While we might prefer to collectively chant “bring on the turkey, bring on the fat pants” this time of year, in the back of our heads there exists a tiny voice telling us we might want to consider a workout. Although most of the major marathons take off through the spring months, fall welcomes its own slew of mini-runs and themed races.
Whether you’re looking for a spirited 5K with a beer garden at the finish, or you're serious about training for a longer course, fall is the perfect season for the best cardio exercise of all, running. The list of upcoming half-marathons, triathlons and charity 5Ks goes on all year, but we’re suggesting a few of our favorites to lace up your shoes and hit the ground running right now.
Discover the top fall races in San Diego
Silver Strand Half Marathon – November 11
Stretching over Coronado and Imperial Beach, the Silver Strand Half Marathon is one of the most popular halfs in San Diego this time of year. The 13.1-mile race occurs on November 11 and also includes a 5K option. The 13th annual run takes racers from Coronado to Imperial Beach, along the Strand with stunning views of the big blue. The course is open to runners, walkers, skaters, hand cycles and wheelchairs, and features varied start times for each. Bonuses to participating in the Silver Stand include a virtual goodie bag, continental breakfast, beer garden, live entertainment, race photos and a finisher medal for half-marathon participants. For more information, visit kozevents.com.
Athleta Iron Girl 10K/5K – November 11
The 6th annual Athleta Iron Girl 10K and 5K celebrates a woman’s strength at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on November 11. Running on the Pacific Coast Highway, the experience provides the perfect platform for first timers as well as experienced athletes to reach their personal best. You’ll find perks on this race such as a post-race Breakfast Café, performance shirts sized for women, post-race giveaways and more. Even the medals for this race are custom made to reflect the true spirit of girl power. Hit the track starting at 7:30am for the 10K and 8am for the 5K. For more information, visit irongirl.com.
O’Side Turkey Trot – November 22
The gobble-gobble Oceanside Turkey Trot takes place on Thanksgiving morning, November 22. Runners can choose between a 5-mile walk or run, a 5K or a 1 mile kid’s race. This Oceanside tradition boasts a scenic course, encourages outrageous and festive costumes and welcomes a spirited atmosphere to “move your feet before you eat.” 8,000 runners and walkers got their holiday off to the right start last year; join one of the fastest growing traditions suitable for the whole family. The event includes live music at the finish line, near Oceanside Pier. The Turkey Trot proudly benefits Oceanside schools and charities. For more information, visit osideturkeytrot.com.
Father Joe’s Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk – November 22
Running for an important cause makes the sweat and tears worth it. Father Joe’s Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk helps serve more than 1.7 million meals to those in need, so you can feel good about every stride towards the finish line. Taking place on Thanksgiving morning, November 22 at 8am, runners will head for the picturesque Balboa Park. Participants will receive free refreshments at Spreckels Organ Pavilion where live music will be playing around the free beer garden. This 11th annual event brings hundreds out to Balboa to race for the awareness of hunger in San Diego. For more information, visit my.neighbor.org.
United Run for the Hungry – November 22
This Thanksgiving event sets itself apart as the only downtown race in San Diego. Hit the pavement in the Gaslamp District and East Village for a 10K run or 5K run/walk the morning before you feast. Start moving with a race that helps feed the hungry. Proceeds benefit the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and Foodmobile. Annually, the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank distributes food for more than 10 million meals. Foodmobile delivers more than 28,000 hot meals to the elderly and homebound. Lace up those tennis shoes and bring some canned goods with you to show how San Diego cares. The 10K will get going at 7:10am and the 5K will begin at 8:15am. For more information, visit unitedrunforthehungry.org.
Temecula Turkey Trot 5K, 10K – November 24
Temecula Wine Country isn’t all just wine and cheese. The gorgeous landscaping sets the stage for an ideal 5K or 10K as part of the Temecula Turkey Trot. The Trot’s 5K and 10K both start and finish at Cougar Vineyard & Winery. Once you’ve crossed the finish line, runners will enjoy a free wine tasting at Cougar and discounted tastings at neighboring wineries. Participants are encouraged to raise funds for the Sun Strides Foundation which supports energy projects in East Africa. Race off that turkey dinner and have an up-close opportunity to explore De Portola Road, Monte De Oro and Camino Del Vino’s rolling hills. For more information, visit sunstrides.org.
Carmel Valley 5K – December 8
The Carmel Valley 5K and Fun Run for Kids benefits the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation and brings the community together in the spirit of exercise. The Foundation was created to raise the necessary funds for Del Mar school’s enrichment programs such as science, music, art, technology and physical education. The 5K course will stretch over the scenic bike trail portion of HWY 56 where a beautiful tree-lined path will greet you along some rolling hills. Meanwhile, the kiddos can race in a non-competitive, easy 1-mile run. Participants will receive a shirt, medal and goodie bag. For more information, visit carmelvalley5k.com.
The Retro Run 5K – December 9
Are you ready to go retro? The Retro Run 5K heads to NTC Park on December 9, where races are untimed and the only thing that matters is crossing the finish line with pride. All ages are welcome, as well as strollers and dogs. All are encouraged to bust out their acid-washed jeans for a ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s inspired party. Participants will also enjoy a post-race festival, ‘80s music and a costume contest. The race will begin at 9am. Participants receive a Retro Run 6K t-shirt, sunglasses and one free beer. For more information, visit theretrorun5k.com.
Red Nose 5K Run/Walk – December 14
Del Mar will once again be invaded by the red nose reindeer for the 21st time. Starting at 2pm, the Red Nose Run will take place on the beach in front of Poseidon Restaurant in Del Mar. Once the runners have crossed the finish line, all will gather in Poseidon Restaurant for refreshments, door prizes, recognition of 5K race winners, raffle and live auction items, and the presentation of contributions to the charities Semper Fi Fund and Fresh Start Surgical Gifts. It’s the biggest little holiday run in Del Mar. For more information, visit rednoserun.info.
Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk – December 15
The Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk benefits the Arthritis Foundation with a festive event fit for the whole family on December 15. Beginning at 8am, this tradition also features the Kids’ Dashing with the Elves Fun Run, made exclusively for the little-legs. The holiday season is welcomed as thousands of runners and walkers hit the pavement, starting at 6th and Quince. This run encourages holiday themed costumes, and obviously, plenty of jingle bells all the way through. “Ring in the season for a reason” in a race that aims to fight arthritis, the nation’s most common cause of disability. For more information, visit kintera.org.