“Fifty Places to Run Before You Die” by Chris Santella (Abrams, 224 pages, $24.99)
Author Chris Santella takes on running destinations in the 14th of his “Fifty Places” titles, and his list is interesting, informative and, at times, surprising. A 7-mile run that courses through a northern Michigan vineyard, with optional grape stomping at the finish? Even the most veteran of runners will find something new in this book, alongside takeouts on runs known as the “majors”: the Boston, London and New York City marathons.
Santella’s entries lean on the advice of people in the running world, who weigh in on destinations or running events. All 50 runs clearly have made an impression, whether it was for the people, the place, the challenge or some combination. Prepare to expand your bucket list.
Here are a few that made the 50 that should resonate with local readers:
No. 5: Vancouver Sun Run
People who live in the Canadian city have an distinctive outdoors bent: They don’t watch things, they do things, writes Santella. The 10-kilometer run was started by the Vancouver Sun newspaper in 1985, with 3,500 participants. Now, there are 50,000, making it the second-largest timed 10K in the world.
No. 9: Chicago Marathon
It’s flat, it’s fast and, at 45,000 runners, it’s regarded as one of the world marathon heavyweights. And throngs come out to cheer. Attendance in 2016 was estimated at 1.7 million spectators. Runners start with urban hipster neighborhoods toward Lincoln Park, and later trade those for the older ethnic ones: Little Italy, Greektown, Chinatown and more.
No. 32: Trail to Ale 10K
Portland, Maine, is big on its green space and its beer. Hmm, sounds familiar. Portland has 721 acres of public trails, gardens and community fields. The evolution of the trail system dovetailed with the craft beer boom when the first Geary’s Pale Ale hit lips. Shipyard and Allagash Brewing weren’t far behind. The 10K runs in mid-September.
No. 37: Grandma’s Marathon
Minnesota ranks! But the implication that newbies might want to tote wool hats and long johns to the start in Two Harbors is a bit much. (See dubious reference to “cool weather” run.) We know about mercurial weather around the Big Lake, but the talk in recent years has been about the heat if anything.