Round and Round We Go! The Most Repetitive Races

LA Olympic Trials

LA Marathon Olympic Trials

In honor of the LA Marathon Olympic Trials this Saturday (10 am PT, 1 pm ET), I’m interrupting write ups of the honeymoon to talk about running.

The trials is the day before the LA Marathon, which is a point to point course starting from Dodgers Stadium and ending at a beach in Santa Monica. The Olympic Trials (OT) course is described as “spectator-friendly.” If you haven’t seen the OT course, you should check out the video flyover. It is, indeed, spectator-friendly, which means a ton of loops (an initial 2.2 mile loop, then 6-mile loop 4 times) so spectators will be able to see their athletes several times from a single vantage point.

When I read the race description, I thought about other courses that were endless loops. I thought it would be fun to compile as many of those races that I could find. It turns out that there are actually several courses consisting of lap after lap after lap after lap, etc. I decided to stick to marathons and ultras for this list.

Races that require you to go the distance in circles!


Central Park Marathon: The New York City Marathon isn’t the only marathon that ends in Central Park in NYC. The Central Park Marathon by NYC Runs that takes place on Feb 21st this year starts and ends in Central Park. Runners complete 5 laps of the lower loop (each loops is slightly over 5 miles).

Brooklyn Marathon: Another NYC Runs gem that took place on Nov 15, 2015 in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY.  The course is a doozy! Runners run 2 2-mile lower loop, 6 3.4-mile full loops, one last 2-mile lower loop.

Last Chance BQ Chicagoland Marathon: This race in Illinois on Sept 10, 2016 is your last chance to qualify for Boston if you can complete criterium-style loop course (8 laps on a 3.21-mile loop).

Houston Running Festival: This is one incredible running festival in late December in Houston, TX. The distances are from a half marathon up to 100 miles on the same 2.01-mile loop. If you’re running the marathon, you’ll be doing 12 regular laps and one extended lap for a total of 13 laps.

Circular Logic Marathon: I love the name of this race! Imagine running 26 laps of a 1-mile loop in Cumberland Park in West Lafayett, IN on a beautiful spring day on April 2nd. You don’t have to because  on the course page, they have a 7-min video of the mile loop or you can look at still photos. You and your loved ones will be seeing each other plenty out on this course.

Icebreaker Indoor Marathon: A marathon. Indoors. On a track. Oh, those crazy Midwesterners! Can you handle 94.9 laps around a 445.2 meter track? If you missed this race on Jan 31st, you have almost another full year to train for it if you’re up for a winter marathon in Wisconsin. FYI, this marathon is not a Boston qualifier.

Prison Marathon: This isn’t a marathon that the general public can register for, but Weber State assistant cross-country coach, Isaac Wood, helped six prisoners tackle a marathon and an additional 20 take on the half marathon or 10K. The marathoners completed 110 laps to run a marathon in Utah State Prison.


NYRR NYC 60K:  In case you needed another excuse to run in Central Park, the NYRR NYC 60K in early Nov offers you one lap of the lower 5-mile loop and 8 laps of the 4-mile loop. That means you’ll be running some sections of Central Park 9 times!

Great Cranberry Ultra 50K: Unfortunately 2013 was the last time this ultra was held. Runners had to run a 4-mile stretch of road 7 times, plus a 5K in-and-out to complete this 31 miles race.

Houston Running Festival: I just had to mention this one again. If you’re hardcore, enter the 100-mile ultra  by running 50 laps of the same 2.01-mile loop.

The Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race: This is the world’s longest certified race and it takes place every year from June to August in Queens, New York. Sri Chinmoy was an Indian spiritual master who created this race to give people an opportunity to test their physical limits and then go beyond them. Runners need to average 59.6 miles each day for 52 days straight in order to finish 3100 miles. As if that’s not tough enough, runners need to run  5649 laps of a one extended city block in Jamaica, Queens that’s .5488 miles long. You might think it’s mind-numbing, but the repetitive nature of the course was intentionally designed to induce meditation and self-transcendence in the runners.

BingoNow that you’ve read about these races, the OT marathon course doesn’t seem so bad after all, does it?

If you’re planning on watching the Olympic Trials on TV Saturday, why don’t you join us ladies at Salty Running and play Olympic Trials Bingo? Print off a page or play it online. We’ll be tweeting our bingo games during the marathon. Use the hashtags #saltyrunning & #trialsbingo.

9 thoughts on “Round and Round We Go! The Most Repetitive Races

  1. Pingback: An Ode to Zoo Hill (aka Battle Pass Hill) | A Fast Paced Life

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