The booming popularity of Myrtle Beach as a vacation destination and the growing fitness trend have conspired to create yet another reason to visit the Grand Strand – road races. From 5Ks and 1-mile fun runs to half-marathons, full marathons and triathlons, the Myrtle Beach area has become a hub of activity for runners looking to combine their hobby with a Grand Strand getaway. Here are some of the top road races on tap for 2016 so you can plan your vacation and training schedules:
- Jan. 1: Visitors who are making a New Year's resolution to get in shape can literally hit the ground running on the Grand Strand in 2016. There are three events scheduled for New Year's Day, including a triathlon event of swimming, running and cycling at Ocean Lakes Campground in Myrtle Beach. The North Myrtle Beach Prediction 5K involves the added feature of allowing runners to guess their times, offering prizes not only for top finishers but also for those who come closest to calling their times. If you want to check out things north of the Carolina border, the Day One 5K will be held in the town of Shallotte (NC).
- Jan. 23: The North Myrtle Beach Winter Run allows visitors the chance to run down Ocean Drive, Main Street and throughout the town of North Myrtle Beach. Offering both 5K (3.1 miles) and 15K (9.3 miles) courses, runners can pick their distance and pace while enjoying a scenic layout that starts and finishes in the Horseshoe area. Stick around for a great post-race party of beach music and shagging.
- March 4-5: The biggest race weekend on the Grand Strand is the 19th Annual Myrtle Beach Marathon, which attracts more than 10,000 participants for the trio of events. On Friday, March 4, the Ripley's Aquarium Family Fun Run gives families the chance to run around Broadway at the Beach and through Ripley's Aquarium past tanks filled with scary sharks. The Neon Night 5K is held later that evening and runners paint themselves in neon paint at each check point to create a colorful finish line. On Saturday, March 5, the main events take place. The Myrtle Beach Marathon and Dasani Half-Marathon close the streets for races of 13.1 and 26.2 miles. The start/finish line and post-race party are in the Pelicans Ballpark parking lot.
- March 19: Ever dream of running on a secluded island with no cars and traffic? The Badwater Cape Fear 50K offers one of the most scenic courses imaginable. No cars are allowed on the island, so ferry across and strap on a GoPro camera to record the experience. Jog down bike paths and deserted stretches of beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Fear River. Start and finish the race at Old Baldy, the historic lighthouse that warned ships of the shallow Frying Pan Shoals just off the coast. For those looking to stay closer and drier, check out the Incredible Dualathon, which is a triathlon minus the swimming, at the off-road course The Hulk in Myrtle Beach.
- March 26: The annual Race for the Inlet gives runners a chance to jog through the streets of this historic fishing village. Featuring a 5K and 8K option, participants can jog past the fishing boats, seafood restaurants, and tidal creeks that make up this charming town. Celebrate with an oyster roast at the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk.
As you can see, there are lots of opportunities to race in Myrtle Beach this year, but there’s only one choice when it comes for places to stay. The Strand resort offers clean, comfortable oceanfront accommodations and excellent amenities to make your race and vacation experience the best it can be.