When preparing for your Seattle-bound adventure, a rain jacket and an umbrella most likely made it on your packing list. But, have you ever thought about including pair of running shoes? Seattleites will tell you there are plenty of ways to put your sneakers and body to the test with 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, marathons, obstacle courses, and trail running.
With over 100 races in Seattle, and more throughout the state, there is plenty of racing options. Choose by charity, by course, or by activity. Once you’ve picked your event, fly into Sea-Tac International Airport. Between pounding the pavement, or in some cases the forest floor, explore the city, and then journey north for an experience that includes rural landscapes and coastal towns.
To jump start your escape, we’ve rounded up a list of races in Seattle, the Skagit Valley and Anacortes. And, if you happen to be traveling with the kiddos, don’t worry, there are family-friendly races too.
Seattle Marathons and Races
Thanksgiving weekend is one the city’s oldest and largest marathons ‒ the Seattle Marathon & Half Marathon. Its humble start began in 1970 with 38 runners, and now it boasts over 15,000 participants. The race starts in downtown Seattle, and has full and half marathon options. Along the route you’ll have views of downtown Seattle and Lake Washington.
Ugly holiday sweaters, we’ve all got them. Show it off at the Ugly Sweater Run. This 5K kid-friendly race is one of the merriest of the year with a starting line that includes photo stations, fake snow, games, and holiday music. After the run, replace caolories with hot chocolate or a Kahlúa cocktail for those of age. And, there are contests for the best beard, fake or real, and ugly sweater.
Want to get your New Year resolutions off to the right start? Tie up your laces and head to the finish line at the Resolution Run 5 K & Polar Bear Dive. Set north of Seattle in Magnuson Park, this 5K run follows the park’s trails and takes a detour before the finish line for the optional bone-chilling polar bear plunge. The post-race celebration includes a kid’s dash, free chili, coffee and hot chocolate, heated changing tents, and a beer garden with propane heaters.
Want to run trails that weave through towering trees? The Interlaken Icicle Dash has 5K and 10K options with dirt trails and a climb to the top of the park and back down to Interlaken Boulevard which used to be Seattle’s buggy and bicycle highway in the 1890s.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Big Climb takes is entrants up 1,311 steps to the observation town at Columbia Center in downtown Seattle. At 788 feet, it is the second tallest building west of the Mississippi and has views of Puget Sound.
Does a cold tall one after a run, sound refreshing? The Brewery Running Series runs March through August and each 5K course starts and ends at a craft brewery. It’s all about having fun in the great outdoors and entrants can run, jog or walk. Afterward, there is live entertainment, food trucks, and, of course, beer. Each person who finishes gets a free craft brew and a collector pint glass.
If you are the fan of The Amazing Race, sign up for the Seattle Urban Trek. This course combines the thrill of adventure, treasure hunting and problem solving. Groups of three or four are given a seven-mile race route that includes fun and challenging check points that will take them to the next level of the course, and eventually the finish line where they cross together.
If your four-legged family member travels with you, enter the Furry 5K where pets are encouraged to join the fun. Afterward, share the love of all things animal at Pet-a-Palooza with agility demos, trained dog shows, “unleashed” contests, and more.
Skagit Valley and Anacortes Marathons and Races
An hour north of Seattle is the Skagit Valley. Tucked between the Cascade Mountains and the coast of Puget Sound, its fertile fields are home to April’s annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. That same month, is the family-friendly Skagit Valley Tulip Run. Racers have an option of a 2 or 5-mile course that follows the trails near Skagit Regional Airport.
If you’d like a longer race, join the Annual Skagit Flats Marathon and Half Marathon. The race is limited to 1000 participants, and the majority of the course takes runners through the scenic and rural farmlands of the valley. If it’s a clear day, you’ll have Mt. Baker cheering you on.
A short jaunt over the two bridges, that connects the valley to Fidalgo Island, takes you to the maritime community of Anacortes. Its festive holiday race, the Jingle Bell Dash, includes a pre-festival 100 yard kid’s dash, then the 5k and 10k race ensues. Entrants are encouraged to wear jingle bells, festive attire, and warm weather clothing. Coffee, hot chocolate, and home baked cookies are the treats after the race.
The family-friendly Do the Bloom ‒ Color Run is just as the name says‒colorful. As participants pass stations along the 5K race they are dusted with powdered colors. By the end, they look like an artist’s palette in every color imaginable.
The March Point Run starts and ends at the Andeavor Refinery. Racing options include a half marathon, 5K, 10K and a half mile kids run. Along the course you’ll have water, mountain and island views. Afterward, racers enjoy a free lunch.
During the popular annual Anacortes Arts Festival is the Art Dash Run. Set along the Anacortes waterfront participants can choose to run a 5K, 10K or a half-marathon. The race starts at City Hall and ends at the Port Dock where runners fuel up with food, drink and music at the Arts at the Port fine art show.
The Tones for Crohn’s Family Fun 5K is a celebration for the entire family. Kids can hula hoop, get their face painted, have their photo taken and test their speed in a kids run. Vendors sell food, including ice cream. After the race is a celebration with live music, a beer garden, and dancing.
If you are a running enthusiast who likes to travel or a traveler who wants the thrill of a heart-pumping West Coast trail, it’s time to say “Game on!”
To see full list of Washington State races by visiting Running in the USA.
11/26/17 – Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon, choice of charity partners.
12/2/17 – Ugly Sweater Run, proceeds benefit One Warm Coat.
12/16/17 –Jingle Bell Dash, proceeds benefit AAUW STEM programs for girls.
1/1/2018 – Resolution Run 5K, proceeds helps Club Northwest support amateur athletes.
2/3/18 – Interlake Icicle Dash, proceeds benefit Northwest Trail Runs.
3/25/18 – Big Climb, proceeds benefit Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
3/18 – 8/18, Brewery Running Series, proceeds benefit local non-profits.
4/14/18 – Do the Bloom – Color Run, proceeds benefit cultural education.
5/5/18 – Urban X, Seattle’s Great Scavenger Race
4/7/18 – Skagit Valley Tulip Run, benefits Skagit Runners Club.
6/10/18 – Furry 5K, proceeds benefit the Seattle Animal Shelter Help the Animals Fund.
6/23/18 – March Point Run, proceeds go to the United Way of Skagit County.
8/4/18 – Art Dash Run, proceeds benefit public art projects.
8/18, TBA – Tones for Crohn’s, August, TBA, proceeds benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation
9/9/18 – Skagit Flats Marathon & Half Marathon, benefits Skagit Runners Club.