As a great year in running finishes in style with the #12RunsOfChristmas, I wanted to take a look back at my own favorite races in 2012. What are yours? Here's my top 10:
Paris Marathon, April 22. Starting at the Arc de Triomphe (right) and running past the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral and Eiffel Tower and alongside the Seine and French-kissing your wife at the finish is not going to be beaten by any marathon anywhere.
2. Portugal Day 5M, June 17. Finished in 52:11 at Central Park, a 10:26 pace that marked my fastest since 2008. One of those sultry days when you feel light and fast.
3. Harrisburg Marathon, Nov. 11. Makeup race for the canceled NYC Marathon. Hated the 3 miles of nature hills that ruined my finish time, but everything else about it was wonderful and the race organizer was great.
4. NYC Half, March 18. Running through Times Square while the taxis are forced to go elsewhere is too cool not to be in the top 5.
5. Miami Marathon, Jan. 29. I.T. Band syndrome collapse at mile 16 cost me an extra hour. But man is that a beautiful course. Running through South Beach and out toward Key Biscayne is dreamy.
6. #12RunsOfChristmas, Day 1. I only had to run one mile on the first day, and I ran with my English Bulldog King Bingley. If you knew King Bingley you would laugh all the way.
7. Brooklyn Half, May 19. It's the best finish in running, at least in my experiences. You wind up on the boardwalk at Coney Island and then hit Nathan's for dogs and drinks. 2:29 finish OK for me.
8. All-Star Game 5K, July 8. Great course in Kansas City. When you have people like George Brett around, it has to be good. Bad bottleneck at the finish, but otherwise it was a blast.
9. Halifax, Yorkshire County, England, April 17. This was my favorite non-race training run of 2012. I ran in the rain in upper England while we were visiting family. Along the way I stopped at a historic cemetery and was moved by a tombstone that read: "PEACE PERFECT PEACE." I said a prayer for an entire cemetery of those who rest in peace. Then I ran onward to Sowerby Bridge, past fish & chips stops and breathed in the classic scenery on my first voyage to Europe.
10. NFL Back to Football Run, August 30. New York Road Runners brought in Giants players and decorated the start at Central Park with NFL team flags -- a great vibe on the night the season kicked off. 4 miles in 42:22, and it was fun to see all the runners in NFL jerseys. Great tech shirt, too.