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How to Plan a Running Themed Party

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Don't be afraid to celebrate your achievements with a running-themed party! How to Plan a Running Themed Party www.runnerclick.com

Whether you are a kid celebrating the beginning or end of cross country or track season, or an adult throwing yourself a killer birthday bash, a running themed party is an excellent way to celebrate you, your friends, and the sport you love. With a little planning and creativity, there are tons of options for partying it up after you have completed that first marathon, bucket list race, or running milestone. And running is a theme that carries over through the ages, which makes it a handy party theme to have in your back pocket when you need last minute soiree ideas!

Pick a Theme Within the Theme

Does that sound like overkill? Well never fear! Picking a theme within your running theme is part of all the fun! And fortunately, there are tons of options. Focus on what it is exactly you are celebrating. Did you meet your goal race time or complete your dream race? How about a “Set the Pace” themed running party in which you brag about yourself a little bit! Feature your race time and/or the name of the race throughout your theme. Need ideas? How about cookies in the shape of a chip timer that has your running time on them? Or reimage your race medal onto a cake to share with your guests.

The Details!

A party is a party no matter what, as long as you have the right people around you with whom to celebrate. But your guests also remember the details. They remember the time you put into thinking of fun details, they remember your creative invites, the love you poured into homemaking the food and desserts (or the money you spent to save yourself some time and headache to cater it in!) and the decorations you set out to set the mood.

Photo: slgckgc | Flickr | Creative Commons


For your invitations, how about a faux race registration print out? Decorate your event space with race medals and memorabilia, and if you are celebrating outside, consider renting or purchasing a tailgating tent (similar to what you would see at racing events under which race teams and sponsors set up shop) to give your party a real post-race celebration feel. If you are hosting a party to commemorate a specific race, decorate to reimage the scenery (i.e. trees and nature to commemorate a prized trail race or scenes of the city to remember a specific victory at the Chicago, New York, and/or Boston Marathons).  


Do not be afraid to show out with your food! Offer guests the good old ‘running staples’ like a bagel bar with bananas and peanut butter for topping and chocolate milk to sip alongside your bagel snack, or a pre-race pasta party to help attendees carb load up for the fun games ahead! Don’t be afraid to incorporate foods from the area you ran in, too, if that’s what you’re celebrating. Serve up Lobstah Rolls if you are partying after your first Boston Marathon and pizza to mark off ‘finishing a race in Central Park’ off your bucket list. Whatever you serve, if you have invited your running friends, the food is sure to be a hit – but that also means you need to make sure you plan ahead and make enough to satisfy a runner’s appetite! For the adults in the group, beer is often a much-enjoyed post-race indulgence, so have a hearty supply of everything from lighter ales to hoppier brews to satisfy all the beer drinkers on your guest list. A fun and a festive cocktail are sure to be a hit too! Might we encourage mixing up a Rum Runner to get the party started?

The Events

Kids will want you to have events and games planned, so be prepared to supply them with some fun running themed activities. Obstacle races are bound to be a hit with energetic kids, so set up your backyard to have some walls and hills to climb, hurdles to jump over, and water or mud pits to wade through. Continue the theme by incorporating other ‘speed’ activities. How fast can they complete a specific task? Finish a slice of cake? Clean up their plates? (Hey! You might as well make it work in your favor!) You could also stick to an old classic, ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ but change it up to be ‘Pin the Race Bib on the Shirt’. You can also set up a photo booth with a fake ‘winners’ back drop for guests to snap an Instagram-worthy picture of themselves decked out as race winners in front of. For adults, and especially for an all girls running party like a bachelorette group of all running buddies, consider a more relaxing, spa and recovery theme. Break out the foam rollers, massage balls, oils, and cucumber slices and get to resting! If you have the resources, invest in a yoga or pilates instructor to stop by and take everyone through a stretching and relaxation session. Your guests will LOVE it!


  1. Ali Nolen, Watch: How to Plan a Running Birthday Party, RunnerClick Vlog

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