Keep fun, variety in summer fitness

During a 2010 Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series race, the sky opened up and drenched competitors and spectators.

Fitness routines can get monotonous, but over the years, the Lowcountry has added events in the usually hot and humid months of late spring and throughout the summer that give locals plenty of options to mix it up.

Among those options are participating in one or more of five race series that start this month and run until mid-August.

One refreshing aspect of the series is that none are held on Saturday morning, when most races and walks take place. In fact, three of them are held on Thursday evenings, a perfect way to start the weekend with a double dose of exercise and camaraderie.

Also, because there are so many dates and locations to choose from, you can tailor it to fit your schedule and post-work commute.

The newest in the bunch is the Race the Landing 5K series at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site in West Ashley that starts with a kids' run at 6:15 p.m. and an adult 5K at 7 p.m. Each grown-up race has themes with accompanying food (including one free beer).

The five-race series started last Thursday with a Southern Comfort theme and continues this Thursday with Barbados Night. The series then takes a break until June 7 and finishes with races on June 14 and July 19. Registration for this week's race is $10 for the kids' run and $25 for the 5K.

Visit racethelanding.com.

Perhaps the quietest and most low-key race is one put on by The Citadel's track and cross-country programs, the Bulldog Breakaway 5K Twilight Series.

It starts and ends at The Citadel (it's a great tour on foot for those who haven't been on campus) and includes a loop around Hampton Park. The race starts at 6:30 p.m. The Bulldog doesn't have the food and libation that Race the Landing has, but you are a short drive from several watering holes.

Bulldog Breakaway dates are May 17 and 31, June 14 and 28 and July 12. Registration for the whole series is $60 and includes a T-shirt. Individual race registration is available and ranges from $15 early bird to $25 day-of.

Visit www.active.com and search Bulldog Breakaway.

For more than a decade, locals have been embracing the heat at the Daniel Island Twilight Fun Run 5K Series that starts at 6:30 p.m. at Bishop England High School (between the football stadium and baseball fields) on Daniel Island.

The event, organized by longtime Extra Mile store owners Mike and Patt Loggins, has become a summer tradition for many, though the only post-race festivity is after the final race of the series. The dates are July 5 and 19 and Aug. 2 and 16.

Personally, I've never raced in hotter conditions than Daniel Island, but that's part of the fun.

Registration is $20 per race with a T-shirt ($15 without) or $50 for the series with a T-shirt ($40 without). The series price is only available through the first race.

Visit www.theextramileinc.com.

Want a little adventure in your run? The Barrier Island ECOrun series on Caper's Island requires a ferry ride over to the island where a 10K and 5K are held on its “boneyard beach,” dubbed as such because of the sun-bleached dead tree trunks on the beach.

Held on Sundays, the dates for the ECOrun are 1 p.m. May 20 and noon June 17. (One was held April 15.) Registration runs $35-$45. Visit capersecorun.blogspot.com.

The most challenging series of the bunch, and yet an ideal triathlon for newbies, is also the oldest in Charleston: the 22nd annual Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series at James Island County Park.

The series features five triathlons with a 600-yard pond swim, 12-mile bike and 3.1-mile run. The dates are May 20, June 17, July 8 and 29 and Aug. 12. Series registration is $240 for all five races, $200 for any four and $160 for any three. Individual race registration varies from $55 to $66.

Visit www.charleston triathlonclub.com.

Reach David Quick at 937-5516 or dquick@postand courier.com. Follow the Running Charleston blog at www.postandcourier.com/running for more details.