Impossibly slammed parking lots, long lines for the treadmill and all of the “resolutionists” got you down? Why not trade your gym locker for the open air? Charlotte was recently ranked No. 9 on Active.com’s list of America’s Best Running Cities.
From athletes trying to qualify for Boston, to newbies running their first race, the running community is both welcoming and competitive. Start a half-marathon training program Jan. 24 for $59 at Omega Sports on Park Road or hit the road with a FREE training program for the BB&T Corporate Cup. This is a no BS sport and your success or failure ultimately rests on you alone.
Here are my picks for the best upcoming races to get your blood pumping even in the off season:
Location: The US National Whitewater Center
Date/Time: Jan. 16: 9 a.m. (13-mile and nine-mile races), 9:30 a.m. (four-mile race)
Details: You’ll be bobbing and weaving over roots and through the woods, racing through the Whitewater Center’s trail system while raising money for the “runners of tomorrow”: Girls on the Run and Let Me Run. Awww!
Location: Belk Track and Field Complex
Date/Time: Feb. 6/9 a.m.
Details: You don’t have to be a UNCC student to enjoy this race, it’s open to the general public and features a hilly course with proceeds benefitting student development scholarships.
Location: Panthers Stadium/Uptown Charlotte
Date/Time: Feb. 7/9 a.m.
Race Details: Four downs in football, four miles in this race. Makes sense! Feel free to indulge in extra buffalo wings during the big game later — you earned it. Participants are encouraged to dress up and show their team spirit with proceeds benefitting RunningWorks.
Location: Start/finish at S. Kings Drive. and East Boulevard.
Date/Time: Feb. 13/8 a.m. (5k), 8:15 a.m. (one-mile walk)
Details: There is a suggested $150 fundraising goal for each runner, but this is voluntary. Money raised will benefit CMS’s cardiovascular health and rehabilitation programs.
Location: Ballantyne and the McMullen Greenway
Date/Time: Feb. 20/7:30 a.m. (four-mile race), 10-mile race starts 10-15 minutes after.
Details: My half-marathon training partner did this race in snow flurries last year and I couldn’t have been prouder. Hopefully the snow and freezing temps will hold off for this year’s race. If not, I suggest hella Hot Hands. Also benefits Girls on the Run and Let Me Run.
— Girls on the Run® (@GOTRI) January 9, 2016
Location: Start/finish in uptown for the 5k-ers, wind through historic Dilworth and Myers Park on the half-marathon course. More information here.
Date/Time: March 5/8 a.m.
Details: In its 36th year, the Corporate Cup offers teams of 10 or more the chance to claim the Corporate Cup Award by accruing the most points in various race-related tasks. Individual runners are welcome too! This benefits the YMCA’s Annual Fund.
So if your resolution to hit the gym has already lost its luster, try shaking things up with one of these races. I have fallen way off the running wagon so be nice and wave as you pass me on the course.
Photo: John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer