Running Events in California
California has a wide range of running events on offer for runners of all standards and experience. There are lots of shorter distances over 5k or 10k which are great for getting the community involved and for providing a regular running routine. Fun runs are always entertaining events, and often have a charity element, so you can do some fundraising whilst also getting dressed in fancy dress or covered in mud, colors, and bubbles. If you are looking for a bigger challenge, the Golden State puts on a number of half-marathons and marathons. These often take place in the cities, and there are a variety of popular options in LA and San Francisco. Alternatively, California's stunning coastlines, rugged terrains outside of the cities, and historic National Parks provide amazing opportunities for trail running events. The most famous of these is the Badwater Ultramarathon, which goes 135 miles through Death Valley.
Sat, 14th Aug
Oakland, Alameda County
half marathon, 5k and more4.5
(1 reviews)$9 – $98
Sun, 24th Apr 2022
Monterey County, Monterey County
marathonPrice TBCGreat atmosphere
Sun, 24th Oct
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County
5k, olympic, sprint4
(1 reviews)Price TBC
Sun, 7th Nov
Mill Valley, Marin CountyPrice TBC
Sat, 26th Feb 2022
Las Vegas, Clark County
half marathon, 10k, 5k, marathonPrice TBC
Sun, 10th Jul 2022
Trabuco Canyon, Orange County
10k, 5kPrice TBC
Wed, 10th May 2023
San Diego, San Diego County
5k$28 – $45
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Running in California
Californians are world famous for their active lifestyle. The Golden State draws people in from all over the world for its sporting events - and running is no exception. With near perfect weather and gorgeous surroundings it's no wonder that some of the world's biggest and most famous running events are hosted here. Expect beautiful scenery, amazing people and big crowds on this international scene. But, if you'd prefer to stay off the beaten path, California's culture has created the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of smaller events too.
What you need to know about running
Anyone can start running, all you need are a pair of running shoes and the proper motivation to get going. Cali has a super varied running scene. So whether it's something on the shorter side like a 5k or 10k, or maybe you'd prefer a more lengthy challenge, check out half marathons, marathons, or ultramarathons in California, you'll be able to find something that suits. These races can vary from the competitive to the downright ridiculous and everywhere in between - you'll even find races that greet you with a glass of wine at the finish line.
New to running? The 5k or 10k events can be a great challenge to help you find your running feet. You'll discover that these events often like to mix in a bit of fun too. The LA Color Run is all about covering everyone around you in giant clouds of colour. Then there's the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot which will pitch your best costume up against 25,000 other competitors. Finishing times can vary widely for these events, the 5k can take anything from 20 minutes to an hour, whereas the 10k can take anything from an hour upwards. Our advice if you're on the fence, get yourself to a big event where the cheering crowd will spur you on to the finish line.
If you're looking to stretch your legs further, check out our pages for the half marathon and marathon. If you're not too worried about smashing your PR, then you might enjoy the lighter side of these events at the Disney World Marathon Weekender. But, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a speed demon, then the California International Marathon has a reputation for being fast - and it's a Boston Qualifier event.
For those endurance addicts out there, Cali is also famous for it's ultramarathon events. These are any footrace measuring over 26.2 miles in length, and can get seriously long. For example the Badwater Ultramarathon lasts for 135 miles through Death Valley. The comparatively 'tame' Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race is another famous and stunning example. You'll want to take your time in these events, enjoy the scenery and strap in for the long haul. We've found that both the competitors and crowds at Ultras are some of the friendliest around.
Training for a running event
Training is hard, but we think it's essential. Try to link up with some friends and start a training plan together ahead of a big race - this really helps with motivation and can bring a real edge to your training. Have a look at some of our suggested training plans to get you up to race pace: 5k Training Plan; 10k Training Plan; Half Marathon Training Plan; Marathon Training Plan; Ultramarathon Training Plan.