10 Popular Fun Runs For the Whole Family

Marc Lindsay
by Marc Lindsay
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If you’re a runner, chances are you’re looking for a way to get your kids involved in the action. Share your passion to race with incentives like chocolate aid stations and bubble bogs.

Here are 10 races you, your kids and spouse will enjoy:

1. THE COLOR RUN
Details vary by location

Photo Credit: Alex Briseno

With events all over the U.S., the self-proclaimed “Happiest 5K on the planet” is a race all ages are meant to enjoy. Kids and adults are invited to take part in this crazy and fun challenge on a course lined with music, energy and a dousing of color every kilometer. Have your family dress in white and be prepared to get messy!

2. BUBBLE RUN
Details vary by location

Photo Credit: Pomona Proud

Like mud and color runs, the bubble run series has events in most major cities. Kids and adults are invited to come out and play in this nontraditional 5K that has been described as “running through Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.” Foam bogs, located at stations every kilometer, cover you from head to toe. There’s plenty of other fun along the ultimate party course.

3. KIDS OBSTACLE CHALLENGE
Details vary by location

Photo Credit: Tim Miller

Participants ages 5–16 tackle 15 obstacles over a 2-mile course with plenty of mud in between. Big guys and gals are welcome to get in on the fun, too — parents of participants can run the course with their kiddos free of charge. The top three finishers in each age division receive an award.

4. SPARTAN RACE
Details vary by location

Photo Credit: Meer

One of the most popular obstacle/mud races in the U.S., the Spartan race series now has a kid’s challenge at every U.S. event — making it a great way to get the whole family involved and interested in fitness. Three distances are available, with ages 4–8 conquering a 1/2-mile course, 9–13 year olds running a 1-mile course and 11–14 year olds completing a 2-mile obstacle challenge.


READ MORE > HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT 5K FOR YOU


5. NYC HALF AND TIMES SQUARE KIDS RUN
March 18, 2018 | New York City, New York

Photo Credit: Jon Wiley

A redesigned 13.1-mile course that takes runners through Brooklyn and Manhattan is the perfect way to experience the excitement of one of America’s most prestigious events if you weren’t lucky enough to get into the full marathon lottery. For the kids, a race around Times Square is sure to provide plenty of excitement and lasting memories for the whole family.

6. SPLASH DASH 5K
July 2018 | Dallas, Texas

Photo Credit: Scott Thieman

America’s wettest race just might be the perfect way to exercise the kiddos in the summer heat. Kids and adults alike head through this waterpark adventure course, battling water gun happy volunteers along the way. The post-race party features live music, zip lines and plenty of yummy treats.

7. EGG RUN/WALK
August 2018 | Fairfax, Vermont

Photo Credit: Clay1976

In addition to a laidback and friendly 10K and a flat 5K run/walk, this event also features a fun 1K egg run for those 13 years and younger. Afterward, an omelet bar and other post-race goodies are available along with a random prize giveaway for all participants.

8. HERSHEY HALF-MARATHON
October 21, 2018 | Hershey, Pennsylvania

Photo Credit: Nathanael Burton

This sweet race takes participants down Chocolate Avenue, through Hersheypark and past Hershey Mansion for 13.1 miles of chocolate fun. A chocolate aid station, two tickets to the Hersheypark in the Dark, and plenty of other treats are included in the registration. If you have kids looking to get in on the action, a stadium race with Hershey characters and treats will be held the day before the adult half-marathon.

9. SEATTLE CHILDREN’S KIDS MARATHON
November 2018 | Seattle, Washington

Photo Credit: jolisoleil

For 6–8 weeks, kids who sign up for this marathon complete one mile at a time on a route designated by a parent, coach or teacher. Once the first 25 miles are complete, the final 1.2 miles are run together around the Seattle Center, past the Space Needle and to the finish in Memorial Stadium. Along with the two months of running, kids are asked to keep tally of 13 books read and 13 good deeds done for a well-rounded experience.

10. MERMAID RUN SAN FRANCISCO
November 11, 2018 | San Francisco, California

Photo Credit: RVWithTito.com

This women’s-only event crosses the Golden Gate Bridge along with some of San Francisco’s other historic locations. Adults can choose between the Sirena 10-mile, a 10K or 5K, while girls ages 6–12 can sign up for the 1 1/2-mile mermaid dash. If you can’t make it to the event in person, you can still check out the classic SF views by signing up for the virtual run option.

About the Author

Marc Lindsay
Marc Lindsay

Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.  

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