It's time to lace up those sneakers and get in a good stretch for the busy part of the running seas in the Myrtle Beach area. With springtime bringing milder temperatures that are perfect for competitive running, the Grand Strand has a long list of upcoming races to choose from. Whether it's a serious competitive event or a fun fund-raiser, the Myrtle Beach running scene has it all. Here's a list of upcoming racing events:
* March 14, Fourth Annual St. Patrick's Day Tilted Kilt 5K: You don't have to be a trained athlete to compete in this fun-filled event. In fact, the Tilted Kilt throws one of the best 5K after-parties on the local racing circuit, which is one of the reasons so many non-runners sign up for this fun-filled and free-food event. Runners don colorful costumes and plaid kilts and circle the Broadway at the Beach complex before crossing the finish line at the Tilted Kilt, where participants gather for cold beer and other beverages, as well as chicken wings and fish and chips, to celebrate their achievement.
* March 21, Derrick Law Firm Run for the Children 5K: If you've never visited downtown Conway, this is a great chance to discover the historic city while helping a good cause, with proceeds going to the Children's Mentoring Program of Horry County. Runners start the 3.1-mile course along the banks of the Waccamaw River and the scenic Conway Marina Park before winding through the streets of downtown. Make a full day of it by hanging out for the after-party and soaking up the small-town charm of the River City.
* March 28, Second Annual Run for the Shelter 5K and 1-mile Dog Run/Walk: Run on two legs or on four at this inter-species event at the North Myrtle Beach Sports and Recreation Complex. This scenic new park offers lots of room to run in the great outdoors, as well as a dog park where you can take your four-legged friend for a pre-race warm-up or post-race cool down. Dogs and owners can compete together in the 1-mile run, while it's humans only for the 5K. Either way, it's a great time for both man and his best friend in this fund-raiser for the Humane Society of North Myrtle Beach.
* April 25, Fastest and Furriest 5K: Race for, not with, the animals in this benefit for the St. Francis Animal Center. Participants start at East Bay Park and run their way through the streets of the historic port city of Georgetown. Take in the antebellum homes and Colonial era architecture of downtown Georgetown. St. Francis will have pets on hand for adoption at the post-race party, so maybe you can make a new best friend to take home with you.
* May 2, XTERRA Myrtle Beach Trail Run: Only serious runners need apply to this hard-core course on the Horry County Bike and Run Trail, aka The Hulk. Offering 10K, 20K and 50K distance options, runners run through the dirt and through the many elevation changes. Hose off at the finish line and join fellow iron men and women for the post-race festivities.
* May 3, Third Annual Cinco de Mayo 5K: Celebrate this Mexican holiday at the most popular Mexican-themed restaurant in Myrtle Beach, Fiesta del Burro Loco. Party goers cheer on the runners as they cross the finish line in the middle of the outdoor party, which includes live music, food and drink and fun contests.
For more information or online registration for any of these events, visit www.grandstrandrunner.com