Runners in Dallas are a lucky bunch. Not only has Dallas become a must-stop city for many national race series, but the community also boasts local professional race organizers that provide top-notch events. Among the highlights for 2012 are the introduction of a local race series, an adventure race from a famous gladiator, and a new half marathon from the organizers of the New Years Double. Here’s a preview of this year’s race calendar.
January: January brought us the first two events of the Run Project—the new name for the Run On! series of races locally produced by Racing Systems. Organizers say that the goal of the series is to bring the high quality and energy you come to expect from a larger, longer distance race to our local 5Ks. “Marathon and half marathons get a lot of credit for the quality of race provided. The Run Project is a locally owned and produced series of high quality shorter distance races,” says Lear Johnson, Racing Systems racing director. The series kicked off this month with the sold-out Hotcake Hustle and the sixteenth annual Too Cold To Hold.
February: February offers sweet treats and romance. The Hot Chocolate 15K/5K selected Dallas as one of its first expansion cities for its race series. The fondue will flow at Fair Park on February 11. What’s more romantic than proposing to your sweetie at the starting line? The runner will the best love story will run a Zales diamond engagement ring and help with a surprise proposal at the Cupid Dash 10K/5K on February 18. If costumes are your thing, wear your best to the pet- and kid-friendly Dash for the Beads 5K. The Form Follows Fitness 5K on the 25th will feature pace leaders who describe the best in Dallas architecture while running through the downtown course. The Cowtown, one of the area’s premier running weekends, finishes out the month with their kids 5K, adult 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, and ultra marathon races in Fort Worth.
March: Another Run Project race, the Dash Down Greenville 5K, kicks off Dallas’s St. Patrick Day celebration. The event includes live music, food and a parade, all while benefiting The North Texas Food Bank. The Rock ‘n’ Roll series makes its Dallas stop on March 25, and the night race Firefly Run series is moving its event from last year’s June date to March 31 of this year.
April: Want to run with a celebrity? Race organizers at DFWRuns are hinting that someone you recognize will be at this year’s Central Market Thrill of the Grill 5K on April 21. Runners will receive a grill chef hat and yummy food at the post-race party. April also offers another chance to run 26.2 at the Big D Marathon on April 15.
May: Stretch yourself by running four miles of obstacles at the “wildest race in Texas,” the new Wild West Adventure Race at Beaumont Ranch in Grandview on May 5. Dallas’s own women-focused race, the Heels and Hills Half Marathon, is May 6. Celebrate Memorial Day at the Patriot Half Marathon on May 28.
June: Want to run a course designed by a real Gladiator? Dan Clark, or “Nitro” from the American Gladiator television show, is bringing his Gladiator Rock ‘n Run adventure event to the metro area on June 16. Clark says Dallas’s vibrant and strong fitness community made it a perfect fit for his event. “I believe you do everything bigger in Texas. We’re going to make this event epic.”
July: Celebrate Independence Day at the Fireworks 1K and 5K in McKinney. Voted by Competitor Magazine readers as the best race in Dallas, the Too Hot To Handle 5K/15K will be July 15 and feature on-course water sprinklers.
August: Temperatures for last year’s Hottest Half helped the race live up to its name. Runners will be hoping for cooler weather for the 2012 edition on August 12. Pick up some late summer fruit and veggies after the Melon Dash 5K on August 4. The race coincides with the Chestnut Square Farmers Market in McKinney.
September: The Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon is back for its second year on September 23. Start a new and early Oktoberfest tradition at the Rahr Oktoberfest 5K at Rahr & Sons Brewery in Fort Worth.
October: A new half marathon produced by the race director of the New Years Double is scheduled for October 6 in Fairview, which will be a first for the city. More details are coming for the event, but registration is expected to open the first of March. The national 13.1 half marathon race series returns to Dallas for the second year on October 27. The month ends with a few Halloween-themed events, including the Trek or Treat 5K, The Vampire Run, the Halloween Hustle, and the Boo Scoot.
November: Honor and remember those who have served our country at the National Veterans Day Run on November 11. Then earn your turkey dinner by participating in one of the area’s many turkey trots including the largest Thanksgiving Day event of its kind, the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot.
December: Sunday, December 2 is a date many already have circled on their calendar. The MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon is the grand finale for a lot of local runners’ racing calendars. Kevin Snyder will take over as Chairman of the race’s board of directors in February and future plans include an increased focus on promoting fitness in Dallas. “I have three areas of focus for the 2012 MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon: continue to grow the size and reputation of our marathon by improving the runner experience; expand efforts toward our mission of improving the health and fitness of the DFW community; and provide financial support to our beneficiary Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.”
Runners already can plan to finish 2012 and start 2013 strong at the second New Years Double multi-race event. The event, which features a 5K, half marathon, marathon and relay on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, sold out in its first year. Registration is expected to open the first of March.