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: S – Z

S is for Steamtown Marathon, my PR marathon which I ran in 1999. Listed by Runner’s World as one of the ten fastest marathons in the USA, I talked my friends into road tripping to Scranton, PA. After a gorgeous fall Saturday, a continuous delouse of rain fell on us during the entire race. I didn’t let the rain dampen my spirits and ran smart, finishing in 3:29:04 (7:59 pace).


T is for Grand Tetons Half Marathon which I ran in 2018 on a return trip to our honeymoon destination from many years earlier. Concerned about altitude, I hydrated like a beast in the days leading up to the race and finished at a 9:56 pace, good enough to finish 2nd out of 44 in my age group.


U is for Ragnar Trail RVA Ultra 137.7-Mile Relay which I let my friends talk me into running in 2016. I thought my ultra days were behind me, but my friends reminded me that even as an ultra runner with two back-to-back loops, the longest of my three legs totaling 34.4 miles would only be 12.4 miles. We had a great time and our team finished 1st in the women’s submasters division.


V is for the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon which I ran in 2011, 2012, and 2013. It was a race notorious for starting up to 45 minutes late playing real havoc on race fueling. I never performed particularly well at this mostly paved, partly gravel, and always hot and humid race (10:02, 13:10, and 11:19 average paces, respectively), but I always had a great time with my friends!


W is for the Washington’s Birthday Marathon which I ran in 2000 on a whim and without training. I ran with my guy friends who always paced me perfectly and I finished in 3:42:44 (8:30 pace) and with a BQ. It’s also the race where I got hot/cold/hot/cold and took my long sleeved shirt off and put it back on a million times, tucking it in the back of my pants when I wasn’t wearing it – that must have been quite the sight from behind.


X is for EX2Adventure SBYB Fountainhead Park Trail Ten Miler which I ran in  2014. The course was very technical and scenic with some water crossings. My husband and I ran together and had a blast. My 11:49 pace earned me a 1st place age group award – a pint glass – always a fun alternative to a medal or trophy.


Y is for New Day New Year 5K which I ran in 2018, 2019, and 2022, always with friends. The weather is unpredictable on January 1st and the temperature has ranged from 12° to 58° at the start of the race on the years I’ve participated.  With a relatively small field, I’ve done well at this race, winning my age group with an 8:19 and 812 pace, and placing 3rd with an 11:02 pace. This race has had some great swag with blankets, neck gaiters, hats, and gloves.


Z is for ZOOMA Half Marathon which a did with friends on a girl’s road trip in 2015. We dubbed the race as H3 (hilly, hot, and humid) which had me dogging it the last mile. Giving in to head games, I took too many walk breaks and placed 3rd in my age group, missing 1st place by only 30 seconds.

Shortly after running this race, I virtually met Judy and learned that she had also been in Annapolis for this race. Had we met earlier, we certainly would have planned a meetup.


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

Visit Running the Alphabet: Races and Locations J Through R by clicking here.


  • • In what year did you run your first race?
  • • Have you run any of the races I’ve listed?
  • • Where was the most unusual place you’ve raced?



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!