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6 races that are worth getting on a plane for


Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr
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Westin-Branded-RibbonWhat if your job was to run for a living—and dream up ways to make it as fun as possible? In other words, yes, you could keep clocking better and better PRs, while you clock in every day. Welcome to Chris Heuisler’s world.

Photo: Westin Hotels & Resorts
Photo: Westin Hotels & Resorts

As Westin Hotels & Resorts’ RunWESTIN Concierge, he oversees the brand’s RunWESTIN program and travels to Westin locations across North America to assist runners who are traveling.  He also leads a pack of over 150 Run Concierges who take Westin guests out for morning runs on the most scenic routes around.

“I’m learning more and more that each city has a particular feel to it,” says Heuisler, a sub-3 marathoner (and former marathon expert for Equinox Gyms) who racks up frequent flyer miles of his own, pursuing his current running goal: finishing a marathon in all 50 states. (Next up: Alabama.)

“One of the greatest joys of the job is learning the different quirks which each city has to offer and then, as a concierge would do, passing along the information I learn to future travelers.”

So we asked the well-traveled running expert: What are the best races for a good time with friends? And what are the best races for a good time (and a new personal record)?

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Here are Heuisler’s top three picks for a having good time.

Photo: Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas
Photo: Competitor.com

1. Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas (November)

It’s a party and the purest example of a “Racecation” I’ve witnessed. I would suggest grabbing two or three or five of your best friends and running the Strip at night.

Photo: Competitor.com
Photo: Competitor.com

2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville (April)

Nashville recently overtook Vegas as the number-one destination for bachelorette parties. Why? Because it’s insanely fun there. It’s also nice that the race is on Saturday which gives you the rest of the weekend to explore the city.

Photo: Flickr/Independence Blue Cross
Photo: Flickr/Independence Blue Cross

3. Blue Cross Broad Street Run (May)

The largest 10-miler in the country takes runners right through the heart of Philadelphia, a booming city for foodies. It’s a fast race and there’s no shortage of festivities throughout the city following the race.

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And here are the races he recommends for running a good time:

Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr

1. Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia (September)

One of the fastest courses of the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon series, this half marathon is a fantastic course to set a PR (in 2015, a whopping 41 runners qualified for the Olympic trials on this course). It’s in the fall, so your summer running can pay off. And with just a few turns and a small hill at the finish line, setting a goal to run quickly here is a good one.

Photo: Phoenix Marathon
Photo: Phoenix Marathon

2. Phoenix Marathon (February)

I encourage you to go look at the elevation profile for the Phoenix Marathon course. Just take a peek. You’ll probably notice a trend: It’s all downhill. You want to qualify for Boston? This could be the race for you.

Photo: Flickr/Grandma's Marathon
Photo: Flickr/Grandma’s Marathon

3. Grandma’s Marathon (June)

I loved this race. I loved the fans, the city (Duluth, MN) and the course. In 2015, 19.2 percent of the runners who raced here qualified for Boston. Grandma’s is a perfect blend of fast and fun.

For more information on Westin Hotels & Resorts’ RunWESTIN program, visit westin.com/MOVEWELL 

And for more running inspiration and tips, follow Chris online: Twitter: @runwestin; Instagram: @chrisheuisler; Facebook: runWESTIN Concierge; Tumblr: runWestin