Sometimes the magic of a race doesn’t lie in the performance. Sometimes it’s the race itself that creates a magnetic energy pulling you towards a great performance. Those road races next to oceanside views. Those trail races that lead to peaks where views of mountains stretch on. Maybe it’s the fact you get to own the streets of a beautiful city just for one morning, or maybe it’s the fans that unwaveringly cheer and cowbell you to the finish. We want to hear about those races, the races you would sign up for without hesitation. The starting lines you want to toe year after year.
Fearless Volée leader, Steph Willett, and I share our favorite races (besides the very obvious choice, The Tenacious Ten) to get the ball rolling!
STEPH'S FAVORITE RACE: AROUND THE BAY ROAD RACE
DISTANCE: 30 km (18.6 miles)
DATE: Last Sunday in March
LOCATION: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
RACE MAGIC: This race is amazing for so many reasons! The first running of Around the Bay took place on Christmas Day way back in 1894 which makes it “Older Than Boston” - one of the races many claims to fame! Since it’s been around for over 120 years, the race has had some time to develop some pretty unique race day traditions, but there are two which are my personal favorite:
- The finish line: The race ends inside First Ontario Centre (the city’s main stadium). As you round the last corner, you sprint down the loading dock ramp and then you find yourself face to face with your face on the arena’s big screen as you sprint the last 100 yards of the race on the stadium track. This is the closest I’ve ever come to feeling like I’ve been in a final Olympic sprint!
- The Grimm Reaper: Yes, you read that right, the Grimm Reaper! There is a notoriously big hill within the last few miles of the race. If you are lucky enough to make it up the hill you’ll be faced with the Grimm Reaper. As you run by him, he mumbles his signature discouraging taglines – “You’re not gonna make it…” “It’s too far…” “You’re gonna quit before you get there.” Sure, it’s a little morbid, but it’s somehow a super fun, long lasting tradition. Once you see the Grimm Reaper, you know you’re almost there!
HANNAH'S FAVORITE RACE: RAINIER TO RUSTON
DISTANCE: 50 mile ultra or team relay
DATE: First weekend of June
LOCATION: Carbonado, Washington
RACE MAGIC: For starters, it's almost all downhill, starting from a high point near the base of Mt. Rainier, all the way to the waterfront of Tacoma... and I will never say no to a good downhill. Second, it's a family tradition and nothing is more fun than teaming up with my equally ultra competitive family members (let's just say if you're on our team even the car ride to hand off zones is a race). The race is a smaller local race if you are looking for an alternative to a big relay race ike Ragnar. The race divisions include the ultra and the relay teams conisisting of two, four, or six people. The course has an awesome variety of surfaces from road, to paved trail, to dirt trails. Also, a variety of views make this race interesting because at one point you can be running through trees in the cascades (next to a man in a sasquatch costume), and the next you are sporadicaly running through the streets of Tacoma trying to avoid stops at the crosswalks. After finishing the race you get to enjoy beer from local breweries and grilled cheese. Win, win.
Now we want to hear from you! Help us make a complete race map by sharing the races you keep coming back to. Share on Twitter or Instagram, tagging #favflyte to help us build a comprehensive race calender for all months of the year!