This 5K/10K takes 30,000 women through the Imperial streets of Vienna to compete each May. Inspired by the burgeoning female running population during her first marathon in New York City, Ilse Dippmann founded the Austrian Women’s Run in 1988. Kathrine Switzer herself has made the trip to run the race on a number of occasions. Now nearly three decades old, it is the largest women’s race in all of Europe. The course takes runners from the Vienna Prater, a popular recreation area near the city center, along the Danube, and through the streets of Vienna. Bringing in a strong field of the top elite women runners from around the world, it is a great place to spot Olympians and international greats. Whether you’re at the front or back of the pack, the finish line greets runners with a rocking party that includes well-deserved post-run fare and live bands.
May 25, 2014
Part of the Coca Cola Wake Your Body Women’s Running Gala in May, the weekend includes 5K and 10K races. Starting in the 302-acre City Park, which is situated close to the center of Budapest, the courses showcase some of the city’s most beautiful gardens and green spaces. Put on by the same people who organize the Budapest Marathon, it brings in over 4,000 women to run each year. With a family area at the starting line, you can bring your whole crew to cheer you on and enjoy other fitness activities throughout the day. A unique way to tour one of the largest cities in the European Union, this event is worth planning a vacation around.
budapestmarathon.com; May 18, 2014
Founded in 2009 the Princess Half Marathon is held at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. A 13.1-mile run through the most magical grounds on earth, this race treats runners to a jaunt through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot theme parks. Complete with Disney characters cheering on the runners, this event isn’t short on entertainment. Along with the half marathon, the weekend’s events include a 10K, 5K, and kids races so women and girls of all ages and ability levels can compete. If you’re looking to make a weekend of it, check out the pre- and post-race celebrations, including a pasta party at World Showcase Pavilion inside Epcot, along with lively finish line festivities.
rundisney.com; February 2015
Celebrating its 36th anniversary this year, this New York-based race is one of the biggest and most prestigious all-female road races nationwide. With thousands of women completing the 5K each year, it is known for bringing in women of every generation to run together through the streets of New York’s Capital District. From Olympians to newbies, the race touts over 4,000 finishers annually. Starting and finishing on Madison Avenue, situated between the Empire State Plaza and the New York State Museum, the course takes runners on a loop through Washington Park, along Washington Avenue and then southward to the finish line. Also including a kids’ run for 3-11 year olds and a 3K run for 9-13 year old girls and boys, as well as a community walk, this event truly has something for everyone.
friehofersrun.com; May 31, 2014
The largest 2-mile race in the country, the Montana Women’s Run is a stalwart event in the Billings community. With a mission to promote women’s health and fitness, runners can choose between racing the ever growing 2-miler or the more challenging 5-mile distance. Drawing a crowd of nearly 10,000 runners between the two races, it has become a tradition for many locals every Saturday before Mother’s Day. For newly anointed runners, they offer “Getting Started Clinics” to help guide training and offer support. The night before the race, there is a pasta feed where you can go to carbo-load and garner inspiration from their annual motivational speaker. What’s more, proceeds benefit area women’s services, including the Billings Clinic’s Women’s Wellness Fund and the local YWCA.
womensrun.org; May 10, 2014
The largest all-women half marathon in the country, this event has been held for over a decade. Starting in Central Park on West Drive, the route takes runners on two full counter-clockwise loops around the park. This means you’ll hit the Harlem Hills twice—no easy feat. If you’re looking for some serious climbing and a raucous running atmosphere, this is your race. In addition to supreme camaraderie and a great course, all finishers receive a medal and an Athleta tech t-shirt, as well as optional beauty touch-ups, gift bags, and health screenings.
nyrr.org; April 13, 2014
Attracting 30,000 runners in 2013, the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco has seen a quarter of a million women run in the last decade. Benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, runners have raised more than $143 million over the years. Originally created to honor the 20th anniversary of Joan Benoit Samuelson’s gold medal winning run at the first women’s Olympic marathon in 1984, the event works to both encourage and motivate women to get out and get running. Starting in Union Square, the course offers expansive views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge along the San Francisco Bay before taking runners down the Great Highway to the finish. Instead of traditional medals, all runners are awarded Tiffany & Co. finisher’s necklaces. Expanded to include a half marathon event in Washington D.C. last year, the Nike Women’s series is thriving in today’s running culture.
nike.com; October 2014
The race that started it all, the Mini 10K was the first women-only road race founded in 1972. Working to empower women of all ages and paces, the event has a loyal following of runners who come back year after year. Put on by the New York Road Runners, the 10K route takes harriers from Central Park West along rolling terrain, eventually running past the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and finishing on the southern end of Central Park. With a prize purse of $10,000 for the top spot, the Mini 10K attracts some of the best female runners from across the globe to compete. What’s more, the course is fan friendly, making it easy to bring along the entire family to will you to the finish on race day.
nyrr.org; June 14, 2014
Part of the UK’s Race for Life series, which raises money for cancer research through 5K and 10K women-only fundraising events, the Leeds race is one of the largest, with over 5,000 finisher each year. A scenic course, this race will take you over rolling hills on varied terrain, from grass, to trails, to paved roads. Offering runners breathtaking views, this is a great way to see a bit of English Countryside. What’s more, the race starts on the grounds of Temple Newsam, an historic estate set on 1,500 acres that were once owned by the Knights Templar. Having raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Cancer Research UK through the Race for Life events over the last twenty years, you’ll not only get a taste of English culture and history at this race, you’ll also be supporting a good cause.
raceforlife.org; June 29, 2014
Consistently chosen to host the USA 10K Championship for women, this event attracts the best of the best elite runners, as well as weekend warriors and everyone in between. Running strong for over three decades, the event started in 1977 as the Bonnie Belle Mini Marathon. Featuring a veritable tour of Boston’s picturesque Back Bay and Cambridge, the race starts on Beacon Street, and runs participants over the Charles River via the Longfellow Bridge, past MIT, along Commonwealth Avenue, and back to the finish on Charles Street between the Public Gardens and Boston Common. Whether you’re a runner or a spectator, it’s impossible not to be inspired by this spirited event that motivates women to get running year after year.
tuftshealthplan.com; October 13, 2014