Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



5 Great Races For Beginner Runners

A newbie-turned-race-veteran lends event ideas for beginner runners looking to cruise through their first finish lines.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.


best damn race

Expert: Tori McGee
This certified running coach and personal trainer wasn’t always a runner. In fact, she’s only been running for six years, but she’s quickly become so hooked on the sport, she’s already added multiple marathoner, ultramarathoner and Ironman triathlon finishes to her racing résumé. The 28-year-old Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Program coordinator for the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, Fla., shares some of her favorite races for beginners.

“Running the Las Vegas Strip at night will always be one of my favorite race memories. The cooler temps, pancake-flat course and bright lights of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half make ideal conditions for a new runner hoping to jazz up her first race!”
When: 11/15
Where: Las Vegas

Related: 6 Speedy And Small Half Marathons

“Held on St. Patrick’s Day weekend every year in New Orleans, the Shamrockin’ Run is one big party packed with fun. The 8K race pushes the distance just a bit to pro-vide the next challenge for new (and seasoned 5K) runners. Stick around for the elite race, where you might see history in the making as the world’s fastest runners compete to break the 8K world record.”
When: 3/13/16
Where: New Orleans

“Last year I celebrated my ‘Best Damn Bachelorette’ by running one of the Best Damn Races with all of my girlfriends. The series has 5K, 10K, half and full marathon distances, so there’s something for every runner. For a couple of my girlfriends, this was their first-ever race experience and seeing them cross the finish line was the best bridal party gift ever!”
When: Multiple dates
Where: Multiple locations in Florida

Related: Races With Unique Scenery

“For those with a ‘go big or go home’ kind of attitude, the Marathon de Paris is the perfect race. My husband and I ran it together on the last day of our honeymoon and it was a surreal experi-ence from start to finish. Taking in the sights of the Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and more made this a one-of-a-kind experience that I’ll never forget.”
When: 4/20/16
Where: Paris

“The Iron Girl Race Series is all about empowering women. The relaxed environment makes first-timers feel welcome while offering a challenge you’ll be proud you accomplished. I love that this series also includes some sprint triathlon races—perfect for runners who want to mix up their cross-training efforts!”
When: Multiple dates
Where: Multiple locations

Want to connect with Tori and follow her latest running adventures? Check her out on Twitter @ToriMcGee!