25 Best Holiday Runs/Walks

Featured Article, Fitness
on November 1, 2011

‘Tis the season for weight gain. With Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas cookies and New Year’s cocktails in the offing, it seems inevitable that a few extra pounds will find their way to your bathroom scale. Never fear–there are plenty of ways to stay active (read: burn calories) while enjoying the spirit of the holidays. Check out these regional events.


1. