Running for health and exercise is virtuous, but sometimes you just want to pin on a bib number and race against hundreds of others. Here’s our weekly best bet for races of various lengths and surfaces.
Shamrock’n Half Marathon/5K
When: 7:45 a.m. Sunday, March 13
Where: Raley Field, West Sacramento
Reason to Run: Shamrock’n is another Sacramento-area race that’s turning into a tradition. Expect some speedy pro runners up front (last year’s winners: Malcolm Richards at 1:06:34; Jane Kibii at 1:14:56), but there are several waves for slower runners. Half-marathon too long? Try the 5K held at the same location the day before.
Marin Ultra Challenge 50-Mile/50K/25K
When: 6 a.m. (50 Mile, 50K); 8:30 a.m. (25K) Saturday, March 12
Where: Fort Baker, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, East Road and Sommerville Road, Sausalito
Cost: $135 (50 Mile); $95 (50K); $70 (25K)
Reason to Run: These are very challenging races in the Marin Headlands. The pain will be offset by amazing views (unless the fog descends).
Buzz Oates No Excuses 5K
When: 8:15 a.m. May 22
Where: William Land Park, Village Green, Sacramento
Cost: $30 (prior to May 16)
Reason to Run: We’ve said this before, but this may be the best 5K in Northern California. Why? (A) It has age-graded results; (B) Killer T-shirts with a list of “excuses” for not running fast on the back; (C) A fast, flat, P.R.-friendly course; (D) The 50th-place finisher wins an easy chair.