I've always loved a great race-cation ---> the combination of running a race and taking a little vacay at the same time. Who doesn't love the idea of celebrating and soaking in all the happy endorphins for a couple of days (or more if you can) after completing a race?
Thankfully there are plenty of great places to go and ways to do this.
The Competitor Group makes a running vacation easy by hosting annual running events all around the world. In the United States, their events offer runners a opportunity to travel to a lot of really great places including Washington DC, Chicago, Las Vegas, and many more. The event, which can be combined with an amazing vacation, is called the Rock n Roll Marathon Series. These events combine running with another popular passion: music. As you run, there are live bands playing at just about every mile making it feel as if you are running through a rock concert. Having done this a couple of times in Providence, Rhode Island, I can tell you that it is a lot of fun! There are even events available for those who are up for a bigger adventure and would like to travel overseas to places like Spain or Ireland. Talk about a global running experience! If you don't feel up to traveling that far, other North American options include Mexico and Canada race locations. There are so many options, runners will have a hard time deciding where to take their race-cation.
Another popular running vacation experience is to do one of the Disney races. These races are known for being more family oriented, although they are just as appealing for grown-ups too. If you have kids, you are probably going to find yourself at one of the giant resort parks at some point anyway, so why not combine it with a little fitness? Florida of course is the most well-known Disney location, but running travelers can also find a great experience in California. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and the others famous Disney characters can also be found waiting to spend time with travelers in Paris and even in Hong Kong! These events are perfect for any family because they boast no time restraints. You can 100% enjoy your time running or even walking a 5K, 10K or half marathon through the park and seeing it from a completely different point of view. And, with so many themes from Star Wars to Tinker Bell, there is something for everyone. The whole family will have a great time. You can also get race photos taken with all your favorite characters along the way.
For runners who prefer being outdoors enjoying nature to spending time waiting in lines for amusement park rides, the National Park Half Marathon, Ultra Marathon and Trail Running Festivals are a great way to combine running and vacation time. With these events you can just road trip around the US and experience the beauty of the nation's most iconic national parks ---> kind of like summiting all the major mountains for hikers. Vacation Races organizes 11 events in places like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, Yosemite, Yellowstone and many more. Running visitors can enjoy all levels of hiking before and after the events. Whether you use the trails for race prep or recovery, it is bound to be beautiful. The races promote sustainability with refilled water pouches and portions of the registration fees for these events are donated to the park making it a win-win for everyone.
Stand alone events also offer a great running vacation. Cross that major running event off your bucket list and then explore the area as part of your recovery. Thousands of people flock to places like Boston, New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles every year to complete dream races. In Boston, runners can wander around the historic city and enjoy some famous lobster rolls. The Big Apple has plenty of sights to offer or maybe just a day at the spa. In Los Angeles you can chase the stars or relax on a beach after crossing the finish line. Maybe you need to escape the cold winter by participating in the fourth largest marathon held in Honolulu, Hawaii in December. What a great place to pick up a shiny new medal and a tan ---> and trust me (because I was just there), the beaches are absolutely beautiful! Lots of people cross the big pond for a royal jaunt with hopes maybe of seeing more than just Buckingham Palace. Fancy a photo op of Will and Kate or Harry and Megan perhaps? Turn your race into a running vacation and you might get lucky while having a bit of recovery Yorkshire pudding.
One of my all time favorite places for a race-cation is Cape Cod. Every fall the ZOOMA Half Marathon Series holds an event in Falmouth. Not only is the scenery stunning, but the host hotel is right on the beach making it a perfect way to combine running with a little weekend getaway. Race organizers plan the weekend so that it makes a perfect weekend getaway for the ladies. That's right. ZOOMA is a women's race series. Gather in town a day or two early to relax on the beach and attend the pre-race mocktail. Prolong your stay after race day to take advantage of the ocean waves and sunshine with some recovery yoga on the beach. ZOOMA Race Series offers several race-cation locations including Austin, Annapolis and Amelia Island. All catering to strong and motivated women with weekend events filled with inspiration and pampering.
A fitness vacation centered around a running event can be both exhilarating and relaxing. Hitting up popular destinations for the scenery alone can be worth it, but nothing compares to participating in some of the best running events around.
Have you ever taken a race-cation? Do you have a running vacation on your bucket list? Do you have a favorite race series?