Mt. Washington Road Race (Pinkham Notch, NH)
Credit: Gil Talbot / AP

Mt. Washington Road Race (Pinkham Notch, NH)

Outside of New Hampshire, people don't often think of Mt. Washington with any sense of awe. It's 6,288 feet at the summit, not much compared to the 14,000-footers in California, Colorado, and Washington state – except that it's home to some of the most volatile weather on the planet. Until 2010, Mt. Washington had the highest wind speed measured on Earth at 231 mph.

Not a bad place for a jog. Each summer, runners line up at the base of the mountain for a 7.6-mile race up the Auto Road to the summit. The Auto Road averages a very steep 12 percent uphill grade. In 2012 the race doubled as the USA Track & Field Mountain Running Championships. The rest of the 1,200 competitors were selected by lottery. [Mid-June; mountwashingtonroadrace.com]