Why Run the Alphabet?

I loved the challenge of finding a race I’d run for each letter of the alphabet so when I saw it as a prompt for the Tuesday Topics Linkup, I set myself into gear to finish a draft I’d started months earlier after seeing similar posts by Judy and Darlene. Having the alphabet broken up into three installments made it even less daunting.

Focusing only on races and not just places traveled, I took many liberties by listing races of all distances and used either the city, state, or race name to match up with the letter of the alphabet. Here’s my second installment…


Running the Alphabet: J – R

J is for the JFK 50 Mile Ultramarathon which I ran in 1997 just a month after completing my first marathon. It’s also the site of my first running injury, a badly inflamed IT band. I struggled the last 16 or so miles and finished with an average pace of 13:00. I had to take a full month off before starting to run again, but I never experienced any IT band issues after that race until this spring during a particularly hilly bike ride.


K is for the Virtual Kickoff to Kinnick 5K, a race I ran last fall with Kim when she just happened to be in my neck of the woods. I jumped at the chance to see Kim and run in a race that benefited children diagnosed with cancer at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. I planned a flat course where we ran a chatty 8:50 average pace.


L is for the Loudoun Half Marathon which I ran in 2014. It’s also my half PR. Years ago when I was a faster runner and ran mostly marathons, there weren’t that many half marathons around and when I ran one, I ran it as a training run. It wasn’t until this race that I decided to push a little harder and finished with an 8:45 average pace.


M is for the Marine Corps Marathon, my first marathon and one that I ran a total of 10 times in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2009. It’s a home town favorite and will always hold a special place in my heart.


N is for the Nike Women’s 8K which I ran in 1989, my first road race in nine years. I remember how difficult it felt to maintain an 8:43 pace, mainly because I didn’t do any type of speed training. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was three weeks pregnant with our second son.


O is for the OBX Half Marathon which I trained for hard with hopes of setting a half PR just in time for my 60th birthday. I invited several of my runner friends for a fun filled weekend at our beach house culminating with the race. I finished with at time of 2:01:13 (9:15 pace) and 4th out of 94 women in my age group. An emergency porta potty pit stop near the end of the race cost me 3rd place in my age group and a sub 2-hour half.


P is for Parks Half Marathon which I ran with my son in 2015. I’d hoped to run the entirety of the race with him, but I misjudged the calories in my new gels and didn’t take in enough fuel which resulted in me hitting the wall. Once I realized what had happened and increased my intake, I finished a little stronger with a 9:38 average pace.


Q is for… okay, I’m taking some liberty here because I can’t think of any race name or location I’ve run that started with a Q. We did; however, ride our bikes across the Queensboro Bridge into Queens when we rode in the Bike NY Five Boro Bike Tour.


R is for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, my very first half, which I ran in 2002 as a training run before three upcoming marathons spread over four weeks, the first just a month away. I ran with friends and we finished with an 8:54 average pace.


Visit Running the Alphabet: Races and Locations A Through I by clicking here.

Stay tuned next Tuesday for Running the Alphabet: Races and Locations S Through Z.


  • • In what year did you run your first race?
  • • Have you run any of the races I’ve listed?
  • • What race is at the top of your bucket list?



I’m linking up with Kim at Kookyrunner and Zenaida of Zenaida Arroya for their Tuesday topics Link-Up. Be sure to check out not only the hosts’ posts, but those of the other great bloggers joining in on the fun!