Fitadelphia: 2011s Best Races
Distance: 9 miles.
Good for: A challenge.
Why it rocks: Designed by British Special Forces, Allentown’s Ironman-meets-Burning Man combo of mud, ropes, hills, walls and fire pushes your brain and body to the limit.
Must-bring gear: Determination. Last year, only 78 percent of participants finished.
Cost: $140 to $180.
Run it: Saturday, April 9, or Sunday, April 10.
The Blue Cross Broad Street Run
Distance: 10 miles, straight down Broad Street. Good for: Falling back in love with Philly.
Why it rocks: It’s fun, it’s fast, and the throngs of cheering spectators make you feel like a superstar. Plus: First-timers can train for it in as little as 10 weeks.
Must-bring gear: An anti-chafing product, like BodyGlide, so when things begin to rub, you won’t throw in the towel.
Run it: Sunday, May 1.
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K
Distance: 3.1 miles.
Good for: Forming friendships.
Why it rocks: Running with (or as one of) 6,000 breast cancer survivors at the Art Museum area’s annual, 40,000-strong Mother’s Day race is a life-changing way to fight a killer.
Must-bring gear: Tissues. Lots.
Cost: $27 to $40 (fund-raising optional).
Run it: Sunday, May 8.
The Stroehmann Back on My Feet 20 in 24 Midnight Madness Run
Distance: 8.4 miles.
Good for: Shaking things up.
Why it rocks: Everything, even the Schuylkill River Loop, feels new when it’s lit by the moon.
Must-bring gear: Headlamps, Christmas lights, glow-in-the-dark necklaces.
Run it: Saturday, July 16.
Cooper-Norcross Bridge Challenge
Distance: 6.2 miles.
Good for: Enjoying fall temps.
Why it rocks: Because it’s cool to run across a big bridge—especially the Ben Franklin—when it’s closed to traffic.
Must-bring gear: Sunglasses. The morning glare coming across the bridge is brutal.
Run it: Sunday, November 6.
Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon
Distance: 26.2 and 13.1 miles, respectively.
Good for: Your self-esteem.
Why it rocks: This run through the city is the ultimate test of self-discipline.
Must-bring gear: Toilet paper. The Porta-Potties tend to run out.
Cost: $80 to $125 for the marathon; $65 to $100 for the half (2010 prices; 2011 prices subject to change).
Run it: Sunday, November 20.