5 Charlotte Races to Start the New Year on the Right Foot

There's no better way to get jump-started on those resolutions than a New Year's Day race.
There's no better way to get jump-started on those resolutions than a New Year's Day race. Craig Marshall
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The first day of January is a time for ruminating on the past and pontificating on the future. You can reflect on a few of those questionable choices you may have made over the last 12 months—some as recent as a few hours ago.

Perhaps you worked the holiday eating season a little too hard and you’re hoping for a bit of atonement. Or maybe you just want to start your new year off a little healthier than you ended the last one. Good news! Here are five Charlotte races to help you sweat out the last bit of 2015’s bad life decisions and start 2016 off clean.

1. First Footin’ Five Miler Trail Race

The First Footin' Five Miler takes advantage of the historic beauty of Rural Hill.
The First Footin' Five Miler takes advantage of the historic beauty of Rural Hill. First Footin' Five Miler

What better way to look forward to 2016 than with a jog through Charlotte’s past? The First Footin’ Five Miler Trail Race  in Huntersville, NC, takes place at Rural Hill, the historical farm that was once the home of Major John Davidson, an influential member among the North Carolinians who thumbed their noses at British rule. The 5-mile race, which starts at 10 a.m, will take runners over hills and, probably, a couple dales.

Event organizers are accepting non-perishable food donations and all race proceeds support Historic Rural Hill and its educational mission to offer low-cost field trips to local school kids. So not only is the First Footin’ Five Miler a great run, it’s also your first chance of the year to get on Santa’s nice list—and we could all use a little head start there.

2. Clover Community Bank New Year’s 5K

Beginning at Camp Thunderbird, the YMCA youth camp on the shores of Lake Wylie in South Carolina, the Clover Community Bank New Year’s 5K offers a relatively gentle course that’s a fine choice for those working through the New Year’s Day haze. Runners will travel on several paved roads around the camp and the River Hills community. Supporting those who support us, proceeds from the Clover Community Bank 5K will be donated to the River Hills Emergency Squad

3. Ring in the New Year 16K and 4 Mile Trail Races

The Anne Close Springs Greenway offers the rugged trail that makes the Ring in the New Year races so much fun.
The Anne Close Springs Greenway offers the rugged trail that makes the Ring in the New Year races so much fun. Rock Hill Striders

Beginning at the merciful hour of 10 a.m., the  Ring in the New Year 16K and 4 Mile Trail Races  are designed by runners. Besides weekly group outings, the Rock Hill Striders organize several excellent races and this event in Fort Mill, SC, is one of the best. Taking advantage of the scenic Anne Close Springs Greenway, with its little lakes and charmingly historic buildings, both courses include a healthy dose of wooded, rugged singletrack. If you’ve resolved to give a trail race a go in 2016, the 4 mile option here would be a fantastic way to check that one off your list early.

4. Tightwad 5K

Want to save some cash in 2016? The Tightwad 5K is a no-cost race around the quaint town of Davidson, NC. This no-frills/all-fun run is not officially timed and there are no awards. This brilliantly marketed but poorly monetized event is brought to you by the Davidson Area Running Team. While the 8 a.m. start might be a bit harrowing for late night revelers, the early finish will get you home in time for an extra helping of ham and collards.

5. Salem Lakeshore Frosty 50K

The terrain is forgiving, but the distance at the Frosty 50k is not.
The terrain is forgiving, but the distance at the Frosty 50k is not. Chandler Thompson

OK, it’s not on New Year’s Day—it’s on Jan. 2. But you’ll probably need a day of couch surfing to recover from New Year’s Eve and prepare for this ultra-distance race. The Frosty 50K takes runners on multiple loops of the 7-mile Salem Lake Trail (plus a short out and back to complete 50 miles, in case you were doing the math) in Winston Salem, NC. You don’t have to run the full 50 to enjoy the wide, peaceful loop that surrounds Salem Lake. The day includes a 25K option or, if you can rouse three running buddies, there’s a 50K relay option so each runner only has to run 12.5K (killing it with the math today).

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