2. The Santa Scramble 5K, Saturday, in downtown Concord: Three things set this race apart from the typical 5K. No. 1, it's got an afternoon start, at 2 p.m. No. 2, it's a point-to-point race, with -- I'm told -- an overall net loss of elevation (i.e. it's mostly downhill). No. 3, it kicks off the annual Concord Christmas Parade, so you can expect good crowd support and a festive mood all along the way. Buses will begin taking runners from the Cabarrus County Senior Center (331 Corban Ave. SE) to the start area at noon. All runners need to be at the starting line by 1:45 p.m. For the race Web site, click here. To register, click here.
4. The Fellowship of the Idiots Run, Saturday, at the Stanly County Family YMCA in Albemarle: Not so much a race as it is a loong training run (19.7 miles), from the Y in downtown to the top of Morrow Mountain and back. Start time is 5:30 a.m. There'll be water at Mile 6 and at Mile 13.7, and refreshments at the finish. Runners who complete the trek get a "Fellowship of the Idiots" T-shirt and a certificate, and their name will be engraved on the FOTI plaque at Vac & Dash. The best part? It's free. To sign up, e-mail your name and T-shirt size to email@example.com or call 704-983-3274. More info here.
5. And don't forget the second of Run For Your Life's Thunder Road Marathon Course Preview Runs, 7 a.m. Saturday, the Dowd YMCA (400 E. Morehead St., on the edge of uptown): Runners will head out to preview the "back" 13.1 -- which reaches down into South End and up into NoDa. You can e-mail Dexter at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions ... or just come out and register for $10. (Note: If you paid for Part 1, you're already good to go for Part 2.) Fee gets you water and/or Powerade at multiple hydration stations as well as a technical T-shirt, although quantities of the latter are now limited.