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How to pick your next big running race

Pam LeBlanc
pleblanc@statesman.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published April 16, 2014

Found: The perfect book for people who love to run races when they travel. And who doesn’t?

It’s called “The Runner’s Bucket List: 200 Races to Run Before You Die” (Triumph Books, $16.95) by Denise Malan, and it’s chock full of information about strange and bizarre races around the country (plus a few outside the U.S.) Flip through it to find entire chapters about races with the best swag, races you can run naked and races known for their speedy, PR-setting courses.

There’s a chapter on races staged in extreme elements, from the snow and ice of the Frozen Sasquatch Trail Run in West Virginia to the heat and humidity of the Hotter Than Hell Marathon in New Orleans, and another about races run in costume (think gorillas, kilts and Elvis Presley-themed events). There are races that unfold at famous sports venues like the Taladega Superspeedway, Churchill Downs or Yankee Stadium, and others that involve eating lots of junk food, from doughnuts to Twinkies to corndogs to pizza. (Fat Ass 5K anyone?)

Each entry - and the book covers 200 of them - includes information about location, date, distance and field size, plus a website for more information. Some include personalized race reports.

At the top of my to-do list? The Avenue of Giants Marathon in the Redwoods, where athletes finish with a sore neck from look up at the treetops.