All of this race selection waffling has me pondering big questions when it comes to what I am trying to get out of a marathon. Sure, I’ve got that big goal out there to run 50 marathons by my 50th birthday. But I don’t really want to just “accumulate” marathons along the way. Those race series where runners just take on endless loops of the same course for miles on end and days at a time in order to rack up marathons do not appeal to me at all. Unless of course, they are in a location like Lake Tahoe – now that I could handle. (I should note that I have nothing against these kinds of race series and I can totally see the appeal for folks whose goal is to hit a certain number of marathons or achieve a high status in Marathon Maniacs. It’s just not the way I want to go after my 50 races.)
I want to do races that are special to me for one reason or another. Of course, not every marathon is going to be a New York or a Steamtown or a Big Sur. I’m totally cool with doing smaller races like Emerald Isle and Nova Scotia too because they are beautiful places and special courses that make me happy I’m a runner. I’ve already hit a number of races on my running bucket list:
- New York City Marathon
- San Francisco Marathon
- Disney Marathon
- Wineglass Marathon
- Flying Pig Marathon
- Marine Corps Marathon
So I’m off to a pretty good start. But there are still more that I would love to do. Here are my dream races for the next few years:
- Boston Marathon. No explanation needed
- Big Sur Marathon: I’ve driven this section of the California coast but I cannot even imagine how much more beautiful it must be to see it all during the slow, splendor of a marathon.
- Grandma’s Marathon. I have heard nothing but amazing stories about this race and it’s one that I definitely want to experience.
- A Birthday Marathon: Every few years, the Space Coast Marathon and Seattle Marathons fall on my birthday. The next time it does, I want to run a marathon to celebrate my day.
- Avenue of the Giants Marathon. Big trees? Yes, please.
- Paris Marathon: I love Paris when I visited there in grad school. I wasn’t a runner then, so I would love nothing more than to run through those streets and see the city in my new favorite way. Plus, crepes.
- Athens Marathon: Wouldn’t it be amazing to run the race where it all started?
- Great Wall of China Marathon. Yes, I realize that this race is more of a 26.2 mile stair-climb than a run but I really just cannot imagine a better way to experience this iconic wonder than to traverse its steps in a marathon. I also realize that this is a stretch goal. I’m not sure that the logistics will ever work for me to be able to run this race but if the opportunity should ever arise, you can bet I will jump at it!
Runs I Do NOT Want to Do
I’ve also got a few races that I know sound amazing but are probably not going to be on my list. It’s not because these races aren’t awesome. It’s because I don’t think I can handle this much awesome!
- Comrades Marathon: This ultramarathon is billed as the marathon to do if you’re visiting South Africa. But while it does sound amazing, I think it’s 56 miles and “Big 5” hills might just be more of an adventure than I need in this lifetime.
- Big Five Marathon: Here’s another South African race to scratch off of my list. At first glance, the Big Five might sound like something right up my alley. It’s named after the “big five” game species that you are likely to see on the course: Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard. Awesome, right? But did you catch what I said there? You see the animals ON THE COURSE. During the race. And with a relatively small number of participants, you are frequently alone during these encounters. Um, no thanks. A marathon is scary enough. I don’t need a lion to decide that I look like a dying gazelle and decide to make me a snack!
- Any zombie run. Because, zombies. No thank you.