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Ladies’ Favorite Races

Enjoying the 2010 Portland Marathon, but like I say, it was W-E-T

At various race expos, several women have asked me the same question that stopped me in my tracks. Alas, nothing salacious or funny, merely, “What’s your favorite race?” A seemingly simple question, but each time I waffle, stammer, hem, haw, and usually finally blurt out, “Big Sur Marathon.”  But while I loved the physical challenge and the stunning natural beauty that race afforded me last year, I don’t ever see myself doing that race over again—the weather was too ideal (no wind, bright sunshine) to ever repeat.

Since the most recent posing of the question, I’ve mulled over my response, to have it ready and waiting. At first I thought of the gorgeous Nike Women’s Marathon since it has such sentimental value (Dim and I think of it as the birthplace of our book). Oddly I rule out 2009 Eugene Marathon, where I set my PR, because it hurt so dang much, and my Boston-qualifying 2010 Portland Marathon because it was so soggy.

Instead, I’ve decided my favorite race must be the one I’ve run the most (four times), the Cascade Half Marathon. (Caveat: If the question was my favorite type of race, my no-hesitation answer would be women’s races. For me, XX races are a winning combination of camaraderie and spirit.) As epically fantastic as marathons are, 26.2 miles is not my favorite race distance. For me, half that is ideal: long enough to be a test of endurance and will, short enough to be run-and-done before brunch (including a shower).

The small size and hometown feel of the Cascade Half—it starts and ends at a high school in a quiet, rural town and cuts its way through farmland—suits me perfectly. I don’t like to dodge racers and elbows, and I don’t crave spectators. (Oy, my hermit-writer side is coming out…) I love that the race starts at 9 a.m. and is a mere hour’s drive south of Portland: I can sleep until almost dawn, choose from my own drawers (not a suitcase) what to wear depending on the weather, eat breakie in my own kitchen, then hop in the car with a friend and head on down. The race is in mid-January so the weather is never lovely, but it’s also never too hot. Oh, and did I mention the course is as flat as Ryan Reynold’s abs? Yeah, the race is tailor-made for me. (Already I’m bumming I’ll have to miss it next year as Dimity and I will be in Houston watching the women’s Olympic Marathon Trials.)

Alicia Keys: She's not dressed to run, but she looks mighty hot.

Okay, so lay that question—“What’s your favorite race?”—on me because I’ve got my answer. But I wrote this post for another reason: Dimity and I are collaborating on a fun snippet of Train Like a Mother, in which we ponder what would be the favorite races of some famous women. Like we figure famed suffragist Susan B. Anthony would have loved an all-women’s race, while Alicia Keys would dig the New York City Marathon for its empire state of mind, natch. Since you all have suggested some of the most clever slogans on our tees, like “Are my kids still chasing me?” and “This is the easiest part of my day.,” we figured we’d ask you to chime in. Get creative, ladies, and tell us some famous women—alive or dead—and what would be their favorite race. We’ll admit right here that the funniest, more clever responses might land in the pages of our next book.

38 responses to “Ladies’ Favorite Races

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  2. I’m guessing that Betty White and the cast of Golden Girls would have a hoot running/watching Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN.

  3. Kate Midleton: The London Marathon..maybe would need a disguise though…. a discret hat.

    French Actress Marion Cotillard (Nine, Inception, Oscar winner for La vie en Rose in 2010) would run the Paris Marathon

    all right I am done…for now…!!

    1. Tee, hee. (And Dim and I are so bummed: We will miss seeing Jane Lynch at BlogHer convention this Sat., as we fly home that evening. Rats!)

  4. Kasturba Gahndi (Mahatma Gahndi’s wife) would run the End Hunger 5K in MD (yes I have a horrible sense of humor I appologize!). Opha Mae Johnson (first female Marine) would do the Warrior Run and the Marine Corps Marathon. Dolly Parton would run the Country Music Marathon in Nashville.

    1. Have to give a shout-out to Ramona, a resident of MY neighborhood! I live 4 blocks from Klickitat St. Our neighborhood school was recently converted to a K-8 and renamed Beverly Cleary “:>)

  5. I think Jane Addams would have rocked the Chicago Marathon-and if she were alive today would love to see all the mother runners out there being great healthy role models for their children! And of course another famous Chicagoan who did rock the Chicago marathon-Oprah!

  6. I could totally see Joan Jett running any of the Rock and Roll Series races… (Now you have “I love Rock ‘n Roll” stuck in your head too)

  7. Joan Crawford would certainly enjoy a Tough Mudder.
    Perhaps Madonna would enjoy the Dirty Girl run?(

  8. Joan Rivers would totally run in the Run For Your Lives Zombie 5K that we have coming up in October outside of Baltimore, Maryland. With as much plastic surgery as she’s had, I bet the zombies would run from her instead of her running from them!

