By Mira Reverente — Mira Lexus LaceUpGet movin’ with Mira Reverente, LaceUp’s blogger. Ventura-based Reverente is an enthusiastic runner having completed 20 marathons and ultra-marathons. She will be blogging once a month through December, bringing you stories of inspiring runners, insider info about the series, running humor, tips, news—you name it. Tune in.  

It’s time to reap the rewards – the rewards of summer training, that is. Cooler weather, fun fall races and being in fantastic shape pre-holiday season are just some of those rewards. As the Lexus LaceUp Running Series gears towards race #2 in Ventura on Oct. 22, 2016, consider adding this coastal city stop to your list of fun fall races.

I’ll give you 10 reasons to fall in love with Ventura but I’m sure there’s more. After all, Men’s Journal can’t be wrong naming Ventura one of the “10 Best Places to Live Now” in 2015, alongside San Francisco, New Orleans and Nashville.

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  1. Scenery – When you run, you are literally steps away from the beach, fantastic scenery and even some occasional wildlife sightings including dolphins, sea lions and whales.
  2. Weather – I swear Ventura has its own. You can be in nearby Oxnard or Camarillo and it’s scorching hot then you drive (or run) to Ventura and you find relief like no other.
  3. Boutique Race – It’s small enough you won’t feel overwhelmed but large enough for a city of 106,000 that there’s enough course support and pros working behind-the- scenes to make it an enjoyable and safe experience for all.
  4. Minimal Elevation – It’s coastal so the changes in elevation are gentle and minimal. I know the anti-hill folks will love this and it makes for a great place to set a new PR.
  5. Vibe – Venturans move to their own beat. They walk, run, hike, cycle, swim and do it all over again everyday. The cycle of physical activity is non-stop. The downtown area is also a must-see with several mom and pop stores, a public library, a museum and the Mission San Buenaventura, a local landmark.
  6. Bling – It’s dazzling. Each of the four LaceUp races have unique finisher medals and racer tech-tee designs. For you medal mavens, this is your race!
  7. More Bling – Since you’re into bling anyway, consider completing the LaceUp Challenge and get a fifth, even larger medal, after completion of the Riverside race on Dec. 4, 2016. That will make quite a collection – five medals from a single running series.
  8. Runner Perks – The Instagram shop is a crowd-pleaser, and so are the local food trucks and included Sierra Nevada beer toast. The expo has top-notch health and fitness vendors with samples, freebies and activities to engage the crowd. Don’t miss out on the plank competition held at each race stop. The winner is awarded a pair of crispy-new Saucony shoes.
  9. Nearby Parking – If you run a lot of races, this can be a deal breaker. Who wants to walk 2-3 miles from their car before running a race? Ventura is surrounded by abundant parking – downtown, the fairgrounds, the state park and even more parks. Specific parking information for Ventura is coming soon.
  10. Volunteers – You can have the best course, the best expo and the best bling, but without enough engaged volunteers, a race may fall short. Ventura has some of the most involved high schools, middle schools and non-profit groups. Make sure you wave and say “thank you” as you run by.