The more running groups I join, the more I realize how excited runners get about upcoming races. Not only are races a great way to test your fitness and speed, but each event offers you the chance to beat your best time — and quite possibly compete with your co-worker or rival. There are big races (like the Boston and New York City marathons) and small races (like the Beach to Beacon 10K), each of which have their own qualifying times, race days and sell out dates. For some, the thrill of a race sign-up is logging on at 6:59 AM to make sure you’re first in the queue for the 7 AM launch. For others, you have weeks to debate throwing your name in the hat for big and quick-to-sell-out races like the New York City Half and the Chicago Marathon — both of which have lottery entries.
Whether you’re someone who likes to race to make training more enjoyable, or you use it as a way to travel, there are a plethora of events that we’ve added to our calendars this year to start checking them off our bucket lists.
To help you narrow your choices, we polled Gear Patrol staffers and colleagues for their favorites. And, we didn’t just limit it to running races. Whether you run, bike, swim or all three, we’ve curated a list of events here for you — and, bonus, the gear you need to get started.
Races for 2019
We listed these races in order of calendar succession.
Louisville Criterium, Louisville, CO
Date: March 23, 2019
Sign Up Date: By March 20, 2019
“The event attracts the top local and international cyclists as a kick-off to race season. If you aren’t familiar with road cycling criteriums, they are heart-pounding, tight-cornered, extremely fast road cycling races consisting of several laps around a closed circuit, the length of each lap or circuit ranging from about 800m to 10,000m. They are super technical: the ability to corner smoothly while holding a straight line fast and sharp, and riding safely with a big group of cyclists is not easy, but I am stoked for the challenge again this year!” — Massimo Alpian, Account Director, Outside PR
OSR30, New York, NY
Date: March 30, 2019
Sign Up Date: Follow @OrchardStreetRunners on Instagram
“If you run the perimeter of Manhattan, you’ll hit about 30 miles, which is exactly why Orchard Street Runners puts on a 30-mile race every single year. OSR, for the uninitiated, is one of the fastest running crews in New York City. The founder, Joe DiNoto, first created the race as a competition between friends, and then it got heated. Now, DiNoto puts on the race every year.” — David Kilgore, On Runner Athlete
Boston Athletic Association 5K, Boston, MA
Date: April 13, 2019
Sign Up Date: Closed
“I’ve never run this before, but Boston will always have a warm spot in my heart. It’s a manageable commute from NYC for a race. And the fact that this is the unofficial kick-off for Marathon weekend in Boston makes it hype-worthy. Come for the road 5k course that I’ve heard involves some gnarly, almost-dislocate-your-hip turns, stay for the fact that you can cheer on thousands of your closest friends as they battle through Boston’s streets during one of America’s most historical races.” — Jeanne Mack, Co-Host of Runners of NYC podcast and Olympic Trials Qualifier
Grandma’s Marathon, Duluth, MN
Date: June 22, 2019
Sign Up Date: Now Through June 1
“A lot of Hare A.C. runners will be aiming for fast times (2020 Olympic Trials’s standards, BQs or PRs) at this notoriously fast race in Minnesota.” — Louis Serafini, Community Manager for Tracksmith
Brooklyn Mile, Brooklyn, NY
Date: June 16, 2019
Sign Up Date: June 4, 2019
“Everyone should train and race a mile, and road miles like Brooklyn or the 5th Ave Mile add a layer of excitement you don’t get on the track.” — Lee Glandorf, PR manager for Tracksmith
Xterra Steep Rock 10K Trail Race, Steep Rock, CT
Date: August 2019
Sign Up Date: TBD
“The only race for certain is the Xterra Steep Rock 10K Trail Race in August up in CT. I’ve run it the last two years, and I love the course. Not super competitive, but a lot of fun.” — Kevin O’Brien, Gear Patrol Account Manager
Ironman 70.3 Boulder, Boulder, CO
Date: August 3, 2019
Sign Up Date: Now
“Boulder, my home base, is arguably the endurance athlete capital of the world and the Ironman 70.3 draws some of the best triathletes locally and internationally. Boulder, sitting at 5,328 feet above sea level, will challenge myself and all athletes at this race in August 2019 for the swim, bike, run trifecta that will offer 30 qualifying slots to the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupõ, New Zealand.” — Massimo Alpian, Account Director, Outside PR
NYC Century, New York, NY
Date: September 2019
Sign Up Date: TBD
“NYC Century is a multi-level ride in September born out of a push to make NYC more bicycle friendly, which I strongly support. It’s interesting to me because I have never been a serious runner and my knees can no longer take the impact, but I can ride on a bicycle all day. The ride is my opportunity at an endurance challenge I wouldn’t normally be interested in.” — Jason Dakota Davis, Gear Patrol Sales Director, East Coast
New York City Marathon, New York, NY
Date: November 3, 2019
Sign Up Date: Now Through February 14
“Every November, some 45,000 people cross the finish line at the world’s most popular marathon. I’ve long dreamed of being one of them but haven’t for myriad of reasons that boil down to a lack of motivation and love of craft beer. Last year, I cut back on IPAs and completed my 9+1 for guaranteed entry. I recommend the program to any New Yorker who’d rather invest time than money in their own marathon come-up — though they could, of course, fundraise $2,620 and run through Team for Kids.” — Jack Seemer, Gear Patrol Senior Editor
The North Face 50K, Sausalito, CA
Date: November 16, 2019
Sign Up Date: Now
“I signed up last year (it was to be my first ultra!), and it was canceled due to the terrible air quality from the devastating local fires, so this race will be a long time coming. I’ve got another 50k planned for February in the Bay Area, the Golden Gate Trail Run, but if I can’t get prepared fully for that, then TNF will be my first attempt. It will be special as it’s in Outside PR’s backyard, the Marin Headlands, probably one of the most beautiful and dynamic trail running areas in the US, and alongside many friends of the agency — HOKA, GU and more!” — Jess Smith, VP, Outside PR
SpaceCoast Marathon, Cocoa, FL
Date: December 1, 2019
Sign Up Date: February 15, 2019
“This is the oldest marathon in Florida and is always the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It’s also the only space-themed marathon (and half marathon) that’ll give you the moonshot you need to hit your Boston Qualifying time.” — David Kilgore, On Running Athlete
The Gear You Need to Compete
Wahoo Fitness Kickr Smart Power Trainer
Keep your training up through winter so you’re ready to go for a mid-spring race like the Louisville Crit with a smart power trainer. Wahoo Fitness makes some of the best training tools available thanks to accurate stats and responsive feel.
On Cloud X
This stable running shoe provides cushion and structure to help you survive 30 miles on the streets of New York City with Orchard Street Runners.
Boston Marathon Adidas Z.N.E. Winter Run Jacket
In case the weather is as turbulent as it was last year for the Boston Marathon, you’ll want a wind and water-resistant jacket that helps you look like you’re a regular at speedy races. The fabric in this jacket keeps you dry during snow and rain storms.
New Balance 1400v6
For a distance as short as a mile, you’ll need a pair of speedy shoes to get you through the streets of Brooklyn. These road flats are just over seven ounces and built to win races. A breathable mesh upper and low profile tongue are sleek, while the REVlight foam feels supportive underfoot from mile one to 26.2.
Under Armour Horizon RTT
When the trail race is called Steep Rock, it’s not a big leap to think you’ll need shoes that are just as intense. This high traction runner will stomp over any root or rock in its way. It’s built for neutral runners who want something stable underfoot that won’t wobble along the trail.
TYR Hurricane Cat 5 Sleeveless Triathlon Wetsuit
With 30 of the Boulder Ironman winners advancing to the World Championships, you’ll want gear that can give you a competitive edge. This wetsuit is where you’ll need to start. Wetsuits provide buoyancy and speed while you’re in the water, which is important for both beginners and experts.
Specialized Propero III
Whether you tackle the New York City century ride as a race or a way to log some weekend miles, you’re going to need a proper helmet. This race-inspired helmet is easy to adjust with an integrated ANGi crash sensor and MIPS.
The North Face Men’s TKA 100 Glacier Glove
For a race as late in the year as the New York City marathon, you have to be prepared for weird temperature dips and highs. Protect your hands over the course of 26.2 miles with a pair of fleece-lined gloves.
Nathan VaporAir Hydration Pack Running Vest
The North Face 50K is longer than a marathon, so you’re going to want to carry your own water. This hydration pack is comfortable and stuffed with pockets so you can store snacks, gels, sunscreen and band-aids in an easy-to-reach spot.
Stance Warped R2D2 Crew
Stance makes some of the best running socks — and these Star Wars-themed ones are bound to be lucky, especially when worn to the SpaceCoast marathon.
8 Best Shoes for Marathon Runners
Running 26.2 miles requires logging hundreds of miles, a serious mental fortitude and a good pair of shoes. Read the Story