The North Shore Ten Miler kick-starts the fair-weather running season in early spring. Excited participants gather at Crane Beach in Ipswich to stretch, warm up, and mingle before heading out on the course, which starts with an uphill climb to the Crane Estate (well worth the effort for the stupendous views at the crest). Being one of the season’s first runs, it’s an excellent precursor to the ever-popular half marathon. This race—organized by LOCO Sports and sponsored by the Trustees of Reservations, Smuttynose Brewing Co., and Stonyfield Organic—is a local favorite and wonderfully scenic practice for all those roads to run before hibernation season begins anew. Oh, and of course there’s the beer garden to keep runners motivated.
There’s something about Gloucester in the summer that just puts people in good spirits. And runners get especially jazzed for the city’s Twin Lobster Half Marathon & 1-Mile Race hosted by YuKanRun. The 1-mile portion is meant to be a warm-up, and is also a good way to get kids involved. Those who opt for it, return to the starting line for the half marathon, which has runners breezing along the Cape Ann coastline. If beautiful scenery isn’t enough incentive to get you to tie up your laces for the long haul, perhaps the free beer at Cape Ann Brewing, finisher photos and medals, race shirts, chip timing, raffle tickets, and YuKan Run backpacks (for those who take on the two-race challenge) might help.
Registration $19.99 – $85.99, early June (date varies), Gloucester High School, 32 Leslie O. Johnson Rd., Gloucester, yukanrun.com/Twin-Lobster.html
The Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race in Andover is arguably among the top five favorite races in the region. The holiday hype is contagious, and there’s turkey, mashed potatoes, and pies waiting at home—surely reason to hurry up and get over the finish line! Whether you opt for the 5-mile race or the 5K run, the camaraderie is a huge part of the fun. This year marks the 29th anniversary of the event, which has become a tradition for many families. Benefiting the Merrimack Valley YMCA, Bellesini Academy, Ironstone Farm, and Merrimack Valley Striders, the Feaster Five is a fun and healthy way to welcome the holiday season.
Registration $25—$40 ($5 for Kids’ Fun Run), Thanksgiving Day morning, 327 North Main St., Andover, feasterfive.com
Another popular YuKanRun race is the Happy Holidays Half Merrython in Gloucester. Running 13.2 miles in early December is for the hard-core (and those looking for a season of guilt-free gluttony). Runners choose from three options: a 2.62-mile race, a half marathon, or the half marathon challenge (both runs back-to-back). No matter the course, it’s bound to be good old-fashioned chilly winter fun!
Registration $25.99 – $89.99, early December (date varies), Good Harbor Beach, Thatcher Rd., Gloucester, yukanrun.com/Holiday-MerryThon.html
Motif No. 1 Day 5K
Every May, the Motif No.1 Day Festival celebrates the arts in Rockport centered on the fishing shack (Motif No. 1) that has been painted by countless artists for over a century. Film, poetry, dance, music, and art-making activities are all a part of the festival, as well as historical presentations and a 5K Road Race and Fun Run. Proceeds to benefit Rockport Public Schools’ wellness initiatives.
P.O. Box 2294, Rockport, 978-309-3435, Rockportexchange.com