Must Do Races in the Bay Area

Because I consider Sarasota to be a “smaller” area, for this week’s Tuesday’s on the Run linkup I decided to widen the net and include some must do races in the Tampa Bay area as well. There are several races to love in my hometown- and several within driving distance of an hour or less! Being that I love racing, I’ve done quite a few of these! Linking up with Erika, Patty and Marcia!

Gasparilla Distance Classic:

This is a must do race in the Tampa area, and totally worth traveling for! Just ask all my friends from the Sub-30 Club! Pirate themed with some awesome ‘booty’ to go with it, this entire weekend is one to experience. They have several distances: 15k, 5k, 1/2 marathon and 8k and if you’re one of the really crazy ones (like me) you can do all 4 races, 3 races (15,5 & 1/2) or 2 races (15 & 8) for one of their challenge events. This comes with extra bling, so I think it’s worth it.

Some sub-30 club members at the Gasparilla Distance Classic

St. Pete Beach Classic:

This is another good event with multiple race distances. It has a smaller overall feel to it than Gasparilla, but there are several options available to run (5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, beach mile) and, like the previous race, you can do all the races in a challenge event as well. The course is along the beach in St. Pete so there’s plenty of options for waterfront pictures post race. Plus they have a pretty cool after party on Saturday night, complete with a beach bonfire.

Sarasota Half Marathon

I just completed this race Sunday morning- and wow, what an awesome experience! There are two options: run the full event or run the relay (one person runs approx 6 miles the other runs 7 and you both finish together). This year I decided to do the relay and ran it with one of my fun runners. It was fun to get to run the first portion of the race and then get to cheer on the half marathon finishers while I was waiting for my relay partner! It’s a big race for my area, but still has a small, local feel. First Watch is the title sponsor and they bring out a full breakfast buffet (although they didn’t bring bacon this year, boo) so that’s definitely a plus!

My relay partner Edelma and I post race

Holiday Race Series in Sarasota:

This event encompasses 3 local 5k races: the Ghost Run 5k, the Turkey Trot 5k and the Jingle 5k. Each of them have their own unique charm and the themes are awesome! I’m a big fan of holiday themed races, so it’s perfect for someone like me who loves to dress the part and purchase holiday themed items to run in. Unfortunately last year I didn’t get a chance to do the Ghost Run due to being out of town, but I definitely plan on doing it this year! The Jingle run is where i set my sub-30 5k PR last year.

I attribute my 5k PR to the socks!

Original Hooters 2 Hooters 10k:

Venturing slightly outside my hometown area but still in Clearwater, we have the Hooters 2 Hooters 10k. This is a fantastic local race- it’s a smaller event, but the course is beautiful and goes along the Ream Wilson Trail so it’s mostly shaded for 4 of the 6 miles. You also run over bridges and through a wetlands preserve, so it’s definitely a pretty cool route. The only issue I have with it is I feel they start rather late for a September race in Florida. If they had an hour earlier start time, it would be perfect. Oh, and I can’t forget the giant owl mascot that walks around before the start!

My very first 10k in 2014! I’ve done this race every year since!

So there’s my list of some great races to try if you find yourself in the Tampa area! There are a lot more of course, but these are some of my favorites and the ones that have the most meaning to me personally!

What are some of your favorite races? Do you prefer smaller local races, or bigger events? Do you always race the same events or do you try to mix it up and run different ones? 

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6 thoughts on “Must Do Races in the Bay Area”

  1. You have some great ones on your list! I have run Gasparilla and Sarasota. I love the idea of the holiday themed 5K series! That is a great way to get people moving thru the holidays!

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