A blog by runners. For runners.

Races where you’re guaranteed a PR

Races guaranteed to get you a PR I’m pretty sure all runners have one thing in common: we love to PR! Setting personal bests usually takes dedicated training, persistence, and usually a little luck (like good weather on race day, for instance).

But what if we told you there are certain races where you can set a PR just for finishing? Yup, they’re out there. All you have to do is run a distance you’ve never raced before – it’s as simple as that. Of course, many seasoned runners have the biggies covered – 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon – but there are plenty of odd distance races out there that most of us haven’t run.

Give these races a try – and earn a new PR in the process:

  • Elizabeth 8K road race, Charlotte, NC, March 29, 2014. The 8K is just shy of 5 miles – 4.97 miles to be exact – and is one of the more popular unusual distances offered.
  • Eastern States 20-miler, Portsmouth, NH, March 30, 2014. The point-to-point 20-mile race that takes runners from Portsmouth, N.H. to Salisbury, Mass. is touted as a great final, long training run for April’s Boston Marathon.
  • Marine Corps 17.75K, Prince William Forest Park outside of Quantico, VA, April 12, 2014. The 17.75k distance was chosen to celebrate the year the Marine Corps was founded – 1775. In addition to your new PR, finishers earn guaranteed entry into the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon.
  • Bay to Breakers 12K, San Francisco, Calif, May 18, 2014. This beautiful, coastal point-to-point course is the U.S.’s oldest road race – it’s been held each year since May 1912.
  • Falmouth road race 7-miler, Falmouth, Mass., August 17, 2014. This popular road race – 12,000 runners are expected to compete this year — takes participants on a 7-mile tour through picturesque Cape Cod.
  • Leesburg 20K, Leesburg, VA, August 17, 2014. The Leesburg 20k race can serve as the perfect trial run for an upcoming half marathon — the 20k distance equals 12.4 miles.
  • Charleston 15-mile distance run, Charleston, WV, August 31, 2014. This 15-mile distance run is said to be the only 15-mile road race in the America. The course is described as scenic and challenging due to some hilly sections.
  • Hot Chocolate 15K race series, various dates and locations across the U.S. “America’s sweetest race” is typically held during cold weather months. Runners celebrate their 9.3-mile accomplishment with mugs of hot cocoa and chocolate fondue at the finish line.
  • OctoRun 13k, Hatfield, Penn., October 19, 2014. Get into the Halloween spirit by running a spooky distance – a 13k – and set a PR in the process.

Do you have a favorite uncommon race distance?

 Written by Jen Matz.