Last updated on December 17th, 2021
Ah, the holidays… the aroma of hot chocolate wafting through the family room, the delightful sound of Christmas music in your ears, and 18,476 platters of sweet treats everywhere you go. I don’t know about you, but I could use some good old-fashioned exercise this holiday season. Luckily, there is no shortage of reindeer runs, jingle bell jogs and tinsel trots across the country. There are so many, in fact, that it’s hard to whittle it down to just a sampling. Here are a few fun runs (listed by date) that you could sign up for to get in the holiday spirit and burn a few hundred calories. Now that’s the best of both worlds.
Santa Runs Tacoma
Where: Tacoma, Washington
When: Dec. 8
This festive affair features a 5K, 10K and half marathon. New this year, 3-person relay teams for the half marathon. All race participants for all distances receive a medal.
Dashing Through the Springs 5K Trail Run
Where: Talladega, Alabama
When: Dec. 8
Dashing Through the Springs raises funds for the Shocco Springs Missions Fund. Through this fund Shocco has served numerous camp and conference ministries throughout the United States and the world as 2 teams traveled to Hacienda El Refugio, a camp and conference center in Calacali, Ecuador this year. Funds also helped send two teams to minister to Jacksonville, AL, after the tornado in March. Make plans to race (run or walk) the beautiful course while supporting a great cause. Local vendors will be set up in the Ricker Activity Center selling crafts and gifts the morning of the race to help you really kick off the Christmas season.
It’s A Wonderful Run 5K
Where: Seneca Falls, New York
When: Dec. 8
Run in the beautiful, illuminated, historic village of Seneca Falls, NY, at dusk. A unique start to this USATF Certified 5K Course places the field atop the famous Bridge Street Bridge, which many believe was the inspiration for the bridge scenes in the holiday movie classic “It’s A Wonderful Life.” The run/walk course goes past the decorated Christmas tree display, the lighted storefronts and shops of downtown Seneca Falls, and historic village homes decked out and lit up for the holiday season. The course concludes in the shadow of the Bridge Street Bridge in People’s Park along the Seneca Falls Canal Harbor.
NYCRUNS Big Apple Half Marathon
Where: New York, New York
When: Dec. 9
This classic winter half marathon takes place in Central Park. If you haven’t raced in Central Park in winter, you’re in for an off-season treat. You’d never know that the clogged streets of 5th avenue and Central Park West are only a few yards away. The park is quiet and peaceful, with just the sounds of runners’ footsteps to serenade you. The race boasts a big, flashy finisher medal. Seriously, normal people probably couldn’t even wear it around their necks, but YOU CAN because you’re an awesome athlete who just completed a half marathon in winter!
Jingle Bell Run – Broward
Where: Parkland, Florida
When: Dec. 9
The Arthritis Foundation’s original Jingle Bell Run is a fun way to get decked out and be festive while racing to raise funds and awareness to cure America’s No. 1 cause of disability. Put on your favorite holiday costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. ’Tis the season to live it up and be jolly for a reason! Bring a team of friends, family and co-workers to run or walk, spread smiles and good cheer. 100 percent of registration fees and fundraising efforts go to the Arthritis Foundation.
YMCA Santa Run
Where: Waxahachie, Texas
When: Dec. 15
This 5K and 1-mile Fun Run is a tradition the whole family can enjoy. Every runner will receive a 5 piece Santa Suit to wear during either of the two runs. Those running for time will be able to compete in categories divided by gender and age. Over 16 categories of runners will be awarded. Not feeling very festive? This year you can sign up to run as a GRINCH! Grinches will run the course backwards, and will receive a Grinch mask along with their Santa suit. Grinches are also welcome to “Grinch-up” their Santa suits. There is limited availability to run as a Grinch, so be sure to sign up quickly as Grinch slots will fill up quickly.
Santa Dash 5K
Where: Michigan City, Indiana
When: Dec. 16
The course could contain mud, ice or snow. Who knows? All runners will receive a Santa hat.
Race is held at Creek Ridge County Park; runners will complete two laps around the park to achieve the 5K distance.
Where: Fairfax, Virginia
When: Dec. 16
The Frosty 5K benefits the Robinson Secondary School Track & Field Team. All pre-registered runners will receive a long-sleeve Frosty 5K shirt. Awards will be given to overall winners as well as age group winners. Enjoy refreshments and cookies after the race.
Selfless Elf 5K
Where: Akron, Ohio
When: Dec. 22
The sixth annual Selfless Elf 5K is an exciting way to embrace the season and help hunger-relief programs in eight Northeast Ohio counties. Dress in your favorite festive holiday-themed costumes or running gear and run or walk the 3.1-mile course, beginning and ending at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
Reindeer Run Half Marathon
Where: Long Beach, California
When: Dec. 23
This is a fun run that is clock-timed instead of chip-timed. It’s a small, informal event capped at 100 participants. All participants receive a finishers medal as well as a goodie bag without the bag. There are no special awards or T-shirts; this is not a large, festival-like race. It’s a low-key race that emphasizes the personal satisfaction of racing.
Christmas Carol Classic & Tiny Tim Fun Run
Where: Denver, Colorado
The Christmas Carol Classic 1M/5K/10K & Tiny Tim Fun Run is the holiday celebration event of the season! Come out and earn your finisher and awards medals, tech t-shirts, hot chocolate, and more. Listen to the Original Dickens Carolers grace the plaza at City Park in full Dickensian costume, blending phenomenal voices that ring with authenticity the true spirit of the season. The event benefits the Denver Children’s Home, which has been restoring hope and health to traumatized children and families for more than 130 years.
Holiday Hustle Fun Run & Walk
Where: Kailua, Hawaii
When: Dec. 23
At the 5th annual Holiday Hustle Fun Run & Walk at Kailua Beach Park, all participants will receive a festive t-shirt, along with a holiday headband or hat, and other surprises. Get in the holiday spirit and decorate yourself; you might win a prize for the most festive outfit. Register your keiki and they will enjoy the Keiki Craft Zone along with a Keiki shirt! No watches or GPS devices allowed. There are lots of prize giveaways for those who guess the closest to their finishing time.
CRC Arlington Christmas Eve Classic 5K
Where: Arlington, Texas
When: Dec. 24
At this 5K and 1-mile run/walk, you’ll see old friends and make new ones. Runners and race walkers from all over the community are welcome to come out and participate.
Jingle Jingle 5K & Health Walk
Where: Hilton Head Island, SC
When: Dec. 24
The Hilton Head Hospital Jingle Jingle 5K features a colorful seasonal theme and provides participants a chance to burn off those extra holiday calories. The Jingle Jingle Run features all standard male and female running divisions. Holiday prizes are presented to the top three overall male and female finishers, and the top three in each age category will receive unique holiday awards. There’s also a free Kids’ Fun Run for children under 6 years old. The first 500 participants in the 5K will receive a long-sleeved Jingle Jingle t-shirt, jingle bells, and a candy cane. A festive award ceremony features a visit from Santa, refreshments, music, hot cocoa, cider and door prizes.
Didn’t get enough running in this holiday season? As the new year approaches, we’ll keep you posted on upcoming Resolution Runs.