To help you set fitness goals for 2012, we've gathered a list of the top race events happening in the immediate area during the frst half of the year.
So whether you're an experienced runner, walker, cyclist, swimmer or you're looking to get into shape for the first time, this list of premier races will help jump-start your training goals.
Jan. 8: The Kiwanis 5 Mile Adventure Run, Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin; a challenging 5-mile beach/trail run; 8:30 a.m.; $25 to $30.
Jan. 22: Clearwater Halfathon, 5-Miler & 5K Fitness Walk, Clearwater; your choice of either a 13.1-mile or 5-mile run, or a 5K walk; various routes starting from Coachman Park and ending at the downtown Clearwater waterfront; 7:05 a.m.; $30 to $70 (Registration closes at 9 p.m. Jan. 18).
Jan. 28: Discover Caladesi Island 10 Miler, Clearwater/Dunedin; a 10-mile beach/trail race from Clearwater Beach Pier 60 to Caladesi Island trails and back. Proceeds benefit Friends of the Island Parks; 7:30 a.m.; $35 to $40.
Feb. 12: Rock 'n' Roll St. Pete Half Marathon, St. Petersburg; the first of the famed Rock 'n' Roll race series to come to Tampa Bay. Rock bands play throughout the 13.1-mile course. Starts at Tropicana Field, ends at North Shore Park; 7:30 a.m.; $95 to $125 (Online registration closes Feb. 25).
Feb. 25: Sand Key Triathlon & Duathlon, Clearwater; a 13-mile bike loop around Clearwater Beach, Belleair, Belleair Bluffs and Belleair Beach coupled with a quarter-mile swim and 3.1-mile run. It benefits the Clearwater Marine Aquarium; 7:15 a.m.; $75 to $95 (Registration closes Feb. 20).
March 10: Armadillo Run, Oldsmar; your choice of a 10K, 5K or 1-mile run/walk that starts at the Oldsmar Library and benefits the charities of The Rotary Club of Oldsmar/East Lake; 8:45 a.m.; $13 to $40 (Online registration ends March 7).
March 16: Shamrock'n Run 5K and Walk, Largo; enjoy live music, food and drinks at this City of Largo-sponsored 5K and 1.5-mile walk and Clover Kids Dash; check-in begins at 5 p.m.; $7 to $15 (Registration closes March 14).
March 17: Dunedin Duathlon and Flanagan's 5K, Dunedin; race begins on Pinellas Trail near Florida Auto Exchange Stadium; participants get a free beer at the end of the race (must be 21 or older); duathlon is at 7 a.m., 5K is at 10 a.m.; $30 to $40 (Registration closes March 15).
April 7: Guppy's Gulfside Gallop, Indian Rocks Beach; this annual 5K and 1-mile fun run benefits Indian Rocks Beach Homeowners Association; 8 a.m. $15 to $20 (Registration not open yet).
April 14-15: Shark Bite Challenge, Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin; a two-day event with outdoor recreation and canoe, kayak and other watersport races, clinics and fishing tournaments; benefits Friends of the Island Parks. (Last year's registration fee was $20; this year's rates are not publicized yet.)
Apr 22: Athleta Iron Girl Clearwater Women's Half Marathon & 5K, Clearwater; a women's-only 13.1-mile run or 5K run/walk starting at Coachman Park and ending at Clearwater Beach; 7 a.m.; $95 to $125.
May 12: Hog Hustle 5K, Dunedin; begins at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium and loops around scenic Edgewater Drive and historic downtown Dunedin. Pancake breakfast follows. 8 a.m.; $20 until May 11.