marathon! Part of the Rock-n-Roll Race Series, this is a big race. Organized and great crowd participation. Can be hot – very hot. Also a few surprise hills. Can be expensive if you register late.
Viola Valley Half Marathon (May 18, 2013), Viola Valley, TN
A very small race but well organized and a great price. If you are looking for a small race with a small town feel, this one is it. Great aid stations and post-race food. Beware of the rolling hills throughout.
Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon (June 1, 2013) Loudon County, VA
Beautiful course followed by a wine festival at the finish line. A bit pricey, but one of the few races that I feel are worth it. Weather can be very hot this time of year so that’s something to consider. Also, this race sells out so be sure to register quickly.
Amica Race Series (Half Marathon) – Knoxville (June 23, 2012), Lenoir City, TN
Small race, a little unorganized, and hot (it’s June in the South, guys). There was a small part near the end that was not paved – this was unexpected but not really a problem. Nice route mostly covered by shade. They don’t close the road, so be wary of cars. They also offer a a 10k and triathlon option.
Carter Mill 10-K Splash (July 20, 2013), Knoxville, TN
This is about as no frills a race as you can get. Small, not chipped timed, with a shotgun start. The first 3 miles are mainly uphill. Good volunteer participation with well stocked aid stations. Decent shade coverage. Very inexpensive.
Roswell Area 13.1 Half Marathon (August 18, 2012) Roswell, GA
This was one of my favorite races. Enthusiastic organizers and a really fun race. Flat course but can be very hot. Held at night so that helps.
Virginia Beach Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon (September 2, 2012), Virginia Beach, VA
Also part of the Rock-n-Roll series, this is a fast and flat course but can be very hot and humid. Finish line is right on the beach which is pretty cool. Can be expensive.
*Fun fact: If you run more than one Rock-N-Roll race in a year, they’ll send you a medal for being a running rockstar*
Women’s Running Nashville Half Marathon (September 28, 2013), Nashville, TN
Great way to see downtown Nashville. Fantastic post-race events (beauty bars, cookies, CHAMPAGNE), and an insane finishers medal. Can be a bit pricey if you don’t register early. A bit hilly in the first half but mostly downhill during the second – hello negative splits!
Haunted Half Marathon (October 27, 2012) Kingsport, TN
This race was a blast. It was nice and cool AND you get to wear costumes without judgement. It was a nice, flat, sometimes smelly course. Great organizers and a great course for a PR.
Marine Corps Marathon (October 29, 2013) Washington, DC
My very first full marathon, ‘The People’s Marathon”. My opinion may be skewed as it was my first, and you never forget your first, but it was a wonderful experience filled with emotional highs and lows. Expect a crazy amount of crowd support, and, well crowds in general. The race has over 27,000 runners and runs past all the major sights. Very organized.
Secret City Half Marathon (November 18, 2012) Oak Ridge, TN
I PR’d at this race, so I may be biased, but this was a great race. Pretty flat course with only one small hill I can remember. Well organized, inexpensive, and cool weather.
Santa Hustle – Smokies Half Marathon (December 9, 2012) Sevierville, TN
This race sucked for me, but for personal reasons. In actuality the weather was perfect and the free Santa hat, beard, and shirt you receive is pretty fun. Parking was a disaster though, so be sure to arrive early.