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A Field Guide to All the Races You Should Sign Up For Next Year

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to fill your calendar with races. After all, it makes training that much better.

Brenden Clarke

The more running groups I discover, the more I realize how excited runners get when discussing upcoming races. Not only are races a great way to test your fitness and speed, but each event offers you the chance to beat your best — and quite possibly your co-worker or rival. There are big races (like the Boston and New York City Marathons) and small races (like the Beach to Beacon 10K), each of which have their own qualifying times, race days and sell out dates. For some, the thrill of a race sign up is logging on at 6:59 AM to make sure you’re first in the queue for the 7 AM launch. For others, you have weeks to debate throwing your name in the hat of big and quick-to-sell-out races like the New York City Half and the Chicago Marathon. Whether you’re someone who likes to race to make training more enjoyable, or you use it as a way to travel, there are a plethora of events that we’ve added to our calendars this year.

If you’re new to running or racing, finding the right race can be overwhelming. A quick Google search for races near me results in about 3.4 billion results (and I’m based in NYC). To help you narrow your choices, we polled the Gear Patrol staff for their favorites, as well as some friends whose gumption for races we really admire. And we didn’t just limit the races to running — we get it, some people hate it. Whether you run, bike, swim or all three, there’s an event here for you.

Races for 2019

We listed these races in order of calendar succession.

Louisville Criterium

Date: March 23, 2019
Sign Up Date: By March 20, 2019
“The event attracts the top local and international cyclists as a kick-off to race season. If you aren’t familiar with road cycling criteriums, they are heart-pounding, tight-cornered, extremely fast road cycling races consisting of several laps around a closed circuit, the length of each lap or circuit ranging from about 800m to 10,000m. They are super technical: the ability to corner smoothly while holding a straight line fast and sharp, and riding safely with a big group of cyclists is not easy, but I am stoked for the challenge again this year!” — Massimo Alpian, Account Director, Outside PR

Learn More: Here


Date: March 30, 2019
Sign Up Date: Follow @OrchardStreetRunners on Instagram
If you run the perimeter of Manhattan, you’ll hit about 30 miles, which is exactly why Orchard Street Runners puts on a 30-mile race every single year. OSR, for the uninitiated, is one of the fastest running crews in New York City. The founder, Joe DiNoto, first created the race as a competition between friends, and then it got heated. Now, DiNoto puts on the race every year. — David Kilgore, On Runner

Learn More: Here

Boston Athletic Association 5K

Date: April 13, 2019
Sign Up Date: Closed
“I’ve never run this before, but Boston will always have a warm spot in my heart. It’s a manageable commute from NYC for a race. And the fact that this is the unofficial kick-off for Marathon weekend in Boston makes it hype-worthy. Come for the road 5k course that I’ve heard involves some gnarly, almost-dislocate-your-hip turns, stay for the fact that you can cheer on thousands of your closest friends as they battle through Boston’s streets during one of America’s most historical races.” — Jeanne Mack, Co-Host of Runners of NYC podcast and Olympic Trials Qualifier

Learn More: Here

The Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon

Date: May 18, 2019
Sign Up Date: January 30th for General Public
“It’s a well-compartmentalized course that is a little bit difficult in the beginning and then one straight, slightly downhill line for a large chunk of time before ending on the Coney Island boardwalk. The route goes by quickly, there are people with witty signs cheering along the way, and you’re at Coney Island before noon on a weekend. What’s not to love?” — Jeanne Mack, Co-Host of Runners of NYC podcast and Olympic Trials Qualifier

Learn More: Here

Grandma’s Marathon

Date: June 22, 2019
Sign Up Date: Now Through June 1
“A lot of Hare A.C. runners will be aiming for fast times (2020 Olympic Trials’s standards, BQs or PRs) at this notoriously fast race in Minnesota.” — Louis Serafini, Community Manager for Tracksmith

Learn More: Here

Brooklyn Mile

Date: June 16, 2019
Sign Up Date: June 4, 2019
“Everyone should train and race a mile, and road miles like Brooklyn or the 5th Ave Mile add a layer of excitement you don’t get on the track.” — Lee Glandorf PR manager for Tracksmith

