When I wrote about running in a Saturday newsletter and asked how people came to love it, I didn’t actually expect responses, but the ones I got were great. They ranged from “Some people are born with great bodies, others with dad bods. That’s why we run” to a running shop’s suggestion that I sign up for a running class.
The best was a story that started like this: The “act of running does not agree with me and yet I am fascinated by the idea of becoming a runner. For years I watched, admired and occasionally followed (in my car) runners doing their thing. On them, running looks graceful, peaceful, and somehow spiritual. When I run the earth literally wobbles beneath me.”
Despite the fact that I often feel clumsy and have to ice my shins after attempting to run, I still want to be a runner. If you have the same feeling, here are a few races that may actually give you that last bit of motivation you need to finally lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement more than once.
Frigid 5K Run & Plunge – February 11, 9 a.m. – Run a 5K through the Whitewater Center’s trails before heading straight for the deep end of the new Deep Water Solo pool, the first of its kind in the world. $30 for those who pre-register (by February 9) and $37 for day-of registration and the fee gets participants a race bib and, if registered by February 5, a Whitewater Race Series beanie. Register.
Cupid’s Undie Run – February 11, 12 p.m. – This 4-hour party with a mile(ish) run in the middle is hoping to raise $4 million for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. While the run in the middle of the event is, technically, a run, there’s no timer, starting gun, race bib or winner – and there are definitely no fitness models. In other words, straight from the source: “You might’ve seen some ripped sexy people in our ads (they’re probably assholes, jk), but the reality of Cupid’s is that men, women, thick and thin, young (21+) and old come and have a great time.” Register.
Color Me Green 5K Trail Run – March 11, 10 a.m. – Participants will run a 5K through the Whitewater Center’s trail system all while avoiding or inviting being hit with green dye in the spirit of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Awards will be given to both the cleanest and greenest runners at the end. Registration stars at $35 (must register by March 8 for this price). Register.
Know Your Craft 5K – March 25, 9 a.m. – The race benefits Project 2 Heal, which helps change the lives of those with special needs and veterans using the healing power of dogs, and will benefit the costs associated with stud fees, medical clearances and expenses as well as proper care for the animals. Dogs are, of course, welcome, and the race will be followed by a party at Triple C complete with live music and beer. Registration starts at $25 (must register by March 10 for this price). Register.
The Great Amazing Race – March 25, 3 p.m. – The 1.5-mile run (or walk) is made up of teams that are given a clue at stations along the route and a task or obstacle to complete before they can move on. Wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty or wet and challenges may include things like blindfolds and stilts. Registration starts at $48 and only 100 teams are accepted per race. Register.
Cookes for Kids’ Cancer 5K & Bake Sale – April 1, 9:30 a.m. – Run to raise awareness and money for the cure for pediatric cancer before snagging a treat made by volunteers or donated by local bakeries. Registration starts at $25 and gets the participant a t-shirt (must register by March 15). Register.
Rhythm & Run 5K – April 7, 6:30 p.m. – The 5K is a fundraiser event for Kannapolis’ North Carolina Music Hall of Fame & Museum and is followed every year by a party with excellent, live music. Registration starts at $20 (must register by February 24 for this price). Register.
Wild Turkey 5K Trail Run/Walk – April 22, 8 a.m. – Run or walk through the gardens, woods and fields toward Helms Park, where group of the birds from the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue benefitting from the race will be waiting to congratulate you for finishing. Stay after for the Heritage Festival. Registration starts at $20 for adults (must register by March 31 for this price) and gets participants free snacks, a t-shirt and a swag bag. Register.
Jiggy with the Piggy 5K – May 2, 6:30 p.m. – This isn’t just a 5K: It’s also a festival complete with things like a CBS Sanctioned BBQ competition, a People’s Choice BBQ and Wings Tasting, concerts, 100+ vendors and rides. Registration starts at $25 (must register by 7 p.m. on May 1 for this price) and t-shirts are guaranteed for those who register by April 14. Register.
Memorial Day Trail Race – May 28, 9 a.m. – Kick off Memorial Day weekend with a 5- or 8-mile race through the Whitewater Center’s trails and hang out for the day at the Center’s Memorial Day Celebration with live music and fireworks. Registration starts at $30 (5-mile) and $35 (8-mile) and participants must register by May 25 for this price. T-shirts are guaranteed for those registered by May 21. Register.
Brew Dash 6K – June 17, 9 a.m. – Earn the beers you’ll be sampling at the Whitewater Center’s 6th Annual Brew Stash Bash by running a quick 6K trail race. Registration starts at $30 (recreational), $35 (competition) and $50 (both) and include access to the Brew Stash Breakfast, food, drink and awards after. T-shirts are guaranteed for runners who register by June 11. Register.
Moonlight Bootlegger 5K – June 17, 8:55 p.m. – Run through a candlelit Anne Springs Close Greenway with a headlamp or flashlight and keep track of distance with the help of a bluegrass band at each mile marker. After you’ve crossed the finish line, enjoy live music and two free moonshine drinks. Registration starts at $29 (must register by February 28 for this price) and gets runners a t-shirt (if they’ve signed up by June 8), food and drink, two moonshine drink tickets and a commemorative moonshine mason jar. Spectators ($15) receive entrance to the party, 2 moonshine drinks and a mason jar. Register.
Tread Nightly & Tread Brightly Half Marathon & 4 Miler – July 21 and 22, 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. – Run through the Whitewater Center’s trail system just before you sleep and wake up and do it all over again the next morning. You can camp overnight, but slots are limited to the first 200 registrants. Registration starts at $30 (4-miler), $50 (half), $60 (both 4-milers and camping), $80 (half and 4-miler and camping) and $100 (both halves). Registration includes camping and a t-shirt for those who register by July 16. Register.