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5 Great Races You Need To Run This Year

  • November 29, 2017

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top west coast races

Whatever level you are as a runner, there are races you would do no matter what. Aside from training for your 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons and marathons, you run some races just because it's fun and you love the atmosphere. Even the most experienced marathoner will run a 5K he or she likes just for the pure enjoyment of it. With that in mind, I compiled a list of the best West Coast races.

Basically, these are races I think you'll want to add to your running bucket list. I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments.

Top 5 Best West Coast Races That You Need To Run

Las Vegas Great Santa Run

You just have to make the Las Vegas Great Santa Run a "must run." Let's see here ... you get to run in a Santa suit. And it's part of your racing packet.

So, what more do I need to say? Oh, right. Vegas baby!

You have the option of running a 5K or a 1-miler through the streets of Las Vegas without the cops chasing you because you knocked off a casino. Sounds like a great time to me.

Since it's only a 5K at most, why not make a weekend of it? There are some awesome air and hotel packages for your trip to Vegas. And if you're staying for a while, check out some general deals and discounts for the city! So, bring the family, run the race together, and have a great time. Strollers are allowed on the course and children 3 and under are FREE (like the casino buffet).

Carlsbad 5000 near San Diego

With the "All-Day 5K" plus a 5K and kids' race, the Carlsbad 5000 is an absolute must. "World records have been broken on this flat, coastal course, which features a separate elite wave worth watching for inspiration after you’ve finished your race." says Visit California. "If you’re eager to break your 5K time—and want to enjoy a beautiful beach vacation afterwards—this northern San Diego County event is the place to do it."

Who's up for running a 5K four times? Anybody? Bueller?

Plus, it's another chance to make a family vacation out of it. Run the 5K and kids' race -- then get away to San Diego for the weekend. Who's in?

Related: 10 Best Half Marathons in the United States

Big Sur International Marathon in California

Don't let the subtitle fool you. There are plenty of options for runners of all levels at Big Sur. We have the By-the-Bay 3K, The 5K, The 10K, an 11-miler, a 21-miler, and a Marathon Relay. Like I said -- there's something for everyone!

Although there is a disadvantage to those running the shorter races says Visit California since "... you’ll miss one of the course highlights—a tuxedo-clad grand piano player at mile 13."

VC also points out why this is another race you have to run (no matter which one you choose):

Runner’s World has called this the “most scenic race on the continent” and it’s hard to disagree. Rugged cliffs, majestic sequoias, and the turquoise Pacific Ocean line this point-to-point course from Big Sur to Monterey, and the biggest pack of spectators you’ll see are the cows noshing on grass on the hillside.

Halloweenathon in Portland, Oregon

Personally, I'm a big fan of running on a golf course. I do a lot of my training on the golf course near my neighborhood. It's fantastic hill work.

So, this Halloweenathon sounds right up my alley in Oregon. You get to dress up in a costume, enjoy the nacho bar, a bowling contest, and the kids can trick or treat. What's not to love?

There are plenty of racing options to choose from including, a 10K, 5K, and 2.5K. Plus, I hear Portland is a beautiful place to visit. Do I sense another destination run on our best West Coast races list?

Ugly Sweater Run in Seattle

best west coast races

That's me with my son. I'm not in a sweater, but you get the point.

Who doesn't have that incredibly ugly sweater that our Aunt Sally (or whatever) knitted us many Christmases ago? Yeah, how about you wear that during the Ugly Sweater 5K Run in Seattle?

I was in Seattle years ago with my parents and brothers. From what I remember, it was a great city. We had an awesome time having dinner the rotating Space Needle and caught a Mariners game.

So, I know for a fact that it's a fun family town. Get the kids and put this one on your short list for the best West Coast races too.

What's On Your Best West Coast Races List?

If you've run in any of these races, I'd love to know! Do you have a race you think should be included in a future round-up? Let us know in the comments.

5 Great Races You Need To Run This Year