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.
Canyon Meadow 50K, marathon, 30K, half, 5 mile
When: Saturday, 8 a.m.
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Where: Redwood Regional Park, Oakland
Cost: $65 (50K); $60 (marathon); $50 (30K); $45 (half); $40 (5 mile)
Reason to run: This is one of the most popular events put on by Coastal Trail Runs. It’s also one of the most challenging. Right from the start, you climb the steep, half-mile Canyon Meadow Trail. 50K, marathon and 30K runners get to do it twice.
Zooma Napa Valley half marathon, 10K
When: Saturday, 7 a.m.
Where: 2590 Trower Ave., Napa (near the Napa Valley Marriott)
Cost: $120 (half); $90 (10K)
Reason to run: Fast, flat and, with mild weather, perfect for a personal record attempt. And afterward, you’re in the Napa Valley to celebrate.
Alcatraz Challenge Aquathlon & Swim
When: Sunday, 8 a.m.
Where: Alcatraz Island and San Francisco
Cost: $190 (for aquathlon); $160 (swim only)
Reason to compete: An aquathlon is a triathlon without the bike segment. This one includes a 1.5-mile swim from Alcatraz to East Beach, then a 7-mile run, an out-and-back over the Golden Gate Bridge. You can opt for only the swim and then relax in the “warming hut” while the aquathlon folks start running. By the way, you’d be nuts to do this without a wetsuit – but some people do.