Here are details on three upcoming races that I expect will attract more than 3,000 runners each in the last five months of 2009 -- followed by a list of half a dozen that should draw at least 1,000.
1. The Thunder Road Marathon, Saturday, Dec. 12. Starts and finishes uptown. This year's event will be the fifth iteration of Charlotte's new marathon, and it has grown significantly every year; in 2008, nearly 5,000 marathoners, half-marathoners and 5Kers crossed the finish line. D.C. Lucchesi of Run For Your Life says "about half of all the marathon and half-marathon participants are from out of town. That means they're sleeping, eating and shopping here, pouring a couple mil into the local economy in the weeks right before Christmas. Plus, the event has turned tens of thousands of dollars back into local charities." Link to the official site is here. Early-bird registration (through Aug. 31) is just $75 for the marathon, $50 for the half, and $25 for the 5K.
2. Charlotte Southpark Turkey Trot 8K, Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26. Traverses Southpark neighborhoods. If you're looking to burn about 500 calories before wolfing down your turkey and stuffing, this is the place to be. Just make sure to register early -- last year, more than 3,000 runners help sell out the event, while another 252 people ran the 1-miler. There's also a 5K walk. Click here to see the registration page. It's $25 for the 8K, $20 for the walk or the 1-mile run.
3. Komen Race for the Cure, Saturday, Oct. 3. In uptown Charlotte. This fundraiser for breast cancer research features a 5K competitive race, a 5K noncompetitive run/walk, and a 1-mile route. It is "a celebration of life where runners and walkers of all ages gather to honor survivors who are winning the battle against breast cancer and to remember those who have lost their lives to this devastating disease." In 2008, 1,500 people affixed chip timers to their shoes, and several thousand more ran or walked simply for the cause. Details are here. Register by Sept. 1 for $33 (competitive) or $28 (noncompetitive). Thereafter, it's $35 or $30.
4. Hit the Brixx 10K/5K, Saturday, Sept. 26. In uptown Charlotte. The 10K is the eighth race of the 2009 Run For Your Life Grand Prix Series. # of 2008 finishers: 10K, 678; 5K, 413; total: 1,091. Official site: Click here.
5. Dowd YMCA Run, Saturday, Nov. 7. Traverses Dilworth neighborhoods. There's a 5K, but Charlotteans flock to this event because it offers one of the city's precious-few annual half-marathons. Almost 700 completed it last year. Official site: Click here.
6. Blue Points 5K, Saturday, Aug. 8. Starts and finishes at Bank of America Stadium, where -- of course -- the Carolina Panthers play. This unique setting is what brought almost 1,000 runners uptown for it in 2008. Official site: Click here.
7. Lungstrong 15K/5K, Saturday, Oct. 17. Traverses the Lake Norman area. Another case in which an uncommon distance is the draw -- more than 400 runners did the 5K last year ... more than 500 ran the 15K. Official site: Click here.
8. Yiasou Greek Festival 5K, Saturday, Aug. 29. Traverses Dilworth neighborhoods. Four words often get tossed around when Yiasou comes up: Charlotte's. Flattest. Annual. 5K. About 850 people crossed the finish line in '08. Official site: Click here.
9. Hopebuilders 5K, Saturday, Oct. 10. Traverses Myers Park area. Why this one? Worthy beneficiary (Levine Children's Hospital) and a peek at some of the city's most beautiful residential neighborhoods. # of 2008 finishers: 820.
Want to chime in about any of these? Or add your own favorites? The floor is now yours.