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.
Race for the Arts 5K
When: 8:35 a.m. Aug. 22
Where: William Land Park, Sacramento
Reason to Run: In addition to helping maintain Sacramento’s reputation as an arts-loving city, this race in Land Park features lots of entertainment along the way. Plus, the Land Park course, used for many races, is notoriously fast. No one was faster than record-holder Kevin Pool, who laid down a time of 15:13 in 2012.
Pioneer Spirit 50 Mile
When: 5 a.m. Saturday
Where: Cool Horse Staging Area, Auburn State Recreation Area
Reason to Run: Those wishing trail ultras offered more point-to-point courses will relish this race, which begins at the Cool fire station, hits part of the Western States Trail before winding down the Pioneer Express Trail to finish at Negro Bar Recreation Area at Folsom Lake.
Ultra Race of Champions 100K, 50K, Half Marathon
When: 6 a.m. Sept. 26
Cost: $295 (100K); $150 (50K); $135 (Half)
Reason to Compete: This events dubs itself as the unofficial championship ultra race – though many will protest that designation – and it will be held in Auburn for the first time. There is prize money ($5,000 for the male and female winners), so expect many professional runners to be on the starting line. That’s probably the last you’ll see of them until the awards ceremony.