Race for School Pride!
It’s fall and for most college towns across America, that means college football season. Saturdays have typically spent backyard tailgating with friends and family, cheering on your school and showing your school pride all day (eh…week) long, and cheering on the home team from the stadium. One of the best things about college towns is definitely the spirit and the energy that seems to reverberate through the streets when the fall semester starts back. But college towns are not just known for their fabulous university sporting events, and all the fun to go along with it. Some of the most fun sporting events come in the form of a public race that both new and seasoned, old and young can sign up for and enjoy. Some of the races happen in the spring, but one of the best ways to enjoy the fall in your college town is to join in on a race.
The AthHalf – Athens, Georgia
Home to the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia is one of the most exciting, energetic, and absolute best places to spend a Saturday in the fall – whether that means cheering on the Dawgs in between the hedges or running in the city’s favorite half marathon, the AthHalf. This race takes place on a Sunday in October, when runners get the chance to run around town. The race course is one of the best, and shows off all the best parts of the city, from downtown to Normaltown to the iconic Milledge Avenue, and of course, through UGA’s campus. In fact, runners finish off their run by running right into Sanford Stadium, the university’s revered football stadium. There ain’t nothin’ finer in the land, folks!
2. Amherst Half Marathon – Amherst, Massachusetts
Amherst College is set against the most picturesque New England fall backdrop during the months of October and November when the town hosts the Amherst Half Marathon. Runners can enjoy the brisk temperatures and the vibrant fall foliage while running through the Connecticut River Valley. Plus, Boston is just a quick trip away, and a great option for post-race celebrations and festivities!
3. Charlottesville Fall Classic Half Marathon – Charlottesville, Virginia
Charlottesville in the fall is a real treat for locals and travelers alike. It is located in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, and October brings the start of perfect fall weather and foliage, as well as a lot of great fun via the University of Virginia’s football roster. And every year, this historic college town hosts the Charlottesville Fall Classic Half Marathon, to show off its gorgeous campus and fall atmosphere. Runners certainly won’t be disappointed, as the race route is an out-and-back that shows off the historic Downtown Mall, Lee Park, and Darden Towe Park, as well as downtown Charlottesville and along the banks of the Rivanna River. And spectators, family, and friends of runners are bound to have a great time too, with superb the shops and dining options, and the breathtaking hiking trails at Shenandoah National Park, which is just minutes away.
4. Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon – Berkeley, California
Head west to the unofficial “public Ivy Leave” campus of the University of California Berkeley in mid-November for a race that shows off the city of Berkeley, as well as the iconic campus that is home to some of history’s most significant college events. Weather conditions in this area of the West Coast are pretty perfect for running, so you likely won’t have to worry about that: highs in the mid-60’s, lows in the mid-40’s, and not a lot of rain. This race also offers a ton of racing options, which is ideal for newbies who aren’t sure if a full half marathon is in the cards. Choose from the half marathon distance, 10k race, and 5k race. Additionally, if you compete in any distance three years consecutively, you’ll get exclusive “Three-Year” or “Five-Year Loyal Runner” rewards. (And if you end up running both the Biofreeze Berkeley Half and the Biofreeze San Francisco Half, then you can add a special SF/Berkeley Challenge Medal to your “race bling” collection!)
5. BCS Half Marathon – College Station, Texas
Texas A&M is known all over the world for its incredible spirit and traditions. A college football weekend in College Station is jam-packed with Aggieland traditions, and the traditions continue into December even beyond the end of the regular college football season, with the BCS Half Marathon. Aggies love their hometown, and this race course is designed to show it off to all those who participate. Runners run through campus and around some of the area’s beautiful parks and neighborhood streets. And if you’re concerned about the weather, don’t be. December in Central Texas still averages a mild and comfortable 60-70 degrees on most days, so conditions are perfect for a long morning run!
6. Tallahassee Marathon and Half Marathon – Tallahassee, Florida
For the majority of the year, Florida is not exactly the setting for prime running weather conditions. The sun is hot and bright and the air is sticky, stuffy, and thick with humidity. However, from mid-November through February, the state gets a bit of a reprieve from the oppressive heat – especially up near the panhandle, where Florida State University is tucked away in the state’s capital of Tallahassee. The race is usually held in late winter, around the start of February, and runners get to experience the beauty of some of Florida’s best public parks, lakes, and scenery, as well as run through the streets of downtown Tallahassee past beautiful neighborhoods, regal capital buildings, and of course, right through Stadium Drive on the campus of Florida State University. Not to mention, this race is ideal for newbies as the course (like most of the state) is flat and fast.
7. Tar Heel 10 Miler & Fleet Feet Sports 4 Mile Run
As spring starts to settle in North Carolina, The University of North Carolina starts to come alive with blooming flowers and trees, a wrap up of what-is-likely a very successful basketball season, and the Tar Heel 10 Miler and 4 Miler. Chapel Hill is one of those idyllic college towns – it always seems to be green, every building on campus is beautiful and rich with history, and students and the entire community are full of that Tar Heel spirit. That’s what makes this race great, and attracts more and more runners from the area each year. The race starts at the iconic UNC Bell Tower and runs through campus and out into the city of Chapel Hill. If you are up for a challenge, sign up for the “Double Down 14 Mile Challenge” and race both routes! Plus, the race swag from this event is enough to entice anyone to lace up and get running. All runners receive a race t-shirt, but bonus swag is available as well, including past items like hats, jerseys, baseball t’s, and beer glasses. (We hear the medals are also worthy of the registration fee!)