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Races the Whole Family Will Love

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Sometimes kids can be ambivalent about their parent’s hobbies, like running.  Other times they can seem, or be, openly annoyed by it.  A great way to incorporate the kids into your running is to have them involved, even if they aren’t running with you.  And one way is to pick a race where they won’t mind being spectators or hanging out post-race because they will enjoy the destination and its activities.

Here are some great races that will have something for everyone in the family!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Where: Orlando, FL
When: February 21- 23, 2019

As a parent you’re probably going  to make the trek at some point. All children beg to go to Disney World so why not have a little fun on the front end for you? Then sign up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend! Even if you only have little princes, they will be enchanted with all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the race. Held in February, you are not at risk of running into a bunch of Spring Break visitors and depending on where you live, you could be escaping to delightful weather.

Not only does this race support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, there are 3 race options to run ( 5k, 10k or half marathon) especially if some of the family wants to run but isn’t interested in a long distance.  A fun option that the race organizers have included is the option for the Disney Fairytale Challenge which is a total of 19.3 miles that consists running the 10k and half marathon and earning extra hardware for a total of three medals. No matter what you choose to run, it’s a good guess that the kiddos are not going to complain spectating a race full of Disney magic.

Hershey Half Marathon

Where: Hershey, PA
When: October 21, 2018

Held in Hershey, PA and often lovingly called the “Sweetest Place on Earth” participants get to run through all of Hershey’s chocolate themed town-like attractions including Chocolate Avenue with its lights shaped as Kisses, as well as Hersheypark, Hershey Mansion and Chocolate World. During the race, volunteers pass out mini Hershey candy bars.  There are characters dressed as Kisses, Reese’s, Milk Duds, Kit Kats and other Hershey characters during and after the race.  And of course, you can expect a lot of chocolate post-race.  Runners also receive two passes to the Halloween-themed “Hersheypark in the Dark” for that evening which begins right after the Fun Run for kids under 13. And of course, the rest of the weekend can be spent in Hershey heaven enjoying any of the activities the town has to offer.

Lincoln Park Run for the Zoo

Where: Chicago, IL
When: June 3, 2018

Held downtown at the phenomenal Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, the Lincoln Park Run for the Zoo has 3 race distances: a 10k, a 5k and Safari Stampede for kids ages 3-6. The courses features views of the zoo animals including birds, gazelles and rhinos. You can also create a fundraising page and have the kids help raise money for the animals.

Whether you are coming in from the suburbs or making a full-on travel weekend out of the race, there are a ton of options to occupy the family post-race, although you can always stay and hang around the zoo. Hankering for a good lunch? Chicago is famous for its deep dish pizza and it’s pretty hard to find anyone, even the pickiest of kids that are opposed to pizza. Want something to do after ingesting all those calories? Visit the Shedd Aquarium on the Lake Shore. Another great option on the lakefront museum campus is the Field Museum of Natural History.  The race begins at an early 8am which means you will have plenty of time to spend the rest of the day at your choice of family friendly post-race activity.

The Chocolate Race

Where: St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada
When: May 13, 2018

Another popular destination among families is Niagara Falls and it just so happens that The Chocolate Race is held near there in St. Catharines, Ontario each year. With a vast number of race options, runners can choose from the Chocolate Teaser 2.5k, Chocolate Haze 5k, Chocolate De-lite 10K and the Canadian Kids Chocolate Race 1k and 2.5k.  Runners will be treated on-course to chocolate covered strawberries and marshmallows and post-race treats will be available for runners in Chocolate Alley.  For those over the age of 19 (this is Canada, folks)  you can also choose to up your chocolate buzz with a chocolate martini.

Should any of your family want to volunteer the race offers a discount to participants who have family members volunteer. The race has a laid back attitude and is far from the traditional race feel you’d normally expect, so prepare for plenty of fun! After all the chocolate you can handle, take the rest of your time and visit the falls or saunter back over to the winery where you picked up your race packet.

It’s always fun to incorporate the family when possible and, hopefully, help you pass a little of the running gene along as well. The best thing you can do for your family is show them how much fun running can be.  Who knows, you might even inadvertently start a fun tradition!