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.

southern races

Whether you’re walking, running or cheering, races from Halloween to Christmas are a fun and healthy way to get outside and earn some guilt-free indulging. Image: 30A 10K

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.

southern races - Waverly Sanatorium

Forget running — we’re in all-out SPRINT mode as we pass the Waverly HiIlls Sanatorium, purported to be the most haunted place in Louisville. Image: Public domain

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
Distance: 5K
Cost: $37.50
Register HERE.

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!

southern races- Louisville Beer Run

Fall foliage makes the Louisville Beer Run that much more enjoyable. Image: Facebook

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.

southern races- 30A 10K

Picturesque Rosemary Beach is the perfect backdrop for a Thanksgiving race. Image: Facebook

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
Register HERE.

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!

southern races- Nashville Turkey Trot

Our face when the race is over and they’re handing out donuts | Image: Facebook

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
Register HERE.

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!

southern races

Save room for turkey — and Gibson’s Donuts! Image: tennesseeruns.com

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.

southern races

Nothing like beginning a marathon under the Olympic rings to get you motivated right out of the gate. Image: AtlantaTrackClub.org

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
Distance: 10K
Cost: $35
Register HERE.

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!

southern races

No complaints about running through this enchanting race venue. Image: Callaway Resort

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
Distance: 5K
Cost: $30 before December 12
Register HERE.

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!

southern races

This adorable elf certainly earned a post-race beer. Image: Facebook

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
Register HERE.

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.

southern races

Earn this cool medal after you complete your race! Image: Eventbrite.com

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.

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