Nike Women's Marathon
San Francisco, California
If accepting a silver Tiffany necklace from a handsome man in a tuxedo sounds like your idea of finishing a race, then Nike Women's is for you. The course starts at Union Square in downtown San Francisco, taking in many ocean views and 14 aid stations before ending at Ocean Beach, where you can don your new jewelry and dip your toes in the Pacific. "For ten years, the Nike Women's Marathon has offered women the opportunity to pursue their dreams through sport, and to benefit an important cause," says Whitney Chapman, Nike's VP of Women's in North America. "It's our pinnacle women's running experience, reflecting our commitment to champion the female athlete and provide her with the motivation and innovation to train for, run, and celebrate her race."
Tufts 10K for Women
Dating back to 1977, this race was first known as the Bonne Bell Mini Marathon, one of a series of 12 races for women held across the country. Tufts Health Plan took over sponsorship of the race in 1985, and today it's not only one of the largest women's-only races (8,000 runners), but also one of the fastest. Four American records have been set on this course, which offers beautiful views of Boston's skyline and the Charles River.
Women's Only 5K Walk & Run
Greensboro, North Carolina
At 22 years and counting, October the largest women's-only race in the South doubles as a fundraiser for breast-cancer research. Last year, more than 3,500 women took part in the event. "There's such an energy, because everyone's united in the effort to give all women a chance to beat breast cancer," says Cindy Farrand, president of Women's Hospital, which organizes the event. Last year, the race raised more than $124,000 in breast-cancer support for women who are uninsured or who lack the financial means to pay for screening.
Aptos Women's 5-Miler
Approximately 200 women's-only road races take place every year in the U.S. What began 30 years ago as an event giving women a chance to race each other in Southern California is still just that. Sponsored by the Santa Cruz Track Club, this five-mile race runs on fire roads and singletrack in the dense oak and redwood forests of Nisene Marks State Park. Award categories include top-finishing mother-daughter and sister teams.
See Jane Run Wichita
Completing a half marathon—is there a better excuse for indulging in chocolate and bubbly? The organizers of See Jane Run Wichita don't think so. In fact, they provide the champagne flute post-race, along with massages, tote bags, T-shirts, and medals. "It feels like a girls' night out," says race director Lori Shannon. "Grab your mother, sister, daughter, or girlfriend and join the celebration." Moms can bring their little ones along for the kids' one-mile fun-run.
Gritty Goddess Women's 5K Obstacle Run
April and October
This women's-only 5K obstacle race is held on the mudflats of the Offatts Bayou. Participants navigate more than 30 obstacles that involve mud, water, foam, and sand. Guys can participate, but only in a separate "Gritty Guys" wave that has them dressed as women. Finishers receive a generous goodie bag with beers and a sundae, then they attend a "Glow Goddess" after-party featuring a DJ and complimentary glow necklaces. "With a spa hotel right there, participants can really indulge themselves during their girls'-weekend away," says race organizer and director Claire Jordan.