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Top tropical running events

Sarah Wassner Flynn is a New York City-based writer. She's contributed to magazines such as CosmoGIRL!, National Geographic Kids, Runner's World, Women's Health, Prevention and MetroSports New York. She is also the author of The Book of ...

Best vacay road races

Thinking about running a marathon this year or next? Why not skip to the islands and make a vacation out of it? Here's a list of the top tropical races to travel to this winter.

Female Runner

As you bask in the summertime heat, the cold weather of winter is likely far from your mind. But chances are you're going to need a bit of a break once those chilly temps hit. And now's the time to think about where you want to go and what you want to do once you get there. Vegging on the beach not your scene? Take an active approach to your vacation by planning it around a short road race or a marathon. Nearly every major island and tropical destination hosts its own running event, so making a decision which event to select can be tougher than training for it. To help you out, here are some top-notch events to consider. (Just note: You may not have to start training this second, but you should register, since many of these races sell out fast!)

Cayman Islands Marathon - December 6, 2009

Long established as a popular destination for diving, Grand Cayman is hoping to make its mark as a top running spot with this running festival, which features both full and half-marathons, in addition to a 4-person relay race. Match your strides to the beat of the steel drum band positioned along the flat and fast course, which skirts the sparkling ocean and loops through George Town's financial district. The race has an early start, giving runners ideal temps hovering in the mid- to upper-70's.

Bonus: Bringing your kids to Cayman? Enter them in the Kids' Run, a half-mile frolic just for young runners aged 8 to 12.

Register now! http://www.caymanislandsmarathon.com/

Honolulu Marathon - December 13, 2009

This race starts off with a bang – literally. An impressive fireworks display lights up the dawn sky as runners stream past the starting line of this massive race (it's the sixth-largest marathon in the world). And there's no question why so many marathoners head to Honolulu each year: The course offers an entertaining, yet challenging tour of downtown Honolulu, Waikiki, plus a loop around Diamond Head, the 760-foot extinct volcano.

Bonus: Because a trip to Hawaii just isn't complete without a luau, consider the all-you-can-eat buffet and concert by Hawaiian artist Jake Shimabukuro in Waikiki. Open to all runners and family members, tickets can be purchased through the race's website or at the expo.

Register now! http://www.honolulumarathon.org/

Bermuda International Race Weekend – January 15-17, 2010

The Bermuda International Race Weekend, now in its 35th year, offers a veritable variety pack of running events. The weekend-long running celebration includes a mile race on Friday, a 10K on Saturday, and a half or full marathon on Sunday. (Run all three days and join the elite crowd of those who have completed the "Bermuda Triangle Challenge.") Whatever distance you decide to cover, you'll be doing so against a brilliant background of lush foliage, crystal-clear waters, and buildings in hushed hues of pinks, yellow and green.

Bonus: For East Coasters, getting to Bermuda is a cinch, and the short flight gives you plenty of time for pre-race prep once you land.

Register now! http://www.bermudaraceweekend.com/

Ing Miami Marathon & Half-Marathon – January 31, 2010

For those who don't want to travel too far for a race, Miami is an ideal destination. You'll get your turquoise water, beachy scene and international vibe without having to whip out your passport. The race itself takes off at 6 am, so don't be surprised to get a few cheers from sleepy-eyed club-goers who've yet to make their way home. And if that's not enough to amuse you, the 30 entertainment stations featuring bands, mascots and dancers along the course will be.

Bonus: This course is famous! Hundreds of movies – from Ace Ventura to Wild Things – have been shot on the Miami marathon course.

Register now! http://www.ingmiamimarathon.com/

World's Best 10K – February 21, 2010

One of the largest races of its kind, the event draws thousands of runners to San Juan, Puerto Rico, including some of the fastest names in the sport competing for a $400,000 prize purse. This race boasts more than 12,000 competitors who, in true Puerto Rican style, are more intent on having fun than running a world record time.

Bonus: The race is held on a Sunday evening, so you can get away with plenty of pre-race "rest" by the pool (check out the waterslide at the San Juan Marriott Resort's pool, perched in a prime spot next to Condado Beach). You can also lounge on the beach before taking a warm-up walk around the winding, cobblestone streets in Old San Juan.

Register now! http://www.worldbest10k.com/new/


Running tips to prep for your vacay race

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