6 Ways to Find the Best Local Running Races

woman stretching before a running race

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Whether you want to run your very first 5K or you’re training for your fifth marathon, finding the right race is key. Running road races is a great way to stay motivated, meet other runners, have some fun, and accomplish a personal goal.

With so many options out there, many runners (especially beginners), choose to stay local and sign up for the races happening in their own city or town. We recommend choosing a race that is approximately six to 12 weeks away and registering for it in advance. Ready to pick a race to hit your goal? Here’s where to start.

Contact Your Local Running Club

Most running clubs sponsor at least a couple of local races each year. If you're not sure if there are clubs in your area, visit the Road Runners Club of America to find one closest to you. Even if they don't sponsor races, they'll probably know about other local races going on in your area. If you become a member of the club or follow the organization on social media, they'll keep you informed of future races and other events.

Stop by a Local Running Store

The staff at your local running shop are another great resource for local events. While you’re shopping, look for posted signs advertising upcoming races. Many stores even offer group training runs leading up to a big race or sign-up discounts.

Look Online for Races

There are so many great sites with lots of local event listings to check out. Some favorites include Running in the USA. For full or half marathon listings, try MarathonGuide.com and HalfMarathons.net. Use this quick information to narrow down your list of choices by distance, location, or time of the year.

Ask Other Runners

If you have a friend, family member, or co-worker who likes to run, ask them about their favorite local race. If they've run it before, they can give you their personal review of the course, race amenities, and overall experience to help you decide if it's a good option for you. And because it's always fun to do a race with a friend (even if you don't run the race together), see if there's a race you can plan to do together.

Check With Your Local YMCA or Health Club

Some YMCAs, health clubs, or gyms sponsor or help promote local races, so stop by to and see if yours has any information on upcoming races. They may even offer some race-specific training tips.

Explore Social Media

Social media can be a great source for information about the running community in your area. Follow local clubs and organizations on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see what’s coming up on their calendars. Or post to your own accounts, asking your network for their favorite race picks.

A Word From Verywell

Running a race is the perfect first step toward getting more involved in your local running community. Not only are they fun local events, they are a great opportunity to accomplish a personal goal. Once you find the race for you and sign up, all you need is the right training plan to help you get to the start (and finish) line.

By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT
Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach.