A January marathon means runners can’t slack off during the holiday season. Training must persist during the endless opportunities to feast and curl up by the fire. We all should run a January marathon! While the country gets cold and busy, there aren’t a ton of races, but what the calendar lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for it in quality. January presents some of the nation’s best races.
Billed as the most magical 26.2 miles on earth, the Disney marathon has a course like no other. All four theme parks are included in the races course. Runners will travel through Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom, and the Hollywood Studios. The course is lined with entertainment and support as well. Finishers earn a well deserved Mickey Mouse medal as they cross the line.
It wouldn’t be Disney if the race didn’t offer even bigger options as well. The marathon is the final race of a major race weekend. The Disney half marathon is the day before and for those up for the ultimate challenge, The Goofy Challenge is presented. Runners can attempt to run the half marathon on Saturday, earn their Donald Duck medal, and then lace up the next morning for the marathon. Those who complete the 39.3 miles earn an additional Goofy medal. Two races, three medals, and a whole lot of bragging rights!
2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona January 15, 2012
A beloved escape from the winter cold! Another stellar Rock ‘n’ Roll event is hosted in the lovely cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. This huge event takes off from downtown Phoenix and makes its way through the three cities ending at the Arizona State’s Sun Devil and Sun Angel Stadium.
This year brings runners a brand new course. While the route is new, the entertainment hasn’t changed. A band is promised at every mile to keep runners trucking to the finish line. Once the race is over, runners will get to recover to the sounds of the “World’s Greatest Party Band.” The infamous B-52’s are this year’s headliners at the Finish Line Concert. These Rock ‘n’ Roll events fill up fast for a reason!
3. 2012 ING Miami Marathon January 29, 2012
Who wouldn’t want to run a marathon along multiple film sets? The Miami Marathon offers that just by opening its streets. The star of the show is the course. Over 100 hit movies and TV shows are filmed along the course and offer great views for the runners. The runners are treated to a sweet soundtrack as well with over 30 entertainment stations lining the 26 miles. The race begins at the American Airlines Arena, the official home of the Miami Heat and runs through the sweet beach side course.
Runners are treated to a sea level course that offers a unique type of hill. In Miami, the bridges over the water are known as “hills.” While the inclines are slight, the views are amazing. And as everything is shiny in Miami, so is the bling at the finish line. Miami set the bar for finisher’s medals. Being the first race in the world to give spinning medals, this year they are offering a double spinner. Is there a better way to say, “Welcome to Miami?”
4. Chevron Houston Marathon January 15, 2012
Another wonderful escape from the winter chill is the Houston Marathon. This year the race will be celebrating its 40th anniversary. The fast, flat, and scenic single-loop course has been named the “fastest winter marathon” and the “second fastest marathon overall.” With its booming popularity runners get the pleasure of a huge crowd. Over 200,000 spectators cheer runners through the course, including belly dancers, Elvis impersonators, tuba players, marching bands, radio stations, cheerleaders and bag pipers. Because the average temperature is a pleasant 54 degrees, runners and supporters alike enjoy the course.
This year runners get the amazing opportunity to watch the Olympic Trails Marathon on Saturday, January 14, 2012. This historic event that takes place the day before the marathon will determine the three men and three women who will represent our country in the United States Marathon at the 2012 Olympics in London. Talk about a pre-race energizer!
Minnesota can boast of many things, but its winter running weather is not one of them. However, one of the most beloved marathons takes place here in the heart of winter. This year the 7th annual Zoom! Yay! Yay! Indoor Marathon will be ran once more on the indoor track at St. Olaf College.
The race is 150 laps around the track. Each runner receives a personal time keeper/cheerleader who also happens to be a member of the St. Olaf’s Women’s Track team. Runners love this race. The web is full of pages and pages of positive reviews. Runners receive 600 aid stations as they run the 26.2 miles, the weather is a steady and perfect 56-64 degrees, there’s never a drop of rain or snow, and there’s music the entire race.
There’s a lottery to get in every year as the race is capped to about 40 runners.With that small number all runners know each other within the first few laps. Dick Daymont is the race director and is credited with running an amazingly organized and personal event. He and his team of time keepers are praised for their enthusiasm the entire race. As runners finish their final lap they are cheered loudly by name and receive a finishers medal along with a unique finishers shirt that includes every runner’s name on the back. Not many races can guarantee perfect weather, and definitely not a winter race in Minnesota! Get your name in the hopper today!
6. The Icebreaker Indoor Marathon at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee January 22, 2012
Billed as “The most unique 26.2 miles of your life,” The Icebreaker Indoor Marathon offers another unique race in the bitter cold of January. The 130 runners who get an entry to the race will run laps around the ice rink of the Pettit National Ice Center to complete 26.2 miles. That ends up being about 95.5 laps. The event provides cool and dry weather to all it’s runners who can expect a 55 degree constant temperature the entire race.
This race offers some of the easiest spectating options of any marathon. Fans can easily watch the race from the bleachers or they can even join the open skate on the ice as they watch their runner. And if running nearly 100 laps wasn’t enough of a challenge, the Icebreaker Marathon offers an additional challenge. Runners can join the Gold Medal Challenge which includes running the half marathon the day before and then going for the full the very next day. Runners who complete the challenge receive a bronze medal for their half marathon finish, a silver for the full marathon, and a gold medal for having done both. Milwaukee has erased the option of blaming the weather for skipping your runs!