Learn More: Here

Blessing of the Fleet

Date: July 26, 2019
Sign Up Date: TBD
“This is not well known unless you’re a Rhode Islander or grew up near that holy land, but, it’s one of my favorite races. I’m hesitant to share this one because part of its charm is the hyperlocal scene it attracts, but I don’t want to be entirely selfish. It’s a 10-mile road loop that is guaranteed to be on the most humid evening of the summer, but there are spectators with hoses, ice packs, water and cold beers along the way. You can chase down the walkers, who have a separate start ahead of the runners, and at the finish line there’s a beer tent, small amusement park rides and more fried dough than you’d ever want immediately after running 10 miles. Plus it’s right near one of the best beaches in the state.” — Jeanne Mack, Co-Host of Runners of NYC podcast and Olympic Trials Qualifier

Learn More: Here

Xterra Steep Rock 10K Trail Race

Date: August 2019
Sign Up Date: TBD
“The only race for certain is the Xterra Steep Rock 10K Trail Race in August up in CT. I’ve run it the last two years, and I love the course. Not super competitive, but a lot of fun.” — Kevin O’Brein, Gear Patrol Account Manager

Learn More: Here

Beach to Beacon 10K

Date: August 3, 2019
Sign Up Date: March 13 for residents, March 14 for general public
Founded by Joan Benoit Samuelson, the 1979 and 1983 Boston marathon winner and Olympic Gold Medalist in 1984, this Maine race takes place the first weekend in August. When I started running with crews in New York, I quickly became aware of how fast this race fills up. Mark your calendars for the March signup date, as last year I was on 10 minutes in advance and sat with my screen reloading at least 10 times before I was told all the spots were gone. — Meg Lappe, Gear Patrol Staff Writer

Learn More: Here

Ironman 70.3 Boulder

Date: August 3, 2019
Sign Up Date: Now
“Boulder, my home base, is arguably the endurance athlete capital of the world and the Ironman 70.3 draws some of the best triathletes locally and internationally. Boulder, sitting at 5,328 feet above sea level, will challenge myself and all athletes at this race in August 2019 for the swim, bike, run trifecta that will offer 30 qualifying slots to the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupõ, New Zealand.” — Massimo Alpian, Account Director, Outside PR

Learn More: Here

NYC Century

Date: September 2019
Sign Up Date: TBD
“NYC Century is a multi-level ride in September born out of a push to make NYC more bicycle friendly, which I strongly support. It’s interesting to me because I have never been a serious runner and my knees can no longer take the impact, but I can ride on a bicycle all day. The ride is my opportunity at an endurance challenge I wouldn’t normally be interested in.” — Jason Dakota Davis, Gear Patrol Sales Director, East Coast

Learn More: Here

New York City Marathon

Date: November 3, 2019
Sign Up Date: Now Through February 14
“Every November, some 45,000 people cross the finish line at the world’s most popular marathon. I’ve long dreamed of being one of them but haven’t for myriad of reasons that boil down to a lack of motivation and love of craft beer. Last year, I cut back on IPAs and completed my 9+1 for guaranteed entry. I recommend the program to any New Yorker who’d rather invest time than money in their own marathon come-up — though they could, of course, fundraise $2,620 and run through Team for Kids.” — Jack Seemer, Gear Patrol Senior Editor

Learn More: Here

The North Face 50K

Date: November 16, 2019
Sign Up Date: Now
“I signed up last year (it was to be my first ultra!), and it was canceled due to the terrible air quality from the devastating local fires, so this race will be a long time coming. I’ve got another 50k planned for February in the Bay Area, the Golden Gate Trail Run, but if I can’t get prepared fully for that, then TNF will be my first attempt. It will be special as it’s in OutsidePR’s backyard, the Marin Headlands, probably one of the most beautiful and dynamic trail running areas in the US, and alongside many friends of the agency — HOKA, GU and more!” — Jess Smith, VP Outside PR

Learn More: Here

JFK 50 Miler

Date: November 23, 2019
Sign Up Date: March 1, 2019
This is the oldest ultra in the U.S. and it’s celebrating its 57th year. The race takes place along the Appalachian Trail with 1,172 feet in elevation gain. — David Kilgore, On Running Athlete

Learn More: Here

SpaceCoast Marathon

Date: December 1, 2019
Sign Up Date: February 15, 2019
This is the oldest marathon in Florida and is always the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It’s also the only space-themed marathon (and half marathon) that’ll give you the moonshot you need to hit your Boston Qualifying time. — David Kilgore, On Running Athlete

Learn More: Here

California Interntional Marathon

Date: December 8, 2019
Sign Up Date: March 2019
“This very fast marathon keeps bringing out the best in amateur running. An ideal place to hit a goal like a PR or BQ.” — Louis Serafini, community manager for Tracksmith

Learn More: Here

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