Let’s face it: not everyone finds racing fun. It can be painful, stressful, boring… even dedicated runners may wonder why they should pay for a race when they can run on their own.
These races would scoff at that question.
After all, they’re not just runs. They’re party runs. Concerts. Community celebrations. Joyous get-togethers. They’re actually, well, fun! For those of you who want the hype of the crowd, the beat of the music, outrageous costumes or a little booze to get you feelin’ it all the way to the finish, look no further. Here are our favorite runs to get you in the racing (and partying) spirit!
June 4, 2017 | Woodstock, VT
The Covered Bridges Half Marathon is known as the “best 13.1 miles in New England” and it’s easy to see why as you travel along the point-to-point course through tree-lined trails and charming Vermont towns. With participation capped at 2,300, it may not be the biggest post-race party you’ve been to, but that’s exactly why we like it! The race is a 26-year-old tradition and the small town vibe lets you feel like you’re truly part of the community. Of course, they don’t skimp on the fun, either: enthusiastic spectators, on-course entertainment, ice cream and free beer keep the party going from start to finish.
Oct. 13-14, 2017 | Clermont, KY
With a name like The Bourbon Chase, you know it’s going to be good! This overnight relay race takes teams of 12 through 200 miles of historic bluegrass country. You’ll start at the Jim Beam distillery, travel through the Bourbon Capital of the World, pass the distilleries of Heaven Hill, Maker’s Mark, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Woodford Reserve before ending in downtown Lexington near the Alltech Brewery & Distillery. The Bourbon Chase is a lot of work, but it’s worth it for a runner’s high that’s like no other! No matter how tired your team is at the end, live music, local food, and complimentary bourbon samples will keep you going.
Nov. 5, 2017 | Orlando, FL
It’s hard to have a bad time when you’re in the most magical place on Earth! With the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, you’ll start your day with an early morning run through Disney World, saying hi to your favorite characters along the way. Then, after spending the day on rides or recovering at the resort, enjoy an exclusive after-hours post-race party at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival! In addition to live entertainment, you’ll be able to sip wine while you visit more than 30 Global Marketplaces offering mouthwatering dishes from around the world – a true foodie athlete’s paradise.
March 19, 2017 | Virginia Beach, VA
The Shamrock Marathon and Half Marathon in Virginia Beach is the ideal St. Patrick’s Day party! The races are on Sunday, but go early for the live entertainment, sports and fitness expo, Shamrock 8K and Leprechaun Dash. On race day, you’ll join more than 30,000 green-clad runners on an oceanfront course lined with spectators and entertainers. After crossing the finish line on the famous Virginia Beach boardwalk, head to the beach and keep the fun going with a one-of-a-kind celebration! With four free Yuengling beers, a copious amount of Murphy’s Irish Stew, live music and thousands of people, you’ll never be bored (or hungry) at this shamrockin’ post-race party!
April 29, 2017 | Nashville, TN
For the past 18 years, the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon has been perfecting the race-long block party! With cheer squads and local bands lining the course, you’ll run (or dance!) your way past the Country Music Hall of Fame and through the famous Honky Tonk Highway, straight to the finish at Nissan Stadium. And the party doesn’t stop there! After receiving your free beer and finisher’s medal, get your groove on at the festival and post-race concert.
Nov. 19, 2017 | Shiner, TX
Shiner, a tiny Texas town with a population around 2,000, is known for two things: Shiner Beer and the Shiner Beer Run. Featuring both a half marathon and a 5K course, the Shiner Beer Run gives you a little taste of Texas. Choose the 5K for a tour of the 130-year-old city, or run the half marathon for a scenic route through the Texas countryside. Either way, you’ll end up at Spoetzl Brewery, home of Shiner Beer and the oldest independent brewery in Texas! There you can celebrate with proud locals, take a brewery tour, toast with Shiner Beer, listen to live music and maybe win a raffle or two.
Jan. 7, 2018 | Los Angeles, CA
Forget about midnight – save your New Year’s celebration for the Los Angeles New Year’s Race! The fun begins in the afternoon with a beer garden, live music, art exhibits and food trucks. After getting pumped up with some pre-race fuel, stretch your legs and get ready for the 5K, the 10K, or both! The races start in the evening, which means you get to run under the glittering lights of L.A. After picking up your sweet medal and race shirt (or a hoodie, if you ran both races), head back to party headquarters and celebrate your first race of the New Year!
Aug. 12, 2017 | New Orleans, LA
This race is sponsored by a self-proclaimed “drinking club with a running problem”. When you hear that, you know you’re in for an experience. The Red Dress Run in New Orleans is a party you definitely don’t want to miss! Always held on the second Saturday in August, the three-to-four mile run through the French Quarter starts at noon, but the party starts as early as 9 AM. The party keeps going long after you’ve crossed the finish line with unlimited beer, live entertainment, and soul food. All you need is a red dress and a sense of humor to join this 21-and-up event.
May 21, 2017 | San Francisco, CA
This iconic race is known for being 12km of outrageous fun that you won’t find anywhere else! As you run (or walk) from the San Francisco Bay to Ocean Beach, you’ll see why this century-old race attracts more than 50,000 participants each year. People of all ages don their most creative costumes; you’ll see “swimming salmon” who run the race backward; “centipedes” of 13+ runners linked together; naked people; the race’s pink gorilla mascot Ape Hashbury; and many more unique characters. If that’s not enough, there’s on-course entertainment all the way to the beachside post-race party!
July 9, 2017 | Utica, NY
No matter how you participate in Boilermaker Weekend, you’re sure to have a blast! The signature 15K is known as one of country’s best for its superb organization, challenging course, and out-of-this-world crowd support! Numerous “races inside the race” like the Corporate Cup and Police and Firefighter Competition add an extra splash of fun. Meanwhile, the 5K, 3 Mile Walk, and Kids’ Run make Boilermaker Weekend a great time for people of all ages and abilities. Everyone is invited to join the top-notch finish festival featuring live music, Saranac beer, and free food for competitors. You don’t want to miss Utica’s ultimate community get-together!
What’s your favorite race that doubles as a party? Let us know and connect with like-minded runners on Athlinks.com, the social network for endurance athletes… who also like to party!