  9. Maybe Lucy Lawless would like to reprise her Xena role and participate in the Warrior Dash?? LOLOL…groan! 😉

  10. Paris Hilton, if she deigned to sweat, would love the Diva’s Half Marathon in Long Island.

    Deenie (from Judy Blume fame) would love the Annapolis Zooma race, having conquered her physical challenges, she could celebrate among other women, feeling strong in control of her physical self (something she lost for years as a teen) and her emotional self.

    Rita Rudner, who once said “I don’t think jogging is healthy, especially morning jogging. If morning joggers knew how tempting they looked to morning motorists, they would stay home and do sit-ups.” would have loved the comraderie of the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K – the same camraderie for those running a 7 mm who start at 8 or those walking a 20mm who begin hours later, and the fact that many runners run to support the Massey Cancer Center.

    1. Love the Paris Hilton suggestion. And that you suggested a character from Judy Blume novel. Please tell me you have a pre-teen or teenager in your life?! (Or just a really great memory!?)

  11. Hello SBS! I am the runner in the picture with you! The one with the giant grimace on my face and the name Sarah on my bib.

    My favorite race by far is the Missoula Half Marathon and Marathon. I have run the half for 2 years now. Great course, great support, and of course any race in Montana, the Last Best Place, is amazing!!

    Keep up the great posts and keep writing books!!

    1. How COOL is that, Sarah! (Thru the magic of Facebook, another woman contacted me as she was running behind me in a photo my hubby snapped of me. Small world!) Email me at runmother at gmail dot com and I’ll send you a jpeg of this pic.

      Thanks for your support. xo

  12. I wish I could say Ukrop’s Monumnent Avenue 10K, since I had my absolute best pace run there. I know that others might gasp when I say definitely not NYC, though I beat Jared’s time, I had pneumonia and had little energy to take in the great sites. And a bevvy of other races have been nice, horrible, pleasant, or thank God that was over. The only race I LOVE, where I can run a speedy race and still enjoy the scenery is the Army 10 Miler in DC. Having run the MC Marathon, you are so focused on the mileage you don’t “see” the great sites, so the 10 mile distance opens up your eyes to the beauty of the monuments, the crowds, and oh yes, running down that stretch of the highway and dumping out into the waiting crowds at the Pentagon is amazing (and the hotty Army men are a nice touch).

  13. Sarah Jessica Parker (a.k.a. simply SJP) would probably love to run the NYC Marathon, but only if she could run it wearing her Manolos.

  14. Snooki would like the Wild Half Half Marathon in NJ, or anything that offers a free gym membership, tanning at the end of the race, and laundry service when she’s done running. GTL

    Amelia Earhart would have been an ultra runner for sure.

    Coco Chanel would’ve run only the most elite of marathons in her time. Maybe that’s why she got into the business of fragrance. #5 doesn’t just give you more allure, it also masks that pesky post race aroma!

    Audrey Hepburn would’ve have been all about the New York City Marathon, so long as it had gu or bananas in front of Tiffany’s

  15. I can see Susan B. Anthony running the “Women for Women” 5k/10k race. It was created to celebrate woman and their strength. She would be running and cheering women on as she went along. And the bonus – everyone gets a medal at the end. A great way to feel empowered!

  16. Laura Ingalls Wilder would love the Grandma Marathon in MN… Or any race in Minnesota, I bet.

    Michele Bachmann & Sarah Palin would like the London Marathon because they’re fond of Tea (Party)

    Lady Gaga would like any Halloween Race; West Hollywood would probably host a good one for her.

    Julia Child would like the Paris Marathon… as long as she could drink wine along the way… Well, she’d probably have preferred to *watch* the race and prepare fancy recovery foods… while drinking wine.

    Louisa M. Alcott (and the March Sisters… if they were real) would like Hood to Coast or Ragner or any other relay they could run together.

    Sacajawea would like any trail race, but would probably do best with Western States 100.

    If I think of more I’ll post ’em…

    1. I have a feeling Julia would have loved the Marathon du Medoc. It runs through 59 wineries and has wine tasting “water stops”! They even give runners 6-1/2 hours to finish. 🙂

  17. I can totally see Rosie the Riveter racing Muddy Buddy! She would have her hair swept up in a red bandana, the ideal woman: loyal, efficient, patriotic, pretty and oh my – ATHLETIC! When finished she would immediately burn her bra, pop some birth-control and listen to rock n’ roll!
    Women have been trend setting for so long I think it must be part of our DNA by now!

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