From now through December, there are opportunities at every turn to dress up, give thanks, reflect on the year and — let’s be honest — gluttonously partake in delicious food and beverage. To balance out these caloric festivities, many families have instilled another tradition: a race!
Fun runs pop up across the South this time of year, ranging in length from kids’ dashes to 5Ks to marathons. No matter your pace or the intricacy of your outfit, races are a great way to get in the spirit and give back to the community as 2019’s finish line approaches. We scoured the South for some heart-pounding options — with start times, registration costs and links to sign up.
2019 Haunted Trails of Waverly Hills | Louisville, KY
Date and time: October 26, 2019, at 6:30 p.m.
Start location: Waverly Park
Distance: 10K, kids’ half-mile
Cost: 10K is $45, kids’ half-mile is $15
Registration closes October 23, 2019. Register HERE.
Nothing motivates us to high speeds on foot quite like running through a haunted trail. At Haunted Trails of Waverly Hills, you’ll run through one of Louisvillians’ favorite jogging spots, but this time, by flashlight, next to one of the most haunted places in the world. This 10K will certainly get any brave soul into the Halloween spirit, and there is also a kids’ run for the little ghouls and goblins.
RELATED: The Most Haunted Places in Kentucky
Louisville Beer Run 2019 | Louisville, KY
Date and time: November 9, 2019, at 11 a.m.
Start location: Iroquois Park
If you’re willing to run (or walk) for free beer, this race is for you. At every .75-mile increment, the Louisville Beer Run offers a new beer for runners to try. Registration includes beer on the course, a 16 oz. beer at the finish, a Louisville Beer Run t-shirt and a beer glass. But the party just begins at the finish line — the post-race festival with food, live music and more is free and open to the public!
30A 10K | Rosemary Beach, FL
Date and time: November 28, 2019 — 10K at 7:30 a.m.; 1 mile at 7:35 a.m.; 5K at 9:30 a.m.
Start location: Downtown Rosemary Beach
Distance: 10K, 5K, 1 mile
Cost: Double entry (both 5K + 10K) is $130; 10K is $75; 5K is $65; 1 mile is $35
Registration is expected to fill before race day. Register HERE.
Start Thanksgiving Day with a scenic 10K race through beautiful Rosemary Beach! With three different race distances, all are welcome — from seasoned runners to families who prefer to run/walk and enjoy their Thanksgiving morning together. Now in its eighth year, the 30A 10K hopes to raise $500,000 for local charities with their biggest event yet. Enjoy food, shopping, live music, games and more at packet pickup on the day before the event, then run or cheer on race day.
RELATED: 5 Reasons to Visit 30A in the Winter
Turkey Trot | Nashville, TN
Date and time: November 28, 2019, at 8:15 a.m.
Start location: Wave Country Wave Pool
Distance: 10 miles, 8K, 5K for kids
Cost: 10-mile is $49.99; 8K is 36.99; kids’ 5K is $9.99
Nashvillians show up in droves to gobble their way to a turkey feast at the annual Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot. You can feel extra motivated knowing that this race benefits The ALS Association of Tennessee. We also heard that you get Nashville’s famous locally made Fox’s Donut Den donuts at the finish line. We’re on our way!
Hungry Turkey 5K | Memphis, TN
Date and time: November 28, 2019, at 8:45 a.m.
Start location: Shelby Farms Park
Distance: 5K, kids’ dash
Cost: 5K is $36.99; Kids dash is $9.99
Memphians, dress up in your best Thanksgiving-related costumes and hit the pavement for the annual Hungry Turkey 5K, benefitting Mid-South Food Bank. Gibson’s Donuts wait for you at the finish line, and you deserve it!
2019 Invesco QQQ Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K | Atlanta, GA
Date and time: November 28, 2019, at 7 a.m.
Start location: Georgia State Stadium
Distance: Half marathon, 5K, mile, dash
Cost: Half marathon is $85; 5K is $40; mile is FREE for under 14, $10 for 15+
Register HERE. (Prices increase November 8.)
If you’re in the Atlanta area, the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon is a calorie-blasting challenge. Not to worry, though! This Atlanta tradition also includes a 5K, one-miler and a 50-meter dash for the kiddos. Atlanta originally hosted a Thanksgiving Day full marathon from 1981 to 2009, but now, runners can enjoy a fabulous 13.1-mile course that winds past city landmarks like Centennial Olympic Park and Piedmont Park.
RELATED: How To Pick The Perfect Running Shoe
Santa Claus 10K Classic | Pine Moutain, GA
Date and time: December 1, 2019, at 5:15 p.m.
Start location: Callaway Resort & Gardens
The Santa Claus 10K Classic is a race unlike any we’ve seen. Runners and walkers “chase” Santa Claus through 8 million twinkling Christmas lights! This easy course meanders through Callaway Resort’s “Fantasy in Lights” display, beginning and ending at Robin Lake Beach to enjoy the Christmas Village festivities. Sign us up!
We Believe Santa 5K Trail Run & Dog Jog | Charlotte, NC
Date and time: December 14, 2019 — Trail Race at 11 a.m.; Dog Jog at 12:30 p.m.
Start location: U.S. National Whitewater Center
Cost: $30 before December 12
The U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) is one of the South’s best outdoor playgrounds, and their annual Santa 5K Trail Race is the perfect place for some pre-holiday fun. Don your best Saint Nick outfit and hit the beautiful USNWC trail system along the whitewater and under a canopy of trees. If you don’t win the race, you might still win a prize for best Santa Claus look-a-like. Four-legged friends are also welcome for the special Dog Jog. Dog costumes are also strongly suggested … and we want to see pictures!
Santa’s Big Day 2019 | Birmingham, AL
Date and time: Complete your race anytime in December 2019
Start location: You choose!
Distance: Mile, 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon
Cost: $20 includes your medal, bib and shipping
Okay, this race is a little different, but we are very into this idea! A jogging group in Birmingham, AL has created Santa’s Big Day, a virtual race that you complete on your own time. You can run, jog, or walk on the road, on a trail, on a treadmill, at the gym, on a track or even at another race. You choose your distance, time yourself, and they ship your medal directly to you! Santa’s Big Day donates 15% of registration costs to Operation Warm, an incredible organization that provides warmth, confidence and hope to underserved children through the gift of brand new, high-quality winter coats.
We hope we’ve ignited some active inspiration for your family’s upcoming holiday season. For a full list of races happening near you, active.com is a great resource.
For the best of the South — straight to your inbox! — subscribe to our newsletter HERE!