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5k Runs in California

5k (or 3.1mile) running events are hugely popular and easily accessible, especially with the wide variety that California has on offer. Fun runs are a great way of getting kids, friends, family, or even the dog involved with running. These races often require fancy dress or getting covered in bubbles, colors, or mud! They also sometimes have a charitable focus, so they are great opportunities for fundraising and community-building whilst keeping fit. Many larger running festivals often offer a 5k distance event, so that runners of all abilities can get involved. For example, at the Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon, which attracts over 20,000 participants each year, there is a 5k option on the same day. However, our personal favorite 5k event in California is the Carlsbad 5000, which is a super fast, record-breaking course. It has a big atmosphere, and always treats racers to a well-earned craft beer at the finish line.

26 events found
2024 Surf City Marathon presented by 361°

Saturday, 3 Feb 2024

2024 Surf City Marathon presented by 361°


Huntington Beach, California


marathon, half marathon, 5k


(1 reviews)

FilledTicketPrice TBC
Great atmosphereFlat road
Oaktown Half Marathon, 5k & Kid's Race 2023

Saturday, 9 Sept 2023

Oaktown Half Marathon, 5k & Kid's Race 2023


Oakland, California


half marathon, 5k

FilledTicketPrice TBC
Flat road
Showing 25 - 48 of 48 events

About 5k events in the United States

5ks are the most accessible of the regular race distances and are very popular as a result. You'll find a mixed bag of competitors, from newbies to running veterans all competing in the same events. There are loads of 5k events throughout Cali, large and small, at all times of the year so it's never a bad time to book onto your first (or fifteenth) event.

What are the best 5k events?

People run these events for all sorts of reasons, from fitness goals to charity fundraising, but one constant is the amount of friendly faces and fancy dress you'll see - these are the events to have fun at. If you love the big atmosphere, the largest running festivals often host a series of shorter races. The California International Marathon is a great example as they host a popular 5k race on the same day as the marathon.

What is the average time to run a 5k?

Finishing times will vary depending on fitness levels, motivation and training. The real speedsters can run 5k in under 14 minutes. but, for the rest of us, it can take anything from 30 minutes to an hour. Half an hour is considered a very good time, especially for someone new to running. You'd have to run at a pace of 9.5 minutes per mile for the whole race to achieve this.

After you've completed a few 5k events, you might even feel like trying your hand at 10k, check out our race calendar to see if there's something for you.

How long should I train for a 5k?

You might be tempted to enter a 5k without training. If you want to do anything other than walk it, we would advise that you take on our 6 weeks to 5k training plan. Training will not only allow you to unlock your running potential and set a strong PR but it will also minimise the risk of injury. It's definitely worth building up to an event.