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 >>
The Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run (West Windsor, VT)
The Grand Slam for ultrarunners is four 100-mile races including California's Western States 100, Utah's Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Leadville Trail 100 in Colorado, and the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run (or, simply, "Vermont," among insiders). Vermont is mostly dirt roads and trail, winding its way through small New England towns, farms, and meadows. Part of the race even shares a trail with a 100-mile horse race that occurs simultaneously. Entrants are required to have logged eight hours of volunteer time at other races before applying, which lends to the camaraderie of the race.
More Information: To qualify, you'll need to have completed a 50-mile race in less than 12 hours. [Late July; vermont100.com]
Credit: Tom Sperduto