Whether you are planning to conquer your first 5K, tackle your inaugural 10K, or even try your first half or full marathon, running events are a lot of fun.
Organized fun runs and races can help you keep your motivation up during training, help you meet other runners in your community, and some running events are a great way to support worthy causes and charities!
No matter what your goal is or how experienced you are, running races and events can feel intimidating, especially if you consider yourself a rookie runner. Here are four events that are perfect for beginner runners.
Best Damn Race Series
The goal of the Best Damn Race series is to provide the experience of a big race at the price of a local race. Whether you are a first-timer, elite runner, walker, or pushing a baby jogger, this race is for you!
Registration is on a first-come-first-serve basis, and the 5K prices start at just $15 for the first 200 registrants. Personally, I race for the swag, and this series does not disappoint! Every racer receives a race shirt, finisher medal, swag bag, and free food and beer at the after-party!
The Best Damn Race philosophy is, “Run, Eat, Drink, Party.” Whether it’s your first 5K or you are a veteran marathoner, everyone is welcome. Whether you run solo or want to conquer the course with friends, you’ll start the race in well-organized corrals that eliminate the stress of mass starts.
The Best Damn Race series hosts events in New Orleans, Orlando, Safety Harbor FL, and Savannah GA. They also have a “Leftover 5K” where they hand out leftover race shirts and finisher medals from previous races.
If half marathons are your jam, race as many Best Damn Half Marathons in one year as you can and collect extra bling! After your second half marathon, you receive a “Best Damn Runner Double Medal” to commemorate your second half of the season. Collect your “Super Damn Runner” medal after your third race. If you’re especially ambitious, aim to collect the “Ultra Damn Runner” medal after completing the fourth half marathon of the series.
This race series emphasizes having fun while challenging yourself. You will enjoy friendly courses lined with fans and spectators. Your cheer squad will love the fun atmosphere at the finish line parties.
Rock ‘N’ Roll Las Vegas
Speaking of a good party, if you want a fun, flat racecourse, look no further than the Rock ‘N’ Roll Las Vegas race weekend. Whether you wish to run a 5k down the Vegas strip or try your hand at a marathon, there’s something for everyone! Your kids can even get in on the action with the “Kid’s Rock Mini Run.”
Everything about this race lives up to the Vegas vibe, with live music, entertainment, oversized finisher medals, costumes, bright lights, and an epic finish line party. Rock ‘N’ Roll races cater to rookie runners with very generous cut off times that allow runners, joggers, and even walkers to enjoy themselves without worrying they won’t finish in time.
Celebrate your accomplishments with your friends at the post-race concert that often features big-name artists. Don’t forget to take advantage of the exclusive “Runner Perks” at some of the top Vegas spas, restaurants, and attractions.
While the Las Vegas race weekend is one of their headline events, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon series hosts stellar events all over the world that welcome runners of all levels, from elite professionals to first-timers.
Yuengling Shamrock Race Weekend
Are you looking for a spring race? If you live anywhere close to Virginia and you’re looking for a flat, fast, easy run course with lots of St. Paddy’s Day spirit, look no further than the Shamrock Race Weekend.
There’s something for everyone at this St. Patrick’s themed race weekend. Run along the beautiful Virginia Beach oceanfront and enjoy crowd support and live entertainment around the whole course.
Whether you are looking for a marathon, half marathon, relay event, 8K, or 1-mile fun run, the Shamrock weekend offers it all. And don’t forget to enter your tiny tykes into the adorable Leprechaun Dash!
The Shamrock race swag is close to “pot of gold” status, too. Every racer receives a technical race shirt, finisher medal, and special finish line gift. Each participant has access to free training plans to make sure you reach your goals!
Don’t forget to check out the 2-day sports and fitness expo where you can get freebies, interact with professional runners, and attend information sessions and speakers.
After the race, recover and bask in the glory of your accomplishments at the finish line celebration on the beach, complete with Yuengling beer (for those of legal age), Irish stew, live music, and much more.
If St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t fit your schedule, check out the rest of their race series that goes all year, including Wicked 10K that includes a costume contest during the race! Or kick your holiday season off with the jolly Surf-N-Santa 5 Miler that takes runners on a fun, eggnog-fueled tour of the Christmas lights around Virginia Beach.
Hot Chocolate 5K / 15K
Calling all the chocolate lovers! This sweet Hot Chocolate 5K and 15K race series is a fun, family-friendly affair. Every race also supports a worthy cause, like the local Ronald McDonald House or the Make A Wish Foundation. What could be better than accomplishing your running goals while supporting great causes!
This race series has some of the best swag, in my opinion. All the 15K and 5K finishers receive a custom “Hot Chocolate” medal that looks just like a chocolate bar. Forget the t-shirts. All Hot Chocolate runners get a sweet, full-zip, fleece-lined hooded jacket! You’ll stay cozy warm all winter and subtly brag about your running accomplishments.
Let’s talk about the most critical part of the swag: the chocolate. “Marshmallow Sweet Stations” line the course so you can satisfy your chocolate craving mile after mile. Upon crossing the finish line, volunteers will put your hard-earned finisher medal around your neck and hand you a piping hot cup of hot chocolate for you to enjoy as you head to the finish line party. Don’t forget to take a selfie with the iconic Hot Chocolate race series mascots, Marshe and Mallow.
The only thing this race doesn’t have is a variety of distances. Each event venue offers a 5K or 15K distance, but this series is very beginner-friendly and welcoming to runners of all levels.
No matter what your fitness level or running goals, don’t be afraid to enter a running event and have fun. Even the most intimidating elite runners had to start somewhere. I’ve found that the vast majority of runners are very excited to welcome new runners and make sure you have a fun, successful first race.
At the end of the day, it’s not about how fast or far you run, it’s about accomplishing your personal goals, staying healthy, and having fun.
What race was your first running event, and what tips do you have for other first-timers? Share in the comments.