Iconic US Road Races

Below are a few iconic US Road or Trail Races that F and M Track Club members have participated in. All the races are worth the entry fee and travel time if you can fit it into your schedule. Some races have open entry while others are by lottery or qualifying time. Current dates listed are for 2023 with some variability in subsequent years.

Bay to Breakers in San Francisco California

Held Third Sunday of May

Bay to Breakers is held in San Francisco, California on the third Sunday of May. The phrase “Bay to Breakers” reflects the fact that the race starts at the northeast end of the downtown area a few blocks from The Embarcadero (adjacent to San Francisco Bay) and runs west through the city to finish at the Great Highway (adjacent to the Pacific coast, where breakers crash onto Ocean Beach. The complete course is 7.46 miles (~ 12 km) long. The race is well known for many of the participants wearing costumes. The number of runners is roughly 50,000.

Course Records: Sammy Kitwara (2009, Mens, 33:31) and Lineth Chepkurui (2010, Womens, 38:07)

Beach to Beacon in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Held First Saturday in August

This picturesque 10K race in Cape Elizabeth begins near the entrance to Crescent Beach State Park on Route 77, winds along tree-lined streets and ocean vistas, and ends at Fort Williams and the historic Portland Head Lighthouse. The race started in 1988 by Joan Benoit Samuelson who was the 1984 Olympic Marathon gold medalist. The race usually has about 6,500 runners and although logistics and heat (average temperature is 78F) can be challenging, it is well worth the trip to Maine.

Course Records: Gilbert Okari (2003, Mens, 27:28) and Mary Keitany (2017, Womens, 30:41)

Bix 7 Road Race in Davenport, Iowa

Last Held July 25, 2020

This 7-mile road race is held annually in July  in Davenport, Iowa as a commemoration to Davenport native and jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke. It is followed a week later by the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival. The race was founded in 1975 by John Hudetz, a resident of Bettendorf, Iowa. After competing in the 1974 Boston Marathon, Hudetz was inspired to bring the excitement of road racing to the Quad-Cities with a race of his own. The inaugural race had a field consisting of 84 runners and today the race typically includes about 20,000 runners. The US boycott of the 1980 Olympics helped gain the Bix 7 exposure. Bill Rodgers, the world’s top distance runner at the time, was unable to compete in Moscow Olympics so he went to Davenport that year to race.  The Bix 7 is the largest non-marathon race in the Midwest and draws elite talent from both the US and International elite running fields.

Course Records: John Korir (1998, Mens, 31:51) and Mary Keitany (2016, Womens, 35:18)

Bolder-Boulder 10K in Boulder, Colorado

Last Held Memorial Day (May 25, 2023)

The Bolder Boulder is an annual 10-K race held in Boulder, Colorado. The most recent race included over 54,000 entrants, making it the second largest 10k race in the US behind Peachtree and the fifth largest road race in the world. The race was started in 1979. The race is a loop course that starts in downtown Boulder and  finishes at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field. Due to the size of this race, there are multiple wave starts.

Dipsea Trial Race in Mill Valley, California

Last Held Second Sunday of June (June 18, 2023)

The Dipsea Race is a trail event in Mill Valley, California which is across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.  It is the oldest cross-country trail running event and one of the oldest races in the United States having been held annually since 1905. It is about 7.5 miles in distance and is known for its scenic course and challenging trails. The race starts on Throckmorton Avenue in Mill Valley and after traversing a few blocks,  runners must climb 700+ stairs leading up the side of Mount Tamalpais, and then pass through the Muir Woods, Mount Tamalpais State Park, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The ascent over the southern shoulder of Mount Tam reaches its apex around the top of Cardiac Hill, about 4.5 miles into the race.   Among the challenges of this race include the undulating, single-track trails and steep terrain with about 2,500-foot elevation gain and loss over the course. The race ultimately finishes on Stinson beach where you can head into the water although the temperature is usually about 60* or colder.  The Dipsea’s handicapping system adds to the intrigue and suspense created by this race. Most participants, with the exception of ‘scratch’ runners, are given a head start based on age and gender.The oldest and youngest runners are given up to a 25-minute advantage over the fastest competitors, making it possible for virtually any age group to produce a race winner. 

Because of its history, beauty and challenge, this is a very popular event, and due to safety and environmental concerns the number of runners is limited to 1,500.  If you want to run this iconic race pay close attention to the registration process and mail your entry as soon as registration opens.

