Monday, April 8, 2013

Top Women's Running Getaways

With this super exciting upcoming girls’ weekend race at the end of April, I’ve got race-cations on my mind and thought I’d have some fun to kick this week off - I'm pretty excited about this post and hope you love it as much as I did reviewing! I did this post over on Diary of a Slow Runner a few weeks back and wanted to share it here, too.

Top 6 Running Women’s Getaways
 because 5 is to be expected!

It’s no surprise that with each and upcoming race or race series, they’re catering more and more to the ideas of girls’ getaway weekends. With nearly 1,200 half-marathons in the United States alone, the number of people who've finished a half-marathon (13.1 miles) has more than tripled since 2000, and a whopping 59 percent of finishers are women!

With that great statistic behind us, I present to you the Top 6 Running Women’s Getaways – opportunities for you and your BRF (best running friends) to get away from the hubby, kids, the dog, that job, and just life in general to have an all-out great time… and maybe set some PRs while you’re at it! These are really in no particular order, just five outstanding races and series that provide you the opportunity to escape from it all.

Mud runs have become an increasingly popular trend lately, between Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, and oodles of others - but now women's-only races are becoming all the pink rage too! Pretty Muddy was started by a couple of businessmen who were inspired by their wives – their pretty cool wives. Watching their partners juggle kids, households, carpools and careers – while still having time for the occasional ladies’ night – got the men thinking: These awesome women deserve more time for themselves. What an awesome bunch of husbands. 

Pretty Muddy is only in seven states currently (California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Ohio and Illinois) but makes for a great girls' getaway. What better than mud followed by mudslides to celebrate? Personally sounds like an awesome getaway to me! Will you join me in Atlanta this year?

Zooma was literally created with women in mind: ZOOMA is unique among other women’s races in that it is literally “run by women” (pun intended!)  ZOOMA’s founder and executive director is a woman, mother, and runner, and the staff are all women. While the race is open to men, it’s still a sea of mostly female runners at each start line, ranging from locations like Florida to Cape Cod and Texas to the Great Lakes. You can find a race pretty much near you, guaranteed (okay, or at least worth the travel)! 

Zooma races are often hosted at a super nice hotel (usually adjoined with a spa or resort of some kind), so you know you can convince your BRFs for a spa day post-race.
Barefoot Wine is also one of Zooma’s national sponsors, along with Muscle Milk Light and HonesTea. I’m all about the wine here, so a glass of post-race wine? I’m all yours. You also get a super sweet necklace for finishing a Zooma race, and they recently introduced the PR medal – PR at any of their races, and you get to earn this baby!

In case it’s not obvious yet, I’m a sucker for all things “girly” – wine, necklaces, the glitz and the glam. So yes, I’m that girl that gets sucked in by a super fun, glittery medal. The Divas Half Marathon series does not disappoint in that arena. With a number of race locations to choose from on both sides of the country and Puerto Rico, you can truly make this a get-away-from-it-all kinda weekend.
 Along the course, in addition to the normal water stops, there’s also boa and tiara stops, so you can pick up a little glam along the way, all in time for the most spectacular photo finish! What more could you want than to run with a hot pink feathered boa? Not much. Check out Divas for a girls’ weekend that is pinked out in every way possible and enjoy a little glitz of your own.

I like wine. You know that by now. What better than a race (or two, or five) that are all based around wine? Destination Races produces the Wine Country Half Marathon Series that includes Santa Barbara, Virginia, Oregon, and British Columbia, Canada, and provide the perfect scenery, beverages (post-race merlot, anyone?) and environment for a wine-tasting and running sort of weekend. My two loves, combined.

Make it an ultimate girls weekend with an extended stay in wine country, schedule some tours and wine tasting, and throw a race into the mix. Perfection, I’d say. I’m looking forward to doing one of these sometime, but get on your registration quickly – they sell out fast!

With two race weekends now offered each year (San Francisco marathon and half in the fall, DC in the spring), there’s a few opportunities to make it to Nike’s Women’s Races. However, it’s tricky – the race is only open via a lottery system, and nobody quite knows the rhyme or reason to how to get in. Rumor has it that if you sign up with a group, you’re more like to get in as a group that an individual – all the better reason to get your girlfriends to sign up with you! The best reason to make this a girls’ getaway weekend? Ogle over that post-race bling:

Yes, I am pointing out those two pieces of bling: those oh-so-pretty Tiffany’s blue boxes and the equally as pretty firefighters dressed in tuxedos. What better way to end a girls’ race than with some fabulously dressed men? Count me in! I get to run the inaugural DC race at the end of April, and I could not be more excited to run DC with some of my best girlfriends and get that bling at the end!

Of the races I’ve mentioned so far, Ragnar is the only one I’ve actually completed (Nike DC shortly!), but I can’t stop talking about it every chance I get. Mention a relay of any kind, and I’ll pipe up with my almost-31-hour running adventure through backwoods Maryland and into DC last October. Never heard of Ragnar? For shame! Kidding. But really, Ragnar is a relay adventure unlike any other – teams of six (ultra) or twelve (regular) crammed into one (or two) vans for a 200-ish mile journey through any of their sixteen locations (ranging from Southern California to Florida Keys, Niagara Falls area to Chicago). And lots of shenanigans along the way. Want to get to know some running friends better, and make them your ultimate BRFs? Ragnar is your chance to do that – there is no conversation off-limits in a Ragnar van (I mean that whole-heartedly). 

But it’s worth it. The camaraderie, the accomplishment, the exhaustion and the free pizza at the end are all worth it. You’ll truly come home with some of the best running stories of your life, stories on the road you never want to talk of again, and some of the best new running friends ever. Not sold? Check out my experience from Ragnar DC last fall and think about it – I promise, it doesn’t disappoint.

Are there any other races you would consider ideal for a girls’ getaway weekend? Have you done any of the above races and made them a girls’ weekend?


I serve as a member of Team Pretty Muddy for the Atlanta race. While serving as an ambassador for the race, I am provided one complimentary race entry. All opinions are my own.


  1. I will be at Nike Women's Half in DC! I am also a blog ambassador for Pretty Muddy Richmond.

    1. So many great women at Nike! I cannot wait - SO SO SO excited! And hooray for more Team Pretty Muddy folks! :)

  2. Some of those races sound amazing! I just started running and my first race will be Pretty Muddy! SO excited and glad to hear it has good feedback. Definitely saving this list.

    1. So glad you loved it Christie! Excited to follow along and see how many of these you knock off! :) Thanks for stopping by!