Today, I’m linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run for the Friday Five linkup. Each week, the link up has a different theme, and everyone gives their personal insight on the same subject.
This week’s theme is five Fall races.
All of these races are in the Charleston, SC area. I’ve picked various race distances, terrain, levels, and areas around Charleston so everyone can read about an option that’s right for them. I have also participated in all of these events myself.
September 12: Raccoon Pond Rush 10 Mile + Relay
Last year, I ran the inaugural Raccoon Pond Rush 10 Mile trail race which benefits the Lowcountry Autism Foundation. It’s on a horse trail in the middle of nowhere, and it’s still pretty hot in September, but helping families and kids with autism is a great cause and worth it. The post-race mimosas, candy, and burritos aren’t bad either.
At the Raccoon Pond Rush race, you can run a solo 10 miler. Since most of us have never run a 10 mile race, it’s a pretty good chance to PR by default- or a great long run if you are training for a 10K or half marathon.
You can register for the 4-person relay, 2-person relay, or solo 10 miler, making this a perfect opportunity to practice your trail running before some of the upcoming trail races such as the Lowcountry Trail Half Marathon, Race 13.1 Charleston, or the Ultra Chili 50K.
You can register at EventBrite.
September 19: Fall Equinox 10K
If you’re looking for a race to qualify for a Cooper River Bridge corral (seeded or competitive), the Fall Equinox 10K is it.
Held in Hampton Park, the Fall Equinox 10K is the only flat and fast 10K Charleston has to offer. If you’ve been running through the summer, this race is a great opportunity to capitalize on the strength you’ve built from running in the heat. Unlike the Bridge Run, you can enjoy free beer at the end if that’s your thing.
Since most area 10Ks involve bridges, connectors, and crowds, chances are you haven’t run a flat one in a while. This is a good race to shoot for a 10K PR and I set a PR here last year.
Register online through OnShore Racing.
October 10: Avondale 5K
While the number of running events in West Ashley is climbing, the Avondale 5K is a long-time event and very well attended. This race begins and ends at Triangle Char-N-Bar and benefits the Charles Webb Children’s Center.
The Avondale 5K course runs through the Avondale neighborhood with several turns, but you can still run a fast race and celebrate with free mimosas and breakfast burritos from Triangle. I ran this race last year, and the after party is one you don’t want to miss. This race also attracts a lot of walkers so if you are a walker or a run-walker, you will feel welcome here.
Register online at the Avondale 5K website.
October 10: Lowcountry Trail Half Marathon and 5K
If you’re more of a trail runner or live in the Johns Island area, the Lowcountry Trail Half Marathon and 5K might be the race for you. Held at Mullet Hall Equestrian Center, the race is on horse trails and shaded.
While I haven’t run the half marathon, I ran the inaugural 5K. Charleston County Parks and Recreation always does a great job with their races, offering tech shirts, swag, and delicious refreshments- including pizza and beer in 2013.
For newbies or those just getting into running, Charleston County also offers a 5K training program with this race as its “graduation race”. The trail is beautiful but technical, so it is probably not the course for a PR. With the mid-October timing, it works well if you’re training for a winter marathon, ultra, or half.
Register through the Charleston County Parks website.
November 14: Old Village Harbor 5K
If you want a cool road race with great views of the Charleston Harbor, door prizes, and a fun t-shirt, check out the Old Village Harbor 5K. This longtime race course runs through one of Mt. Pleasant’s most beautiful neighborhoods, and the homeowners and business owners come out to spectate and cheer for the runners.
I’ve raced the Old Village Harbor 5K twice, and each year (2013 and 2014), I left with a sweetgrass basket Christmas ornament as an age group award. I hang these on my tree each year. Winning a Christmas ornament has inspired me to put up a running-themed Christmas tree full of race medals this year.
Local Charleston artist Tate Nation does custom artwork for the race t-shirts each year as well. While the shirts are cotton, it’s a fun shirt to wear when you’re not running, or the art would make a great centerpiece on a race t-shirt quilt.
The race also offers tons of door prizes, so you’ll want to stick around to hear your race number called (Tip: If you go to your car to change clothes after a race, take your number to the finish). It also features a good mix of faster runners, run-walkers, and walkers.
Register online at Timing Inc’s website.
I don’t receive any kickbacks if you do or don’t run these events, but local race directors and charities put a lot of time, effort, and money into them. If you’re in Charleston and not sure about which races to run this Fall, I hope you’ll consider some of these or support at least one local race this Fall.