The Howard County Striders have their Summer Series, the Westminster Road Runners Club has its Twilight Series and the Annapolis Striders have their Summer Fun Runs.
As the weather turns hotter, many clubs, which traditionally hold their races on the weekend, turn to evening runs as a way of changing the pace. The Howard County Striders' Summer Series rotates around a series of Howard County schools on Wednesdays, the WRRC's Twilight Series takes place at a variety of Carroll County locations on Thursdays, and the Annapolis Striders' runs are held at the Bates Middle School track in Annapolis on Thursdays.
The distances are frequently less than those of races run in the other seasons. The Westminster runs vary between two and 10 miles, the Howard County distances are two or six miles and the Annapolis distance is four.
"It's a chance for people to get in a hard workout and see if they want to run a hard two-miler or a hard six-miler," the Howard County Striders' Eric Kocay says. "We get maybe 50 to 75 people doing the two-miler and maybe 50 to 75 for the six-miler.
"In the Sunday series, which we have in the winter, spring and fall, we usually put on a two-miler, a 10K and a 15K. But during the summer, we only do two miles and six miles and, because of the heat, we do it on a Wednesday night."
In addition to taking some of the heat out of summer running, the series help to ready runners for a busier fall season.
Dave Herlocker of the Westminster Road Runners Club says about his club's Twilight Series, which is in its 14th season: "The idea was to have a series of evening runs -- to start people off with short races and build them up so that people who want to do the marathons in the fall -- the Marine Corps, the [defunct] Maryland Marathon, New York, whatever -- could build up."
Kocay seconds that thought.
"A lot of people do them [the summer runs] as speed workouts," he says. "There really aren't as many races during the summer. FTC Everyone is getting ready for the Annapolis 10-Mile Run or the [Howard County] 24-Hour Relay."
For information on the HCS Summer Series, call (410) 964-1998; for information on the Westminster Twilight Series, call (410) 857-5154; and for information on the Annapolis runs, call (410) 268-1165.
The Market To Market 5-Mile Run, scheduled for Aug. 16, has been canceled. 1 1/8 . . Stacey Nicholson broke Maureen Hall's 2-year-old Baltimore Road Runners Club's Summer Track Series women's mile record Wednesday.