Monday, February 17, 2014

7 Presidential Races for President's Day

It's President's Day, so I started thinking about presidential (themed) races. Leaving out all of the 5Ks associated with eponymous schools, and dozens of President’s Day 5Ks across the country, I still came up with a few, including one race I am desperate to run one day.

photo courtesy Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon
1. One of my “dream races” has always been the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon, held in Springfield, Illinois. Honest Abe himself (okay, it’s a Lincoln impersonator) starts the race, the course runs past his house, his law office, the Old State Capitol, and even his grave site in Oak Ridge Cemetery. Best of all? The finisher’s medal is a GIANT PENNY!!!

2. The father of our country is honored at George Washington’s Birthday Marathon, supposed to be held in February 16, 2014, but canceled this year due to the terrible weather in Washington D.C. As I write this, they’re deciding whether to fully cancel for this year or decide on a future date.

3. The Monticello Holiday Classic 5K will be held on December 6, 2014 on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. Run from the East Walk of Monticello to the Thomas Jefferson Visitors Center and enjoy some holiday treats at the finish.

4. Also at a presidential home, the Montpelier 5K is held on the grounds of James Madison’s Montpelier, this year on March 22. Course runs on roads, passing in front of the mansion, and ending at the base of the home.

5. James Monroe is honored by the James Monroe 5K, held this year on May 17. Situated on the grounds of Ash Lawn-Highland, the course offers views of the Piedmont, woods and pastures, and finishes on the historic paths of Monroe’s home.

6. Old Hickory can’t be stopped with a mere 5K… so he’s celebrated with the Andrew Jackson Marathon in Jackson, Tennessee, on March 22, 2014. The course starts and finishes on the campus of Union University, then run on rolling hills through the countryside around Jackson.

7. But perhaps my favorite “presidential” race is the OK5K, held in Kinderhook, New York on June 7, 2014. Why presidential? Because Kinderhook is the birthplace of Martin Van Buren, and the race website includes this very cute “preview video” showing MVB himself running the course, along with other local running legends Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane, who suddenly picked up his pace, for some reason…

I'm sure I’ve missed some good ones -- I can't believe that there doesn't seem to be a Theodore Roosevelt Half Marathon somewhere! -- If you have other examples, please let me know in the comments.

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