4 Historical Running Events

Follow in your foremothers' footsteps and try one of these races—all over 100 years old.

The First Thanksgiving

Historians date the first Thanksgiving back to 1621—and the first (and longest-running) 10K turkey trot to 1908. The Thanksgiving Day 10K in Cincinnati, Ohio will celebrate its 102nd birthday on November 24 this year, having been cancelled only two years (1918 and 1936) since its inception.

Thousands of runners kick off their turkey day at Paul Brown Stadium, which houses the race's start and finish lines. The course transverses the Ohio River on the Taylor Southgate Bridge, where runners can take in views of the city's gorgeous skyline. After working up an appetite, runners can nosh on local treats, such as organic tea and Kroger snacks, before heading home to delve into Thanksgiving feasts. More info: (513) 321-3006, thanksgivingdayrace.com

Happy Trails

The Dipsea Trail Run is not only the oldest race west of the Mississippi, it's also the wackiest. The northern California course runs from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, and is held every year on the second Sunday in June. The 101st running will fall on June 9, 2012. The race's zany rules include handicaps which have caused an eight-year-old and a seventy-year-old alike to come in first place.

Shortcuts are legal, bribing race directors to gain entrance is encouraged and runners must race up 676 steps within the first mile. The quirky charm, combined with the stunningly beautiful views of redwood forests and breathtaking beaches, guarantee that this race will be around for many years to come. More info: (415) 331-3550, dipsea.org

Diamonds are Forever

Any tradition involving diamonds is bound to stick around. The Run for Diamonds, a nine-mile race in Berwick, Pennsylvania, has been awarding diamond rings and pendants to its top finishers for over a century. The 102nd race will take place on Thanksgiving morning, November 24, 2011.

Only 13 participants, all men, ran the first race in 1908, but Diamonds now boasts over 1,300 runners, with plenty of ladies in the bunch. Despite a challenging course (which includes a two-mile long hill) and brutal ice-cold weather, runners continue to come back year after year—for their annual dose of history and a chance to win some bling. More info: (570) 759-1300, runfordiamonds.com

There's Nothing More American

Think the Boston Marathon is the oldest race in Massachusetts? Think again. While the Beantown marathon may be more famous, the Bemis-Forslund Pie Race is actually the older of the two.

The first Pie Race dates all the way back to 1891, and this 4.3-mile run has taken place every autumn since. Get a slice of the action in Mount Hermon, Massachusetts, on November 16, which will mark the race's 121st anniversary.

The race earns its name from the tasty treats served to the fastest runners—the majority of whom are faculty, staff and alumni of the local high school. Runners who cross the finish line in time will receive one of 200 homemade apple pies for their efforts. More info: (413) 498-3000, nmhschool.org

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Jessica Sebor is the editor in chief of Women's Running Magazine

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