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Challenge yourself in 2020: goals for the fitness freak

Runners were up with the sun to take to the streets of San Diego for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K on Sunday, June 3, 2018.
(Rick Nocon)
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It’s 2020, the beginning of a fresh new decade.

And if you’ve set resolutions or hardcore goals for yourself this year, there are a world of challenging possibilities in San Diego to make you fast, fit and in better shape.

Depending on your personality (are you Alpha?) and your level of fitness obsession, local events are gearing up to meet you with several high stakes races and challenges. Whether it’s hiking five peaks, taking on 100 miles of cycling, or running day and night through Southern California, these adventures are not for the faint of heart.

So if you’ve got it in you, check out these epic and extreme challenges to put on your calendar this year:

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Reebok Ragnar SoCal

Ragnar relay 2016
(Nelvin C. Cepeda)

Happening: April 3 and 4
Registration deadline: Feb. 25 at runragnar.com

Gather up your best fitness pals (five if you’re seriously tough, 11 if you want to have fun) and get ready to forego sleep on the epic 200-ish mile relay event that is Ragnar.

It starts in Huntington Beach and careens straight for San Diego, traveling through Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, San Marcos, Vista and La Jolla, finishing at Coronado’s Silver Strand.

Teams of twelve are considered the “classic Ragnar experience,” with each runner racing three legs, while the Ultra Team of six is for the seriously elite (or crazy) athletes ready for a beat down of twice the mileage.

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Campagnolo Gran Fondo

Riders at the Campagnolo Gran Fondo on Sunday, April 7, 2019.
Riders at the Campagnolo Gran Fondo on Sunday, April 7, 2019.
(Rick Nocon)

Happening: April 4 and 5
Registration deadline: April 4 at sdgranfondo.com

Get your cycling on with San Diego’s biggest race and bike party.

Celebrating its 12th year, the Campagnolo is a two-day extravaganza with four route options: The Gran Fondo (Italian for big ride), a whopping 100 miles and an elevation gain of 6,600 feet; the Medio Fondo is a bit tamer at 61 miles and elevation gain of 3,100 feet; the Piccolo Fondo sits at 35 miles, and gains elevation of 1,300 feet; and the baby of the group, The Fun Fondo, is a flat 21 miles, and gains 350 feet of elevation.

Designed for riders of all skill levels, Campagnolo Gran Fondo supports the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s (CAF) Operation Rebound, a program which assists American veterans, military personnel, and first responders with permanent physical disabilities.

The weekend also features King and Queen of the Mountains races, an expo with health and fitness clinics, food options along the course, and an Italian celebration at the finish line. The closing party includes a beer garden, live music, pasta fest, massage, and even bike valet.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Runners were up with the sun to take to the streets of San Diego for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K on Sunday, June 3, 2018.
(Rick Nocon)

Happening: May 30 and 31
Registration deadline: May 24 at runrocknroll.com/San-Diego

For over 20 years, this marathon has been an annual favorite of runners, both in San Diego and around the world.

It kicks off with a two-day expo and the weekend includes live music, interactive events, dressing up, and, of course, running your tail off. There are four course options: the full 26.2 mile marathon; the 13.1 mile half marathon; and two-runner half marathon relay races set. Looking to add the Remix Challenge Medal to their collection can get warmed up with a 5K race the day before.

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and fundraising opportunities are available for teams.

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5-Peak Challenge

People who complete the 5-Peak Challenge in Mission Trails Regional Park receive this pin. (Charlie Neuman)

Happening: Year round, but the earlier the better
Registration deadline: None, but find details at mtrp.org

For you hikers out there, there is a goal you can set at your own pace in 2020.

Dubbed the 5-Peak Challenge, the Mission Trails Regional Park adventure includes summiting the five highest mountains in the park, taking your picture at the top of each one, and joining the leagues of hard core hikers before you (you also get a certificate and logo pin).

If you want to go wild style, there are those who have done all five in one day, and you can join their elite forces if you’ve got it in you to hike about 20 miles. The five peaks, Cowles, Pyles, Kwaay Paay, South Fortuna, and North Fortuna, range in elevation from 1,094 feet to 1,592 feet.

Hint: start early and don’t try this in the heat of summer!


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