We’ve got our sunglasses on, the air conditioning cranked up, and our swimsuits at the ready. Summer is here, and with it comes peak race season. With so many options out there, it can be hard to pick out the best. Our top summer races feature everything from unique destination marathons, to endurance events, and the runs that are just plain fun. Take a look at these great races you are sure to remember long after the tan lines have faded.
July 4th, 2017 – Atlanta, GA
For nearly half a century, the AJC Peachtree Road Race has been attracting runners around the world to downtown Atlanta. It set out in 1970 with only 150 ATL locals, and now this historic 10k boasts 60,000 runners. Start the race in the streets of Buckhead, run through scenic views of downtown Atlanta, and finish in Piedmont Park where 4th of July Festivities are waiting to greet you. With a killer course and even better after party, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend the holiday!
August 27th, 2017 – Chicago, IL
For 34 years, the windy city has played host to the nation’s largest triathlon weekend: The Transamerica Chicago Triathlon. With over 9,000 annual participants, ranging in age from 7-94, this event has something for everyone to enjoy! The triathlon begins as you dive into Monroe Harbor for the swimming portion. Then traverse through the urban metropolis of Chicago as you bike along Lakeshore drive and into the heart of the financial district. Hop of your bike and make the final trek to the finish line as you cross through the city, ending with a view of lake Michigan. Racers under 17 may compete in the LifeTime Kid’s Triathlon, the first and longest running of its kind. Triathletes: the streets and waters of Chicago are calling your name!
June 17th, 2017 – Leadville, CO
This marathon isn’t for the faint of heart. Winding across Colorado’s most challenging mountain passes, the Leadville Trail Marathon & Heavy Half is the can’t miss event of the summer. Run through Mosquito Pass, up old mining roads in the Rocky Mountains, and finish at an astounding 13,185 ft. The event has garnered a reputation over the last seventeen years as one of the most difficult endurance races the statehas to offer and also acts as a qualifier for the Leadville Trail 100 Run. If you are ready for a race that combines endurance, exciting courses, and stunning views, come run Leadville where one of the most rewarding finishes of your life surely awaits.
August 27th, 2017 – Columbus, OH
If your dog doubles as your best friend and training partner, this race puts your pup right by your side. CHA Animal Shelter’s annual Dog Jog has become famous in recent years for their Fido friendly races. Each year the shelter puts on this fundraising event to help continue improving the lives of the animals in the Columbus community. Held in scenic Genoa Park, the Dog Jog sports a variety of vendors, games, and events for the whole family. It even offers both 5k and single mile race options. The Dog Jog is our unique race summer pick.
July 15th, 2017 – Kingsport, TN
With over a quarter century of history under its belt, the Crazy 8’s 8k has been heralded by Runner’s World as one of the ’25 iconic American road races‘. With a one of a kind figure eight course, candlelight trails, and an impressive finish at J. Fred Johnson Stadium, this race has character that’s all its own. It’s not just the most unique 8K course either, but also the fastest. Hundreds of PR’s and even a couple world records have been set on this infamous course. If you’re looking for a race that breaks the mold this summer, the Crazy 8’s 8K is calling your name!
June 25th, 2017 – Waikoloa Beach, HI
With Hawaii’s temperate climate, laid back lifestyle, and break taking scenery, you couldn’t find a better place to host a world-class marathon. The Kona Marathon has been drawing people all around the country to the Aloha state for nearly two decades. The course runs through Big Island, which is known for its abundance of Hawaii history and culture. Every mile of the course is lined with beautiful scenery. From unique Hawaiian architecture to palm trees and blue water beaches, you be hard stretched to find a marathon with a better view. In keeping with the Aloha spirit, the course allows 8 hours for completion giving even those who walk the course a chance to cross the finish line. If your idea of relaxation in Hawaii is taking in some of the main islands most scenic views on your way to the finish line, this race is for you!
July 9th, 2017 – Utica, NY
Each summer, for nearly an entire week, the town of Utica, NY transforms into a runner’s playground. During its thirty nine years, the famous Boilermaker Road Race has expanded from its original 15k race to include a 5k, 3 mile walking event, and a Kids’ Run, making it an event welcoming runners of all ages and abilities. Whether you are new to the running scene, or a seasoned athlete looking for an event that is as historical as it is challenging, the Boilermaker Road Race should be at the top of your list this summer!
July 10th, 2017 – Death Valley, CA
Are you ready to take on the single most challenging foot race in the world? Well then infamous Badwater 135 is awaiting you! This race is taking endurance running to new heights (and lows). From its start in Badwater, CA, the lowest point in the continental U.S., the races snakes 135 miles through Death Valley before culminating in a final climb of Mt. Whitney. Although the official course ends at the trail head, several thousand feet below Whitney’s peak, many runners opt to add another 7 miles to the race, reaching Whitney’s summit. The result is the largest vertical gain possible in the U.S., and some of the most stunning views of Death Valley possible. If you are well trained, motivated, and have a thirst for adventure, this race is for you!
June 17th, 2017 – Fairbanks, AK
Any runner out there could tell you that the middle of the night is not an ideal time for a race. Alaska however, begs to differ. The Midnight Sun Run has been taking place in AK for over three decades, and it’s popularity is only going up. As the name implies, runners don’t have to worry about venturing through the course in the dark. Due to Alaska’s latitude, this annual race is run in complete daylight, despite having a start time just two hours before midnight! With a huge costume contest, great craft beer, and an astonishing variety of people from around the continent, this is one race you’ll have to see to believe.
Want to browse more cool races? Check out our other blogs like Our Favorite Races in Colorado and Best Brunch Runs. Then make sure to cruise over to the new Athlinks.com and claim your official race results!