Where you can run in the footsteps of heroes
Plus races in New York, Atlanta, Urbandale, Key West + Martha's Vineyard
On my way into the office today, I saw a man running on the sidewalk in full firefighter gear. For the briefest of moments I did a double-take; why would someone run in all that when it’s already 80 degrees outside?
Just as instantly, I remembered what today is all about.
Normally I’m pretty chatty in this space, but we’ll save that for next week. Today is a day to remember the loved ones we lost and the ultimate sacrifice made by those who laid down their lives 18 years ago today.
As always, thanks for being a subscriber — keep in touch and let me know how your running is going.
New York, N.Y. | Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019
Honor the heroism of the first responders who lost their lives on 9/11 by retracing the steps of one — Stephen Siller, a firefighter who strapped on his gear and ran through the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel when he got the call that a fire had broken out in the World Trade Center. You’ll start the race in Brooklyn, where Siller began his trek that September morning, and follow his steps through the tunnel under the East River and then up onto the streets of Lower Manhattan. The race is slightly longer than a regulation 5K — it’s 3.5 miles — and the final steps of the route bring you within a block or two of where the Twin Towers once stood, and where the Freedom Tower stands today.
$65 and up | Sign up here
Mableton, Ga. | Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019
Long stretches of paved trails that snake through the lush, green, wooded forest areas of the northwest Atlanta suburbs are what you’ll find at this race, which follows the Silver Comet Trail, named for the old railroad that now is a paved multi-use trail for bikers, joggers and walkers and winds nearly 40 miles from Atlanta to the Georgia-Alabama state line. Run on the weekend before Halloween, the race takes place at a time when the weather in Atlanta should be perfect for running, with the sun streaming through the trees along the trail.
$65 and up | Sign up here
Urbandale, Iowa | Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019
Now in its fifth decade of taking runners on a dirty, wet, cold tromp through the woods and trails of the “world’s richest farmland,” on a course that organizers say will have you “wade through creeks, dodge farm animals and claw your way to the top of gullies with thousands of other runners of questionable senses,” the Living History Farms Race draws thousands of runners to the countryside of this suburb of Des Moines every fall — and usually sells out within hours, so don’t dilly-dally if you’re interested in being a part of it. (Registration opens on Sept. 27.) This English-style cross country race has eight water crossings, and a peek at the frequently asked questions gives a hint of what the experience is like: “Will it be cold? Probably! Will I get wet? Probably! Will I get dirty? Probably! Do I need gloves? Yes!”
$45 and up | Sign up here
Key West, Fla. | Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020
Run during Key West’s coolest month of the year, when temperatures on this small island at the end of the Florida Keys average between the mid-60s and the low 70s, this race starts near the island’s ferry terminal. Shortly after that, you’ll run your first mile down world-famous Duval Street, where partiers may still be going strong from the night before (who knows?). Later stretches run past Higgs Beach and the southernmost point landmark, as well as past the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum — home to perhaps the nation’s most interesting collection of six-toed cats.
$105 and up | Sign up here
Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. | Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020
A challenging yet beautifully scenic run through three beachside towns on this gorgeous, windswept island. Starting from the ferry terminal in Vineyard Haven, you’ll run past the historic gingerbread cottages of Oak Bluffs, which Southern Living magazine calls “the quaintest place on Earth.” After that, you’ll run along the beach barrier road with the waters of Nantucket Sound on one side and Sengekontacket Pond on the other, and later through the woods of the Manuel Correllus State Forest, where you’ll encounter some of the course’s only hills. While there are hills here and later in the race, they’re small enough that organizers say, “if you are from hill country you won’t even notice.” The 20-mile race distance isn’t a common one, but it’s one I love — I ran the 21-miler at Big Sur several years ago, and it’s right up there with the half marathon as my favorite race distance.
$55 and up | Sign up here
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Photo at top by Lacheev on Dreamstime.com.