There's something soulful, primal, and downright animal-like about running alone in the woods or on a marathon course with thousands of other racers. It sure as hell beats running on the treadmill. So we considered a large number of America's foot races – trail runs, marathons, ultras, obstacle courses, local races – and picked the best 15. What makes these the best? In each case it's different. They range from the most prestigious (Boston) to the most difficult (Badwater) to the most-likely-to-include-nude-runners (Bay to Breakers), and everything in between. Whether you're an accomplished ultrarunner or simply training for your first marathon, this list has something for everyone who thinks running is more than just exercise. Launch Gallery >>
Fifth Avenue Mile (New York, NY)
Ever want to run 20 blocks down one of the busiest streets in America without having to dodge cars? It's impossible, even on Christmas Eve and summer Fridays. The only time to do it is during the Fifth Avenue Mile, a late-September race that begins a few blocks south of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and ends at Grand Army Plaza – right near the Apple store if you drop your phone, and Bergdorf Goodman if you forgot a change of clothes. This is the race to lay it on the line: It's essentially flat, hydration and glycogen stores are non-issues, and spectators line the final quarter mile several bodies deep.
More Information: Anyone can register for the Fifth Avenue Mile. [Late September; nyrr.org]
Credit: Courtesy of NYRR