During my recent visit to Yellowstone NP, I was made aware that they had a half marathon weekend in the park planned for the following weekend. My wife is an avid runner (while I am more of a hiker), but we were shocked that we were not aware that this was a thing. After doing some more research, we found that there are races in many of the National Parks. Having said that, it is difficult to find information about National Park races online. The NPS website doesn’t even mention them unless you want to scroll through long lists of activities which could take a lot of time. No one organization seems to sponsor the races either, so there is not one central place to find out information about the races.
We are considering doing the Joshua Tree Half Marathon which is on November 4th 2017, and matches up well with our anniversary trip we do every year. Also, it is a night race so the opportunity to stargaze during this race will be incredible. If you’d like to join us at this race then check out: https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/JoshuaTree/JoshuaTreeHalfMarathon.
I will say that I am not familiar with runsignup or Vacation Races (which I am not sure if they are separate organizations or just link to each other). I will have to update you after I participate in one of their races with how they handle the logistics of the race. This group does offer a long list of half marathons that they sponsor in or near the National Parks (I noticed that some are not technically in the NP’s so check for that carefully). You can find more information here: http://vacationraces.com/.
Now some of the National Park’s seem to have locally sponsored races. For example, Acadia National Park in Maine just had their annual race sponsored by the Mount Desert Island YMCA: http://www.mdiymca.org/index.php?page=acadia-loop-half-mara. That looked to be a gorgeous race following the rocky coastline of the Park. Think of all the lobster rolls you could eat after burning off calories doing a 10K or half marathon!
Rocky Coastline in Acadia National Park
If you like to participate in these kind of events, then I encourage you to do some research online or reach out directly to the National Park you want to visit and run through. This does seem to be a great way to experience a National Park in a new way. As always, thank you for reading. rk