Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Running Shoes & Roller Coasters: 2016 Run & Ride Race Series

After running the 2015 Carowinds Half Marathon, I called it "the greatest thing since beer runs."  Where else can you combine the thrill of running with the rush of riding roller coasters?!? That would only be in the Run and Ride Race Series.  It's so great, Running World magazine recently named it the BEST Half Marathon Postrace Party.  I had a ton of fun participating last year so I decided to double my fun for 2016- I'll be running at Carowinds and Kings Dominion!  Here are all the details for the 2016 lineup of Run and Ride races. 

To read my race recap from the 2015 Carowinds Half Marathon, click here.

The race series is stopping at six Cedar Fair parks this year.  Races range anywhere from one mile to a half marathon.  All distances guarantee bling, bragging rights and fun.  With the exception of the one mile fun runs, registration includes park admission for one day.  For just $15 more, you can turn that park ticket into a weekend park pass. This race series is VERY reasonably priced.  The 5k starts at $40 and goes up to $65 for the Half Marathon. You can run for less than the amount of daily admission.  It's such a GREAT value!  Remember to register early.  The prices increase the longer you wait.  You already know you want to run this event, so you might as well register now! 

Other benefits registrants receive include:  free parking on race morning, bib-chip timing and race pacers, Run & Ride T-shirt, prizes for top three finishers in each category, post-race food, and high fives from Peanuts characters on the course.

2016 Run and Ride Stops:

Valley Fair- Shakopee, MN
May 14th & 15th
Valley Fair is celebrating their opening weekend with two days of races and four distances to choose from!  Whether running one mile or 13.1 miles, all runners can hurry over post-race to ride Wild Thing- a 207 ft. hyper-coaster reaching 74 MPH speeds.  If that's too fast for you, the upper Mid-West's largest amusement park has plenty of other thrills to choose from.

Kings Dominion- Doswell, VA
May 22nd
New to the Run & Ride Race Series, Kings Dominion is offering a one day event with a one mile, 5k, and 10k race.  Their recently-expanded water park will be open this weekend, so pack your swim suits!  Also, prepare yourself for Volcano- one of my absolute favorite roller coasters.  It actually shoots riders out of a volcano! 

Cedar Point- Sandusky, OH
June 11th & 12th
With coasters such as Millennium Force and Wicked Twister, Cedar Point is known for delivering top thrills.  New to 2016 is Valravn, the world's tallest, fastest, and longest drop coaster.  You don't want to miss this one!  Also unique to this race are the views of Lake Erie on both the 10k and Half Marathon course. 

Carowinds- Charlotte, NC
September 10th & 11th
Sitting on the North and South Carolina border, Carowinds offers the most thrills in two states!  In 2015 they launched Fury 325, The Best New Ride according to Amusement Today.  In 2016, they open Carolina Harbour- their newly expanded and re-designed water park.  It's the largest in BOTH Carolinas!  All four race distances make their way through both states. 

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom- Allentown, PA
October 2nd
You can choose from a 5k, 10k, or Half Marathon during Dorney Park's one-day running event.  10k and Half Marathon participants will run through Lehigh County Sports Fields after weaving their way through the parks.  Afterwards, ride Hydra, Pennsylvania's first and only floorless roller coaster.

Kings Island- Mason, OH
October 21st and 23rd
With the only night race in the entire series, Kings Island will be hosting a 5k Glow Run on Friday night with admission to their Halloween Haunt included.  The 10k and Half Marathon races take off on Sunday morning, so runners could easily participate in both.  Spending a weekend at Kings Island will give runners plenty of time to ride The Beast- my favorite wooden roller coaster!  Opening in 1979, The Beast is STILL the world's longest wooden roller coaster and the longest roller coaster in the U.S.

With so many races to choose from, I know most of you will be participating in multiple events!  I highly encourage you to register now since prices will be increasing.  Use discount code RUNBARBIE15 to receive 15% off any distance and location for the 2016 Run and Ride Race Series

4/4/16 UPDATE: Run & Ride has released pictures of their medals for the 2016 races.  Each distance represents a different Peanuts character in a roller coaster.  The medals connect magnetically so that all your TRAINing will pay off.  The more races you run, the longer the coaster! 

This being said, I'm going to squeeze a few more races into my schedule in order to earn all four.  I will be running the one mile race in addition to the 10k at Kings Dominion and will turn my Carowinds Half Marathon into a two day adventure with the addition of the 5k the day before.  You know I'm all about race bling! 

How many Run & Ride medals will you collect in 2016?

Good luck with your training!


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