There is nothing quite like the collective buzz at the start line to make fitness feel more fun. So what better way to maintain momentum throughout the year than by having a race (or several) on your calendar? Mix in different distances, entertaining themes and new locations to keep miles fresh, and add a dash of friends to make sure you have a blast! We’ve found goal-worthy races throughout this spring and summer. Sign up for these rave races or use them as inspiration to seek out cool events closer to home.
Cooper River Bridge Run
LOCATION: Charleston, SC
Running across a giant bridge feels a little dangerous—in that safe-but-thrilling way. Once a year the 2.7-mile-long Cooper River Bridge (an entire mile longer than the Golden Gate!) partially shuts down to traffic so that 40,000 runners can make their way from the beach town of Mount Pleasant, across the cable-stayed structure and into downtown Charleston. bridgerun.com
REASON TO RUN: Finish the race with food and new friends at the Charleston Running Club’s breakfast tent.
Bay to Breakers
LOCATION: San Francisco, CA
Anything goes at this nutty festival disguised as a footrace. Elaborate costumes, public nudity or sumo suits—the level of zaniness is up to you. Historically a 7.4-mile booze fest, this race now strictly prohibits alcohol on the course. But thirsty runners may still stop in at the house parties that line the route for a breakfast brew or two. baytobreakers.com
REASON TO RUN: Skipping this race may result in a case of FOMO ( fear of missing out). The world’s largest footrace has more than 110,000 (both official and unofficial) participants.
Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon
DISTANCE: 4 miles, half and full marathon
LOCATION: Anchorage, AK
There’s a lot to love about the laid-back vibe of this northern gem. Despite a June date, the weather is never blazing (it is in Alaska after all). A field of roughly 4,000 runners, a contest for the best aid station (with a cash prize) and pristine scenery give this event a community feel. The route goes along paved streets, dirt roads and dense forest, with a little bit of a kick at the uphill finish! goseawolves.com
REASON TO RUN: Post-race head to the nearby Summer Solstice Celebration for live music on the lawn!
Peachtree Road Race
LOCATION: Atlanta, GA
With 60,000 runners, this super popular race has a lottery entry system for easy registration. This means runners can save their energy for tackling the rolling course. The infamous “Cardiac Hill” comes after a lengthy downhill spell to ensure the fireworks you feel in your quads are as impressive as the ones you’ll see in the sky that night. peachtreeroadrace.org
REASON TO RUN: Historically, there weren’t enough shirts for all the finishers. Everyone now receives their own, but the collector’s status remains.
Falmouth Road Race
DISTANCE: 7 miles
LOCATION: Falmouth, MA
What better place to celebrate sum-mer than a quaint New England fishing town? Plus, the deep history of the race (its third running, in 1975, was led by running hero and Olympian Frank Shorter) lends a certain caché. With a beautiful course, a field that ranges from elites to 8-year-olds and enthusiastic volunteers, everything about the experience inspires you to give it your all. falmouthroadrace.com
REASON TO RUN: Running makes the famous, post-race hot dogs taste even better!