Monday, May 18, 2009

Traveling for a race this summer?

I've traveled for races three times this year -- meaning that I planned out-of-town trips specifically around running events.

The first was Raleigh's Krispy Kreme Challenge in February (don't ask how it went). The second was Atlanta's ING Georgia Marathon in March (I ran the half). And the most recent was Charleston's Cooper River Bridge Run in April (10K PR for me!).

Although my family's been in the Charlotte area since 2006, these were my first visits to each of those cities. I'd heard there's no better way to get to know a city than to run through it, and I can now matter-of-factly report: You're damn skippy it is.

Today, I'm signing up for another out-of-state race. Only this time, I'm planning the race around the trip. In fact, as soon as we decided to make a trip to visit my wife's parents in Overland Park, Kan., for the Fourth of July, I checked online to see if there would be a race going on while we're there ... and found a July 4-themed 5K being run just a few miles from their front door.

In this case, I'm not registering for the Lenexa Freedom Run because I'm eager to get to know Lenexa, Kan. -- happy to make its acquaintance, but frankly I don't have it on my "Top 10 cities I hope to someday run a race in" list.

But I'm taking the advice of an old college buddy, who says that whenever he travels, he tries to find a race to run. And why not? Meet a few new people, have fun and be enlightened, and -- perhaps most importantly -- prevent myself from totally turning into a slug while on vacation.

Are you running any out-of-town races this summer? Are you planning your trip around the race, or did you book your travel and then start looking for an event?


Anonymous said...

We have done a few vacations around a race. Last year we did the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon. For us it was the prefect combo. Fell over our vacation week, great race, and someplace we wanted to vacation at. 13.1 miles followed by 6 days/nights of drinking wine ;-)

Serious Running: Chris Barber said...

I try to do a race or a trail run every time I travel. The race you meet the local people but on the trail you also get a feeling for the local environment. This weekend I was traveling the Raleigh area so I decided to run the Skirt Chasers 5K. It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of great Raleigh people!