Falmouth Road Race in Falmouth, Massachusetts

Last Held 2nd Sunday in August (August 16, 2023)

This is a 7.0-mile (11.3 km) road race on Cape Cod which starts in Woods Hole and finishes along the beach at Falmouth Heights. This race was the idea of Tommy Leonard, an avid runner and popular bartender in Boston and Falmouth.  After Frank Shorter won the 1972 Olympic marathon Leonard was quoted as saying “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could get Frank Shorter to run in a race on Cape Cod?” One year later, in the summer of 1973, the first Falmouth Road Race was run by about 100 people. Falmouth is one of the premier road races in the country with a capped field of 10,000 + runners competing. The race typically includes many top American and international runners. Entry is generally by lottery with a random selection process held to select the field. The application period is a short window of time during the first half of May.

Course Records: Gilbert Okari (Mens, 31:08) and Lornah Kiplagat (Womens, 35:02)

Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa, Florida

Held February 22-23, 2020

The Gasparilla Distance Classic is held on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida.   There are typically over 30,000 runners each year.  The race is named after the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, which takes place on Bayshore Boulevard a few weeks earlier.  This race was started in 1978 to raise funds for youth organizations and running programs in the Tampa Bay area.  The race weekend now includes the 15K Gasparilla Distance Classic and a 5K held on Saturday with an 8K and half-marathon on Sunday. You can run one, two, three or all four of these races.

Course Records: Phillimon Hanneck (1994, Mens, 42:35) and Elizabeth McColgan (1988, Womens, 47:43)

Peachtree Road Race 10K in Atlanta, Georgia

Held July 4

The Peachtree Road Race is a 10-kilometer race held annually in Atlanta on the 4th of July. It is considered to be the world’s largest 10-K race with about 60,000 participants in 2019. This race attracts some of the best American and International runners and has served as both the U.S. men’s and women’s USATF 10K championship. The race was started in 1970 by the Atlanta Track Club. The first year there were 110 runners including future US Olympian, Jeff Galloway.  The race starts on Peachtree Road at Lenox Square Mall continues down Peachtree into midtown Atlanta.  After a largely downhill first 5K, the course has a very challenging 3/4 mile-long “Cardiac Hill,” which culminates in front of Piedmont Hospital. The course proceeds to roll for the last 2 miles with a downhill finish into Piedmont Park where post-race ceremonies are held. I would highly recommend this race – the organization is great!

Course Records: Rhone Kiprono (2019, Mens, 27:01) and Breigid Kosgei (2019, Womens, 30:21)

Run for the Diamonds in Berwick, Pennsylvania

Held Thanksgiving Day (November 26, 2020)

This is a (9) nine-mile race starting and ending on Market Street in downtown Berwick, Pennsylvania. It has been held every year on Thanksgiving Day since 1908. The first race had only 13 participants. The course has remained essentially unchanged since 1908, running up a very challenging hill and descending down through the countryside of Summerhill and back into town. This is a “local” Boston Marathon with great crowd support.   It was called the “Berwick Marathon” until the 1970s when it was changed to “Run for the Diamonds” as the top 7 men and women receive diamonds as part of their prize. 

Course Records: Pete Pfitzinger (1980, Mens, 43:21) and Katy Schilly (1981, Womens, 50:54)

Utica Boilermaker Road Race in Utica, New York

Held Sunday, July 14, 2023

The Boilermaker Road Race is a USATF-certified 15-kilometer (9.3 mi) race held in upstate Utica, New York.  It attracts a very strong national and international field although most runners are local. This race was started in July 1978 and remains one of the largest 15K races in the country. This is a challenging, hilly course but with a nice downhill and then flat finish over the last mile or so.  There are also 3 water stops every mile along with great crowd support. The race gained national prominence in 1983, when American distance runner Bill Rodgers won with a time of 44:38. Weekend events include a large health and wellness expo held at Mohawk Valley Community College. The cap for the 15K Race is 14,500 and for the 5K it is 4,500.  Open registration for this race is in March and they do accept elite and sub-elite runners.

Course Records: Lelisa Desisa (2010, Mens, 42:46) and Edna Kiplagat (2010, Womens, 47:57)

Hours Running Tuesdays at 6pm ET | Saturdays at 7am ET
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