Long distance running events like marathons and half marathons are becoming more popular around the world. Some races are choosing to cater to female racers to establish camaraderie and celebrate women athletes. Racing apparel, finisher’s medals and goody bags are themed for a female audience. Men are usually able to run the races but cannot compete for prizes. There are several races from which to choose.
Walt Disney World’s Princess Half Marathon
Disney’s Princess race was added to their Wide World of Sports Endurance Series in 2009 which take place in Orlando, FL. Over 6300 women competed in the inaugural race. Athletes chose their favorite Disney princess for their bib and received a rhinestone-studded tiara medal for finishing the race. Women were able to run through Cinderella’s castle in the Magic Kingdom and meet princesses posing along the course. There is also a 5K and children’s races.
Nike Women’s Marathon and Half Marathon
This popular women’s race in San Francisco, CA, includes both full and half marathon options. As expected, Nike is a major sponsor. There were approximately 20,000 athletes competing in 2009. Registration usually sells out and is now accomplished through a lottery system. Finisher’s receive a Tiffany running necklace rather than the traditional medal. This race benefits Team in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Women’s Running Magazine Half Marathon
The Women’s Running Half Marathon also had its inaugural race in 2009. Approximately 3200 women competed in St. Petersburg, FL. Finisher’s receive a medal that has a pendant which may be worn separately. It has a very liberal time limit of 4:30, making this a very walker-friendly race. A 5K option is also available.
Harvard Pilgrim Coast Half Marathon
This unusual race is all-women except for one male runner who must win a lottery in order to participate in the race. It takes place in York, Maine and also includes a 5K that is open to everyone, male and female. Walkers are welcome and start one hour before the running athletes.
Zooma Women’s Race Series
Zooma races are sponsored by New Balance and take place in four different cities in the U.S. including:
- Atlanta, GA
- Annapolis, MD
- Austin, TX
- Denver, CO
According to their website, Zooma races are designed to ’empower women to live active, healthy and happy’. Races include a half marathon in each city and various shorter distance races including 5Ks and a five-miler. The Austin event also includes a relay race. Finishers receive a specially-designed silver necklace.