5K road races are like craft breweries in Charlotte – that is, they’re everywhere.
But if you’re a local runner looking to steer your race calendar out of that same-old-same-old rut this summer, you do have a few options. Here are seven events to consider that offer unique distances and unique challenges (and in one case, the challenge is simply getting into the race at all...).
What: 2-mile road race.
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When: 7 p.m. Sunday, July 3.
Where: The MillBridge neighborhood in Waxhaw (start and finish at the Community House, 1401 MillBridge Parkway).
This race is for you if: 1) You prefer evening races over morning races. 2) You like to eat fresh (and legitimately good) pizza within minutes after finishing a race – True Crafted Pizza’s food truck will be parked near the finish line. 3) You typically start getting really tired at around Mile 2 when you do 5Ks.
American 4 Miler
What: 4-mile road race.
When: 7:30 a.m. Monday, July 4.
Where: The Dilworth neighborhood in Charlotte (start and finish at Famous Toastery, 2400 Park Road).
This race is for you if: 1) You want to burn off a pound or two before packing on three or four at that Fourth of July picnic. 2) You love finisher’s medals – this one, appropriately, features stars and stripes. 3) You typically feel like you have another really fast nine-tenths of a mile in you after you cross the finish line of a 5K.
Mill Stone Loop
What: 10.5-mile trail race.
When: 8 a.m. Saturday, July 16.
Where: Anne Springs Close Greenway in Rock Hill, S.C. (start and finish at the Rush Pavilion, reachable via the Nature Center entrance).
This race is for you if: 1) You’re a trail lover – the course consists of mostly single-track, technical trail, is often muddy, and features at least two creek crossings. 2) You want bragging rights – there are no awards, no medals, no race T-shirts, just a tough course and (usually) uncomfortably warm weather. 3) You get lucky – the race is sold out, but you’re welcome to put your name on the wait list.
The Midnight Mile
What: 1-mile track race.
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, July 23.
Where: Springfield Middle School, 1711 Springfield Parkway, in Fort Mill, S.C.
This race is for you if: 1) You’re interested in finding out how fast you can run a mile, but need more moral support than just your watch. 2) You’re a night owl. 3) You want to run a race called “The Midnight Mile” but you want to be in bed by midnight – all heats except for the elite race will take place between 9 and 10 p.m. (this is the first year the event hasn’t been run at midnight, and it’s because organizers are trying to attract more families with younger children).
CRC Track Night
What: Track meet offering the following events: 100 meters, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1-mile, 5,000m, 4 x 100-meter relay and 4 x 400m relay. (CRC stands for Charlotte Running Club.)
When: 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, July 26.
Where: Charlotte Country Day School, 1440 Carmel Road.
This race is for you if: 1) You want to re-live your glory days from high school. 2) You want to see how your 100 time stacks up to Usain Bolt’s. (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t!) 3) You don’t like paying a lot to race – $3 (cash only) allows you to run as many events as you wish.
Charlotte Running Company Cross Country Run
What: 2-mile trail race (there’s also a 5K).
When: 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 20.
Where: On the cross-country course at Myers Park High School, 2400 Colony Road.
This race is for you if: 1) You want to re-live your glory days from high school. 2) You want to see how your time stacks up to some of the best high-school runners in the state – the prestigious Mecklenburg County 2 Mile Preview meet takes place immediately following the weekend warriors’ race. 3) You like small races – at the time this was written, only two people were signed up for the 2-miler.
XTERRA Fisher Farms
What: 5.2- and 10-mile trail races.
When: 8 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 21.
Where: Fisher Farms, 21215 Shearer Road, in Davidson.
This race is for you if: 1) You’re a trail lover – the course consists of a little bit of everything, including rolling hills, single-track, double-track, roots, and tight turns. 2) You want more than just bragging rights – there are race T-shirts for all registered runners, and medals for age-group winners. 3) Your name didn’t come up on the waiting list for the Mill Stone Loop.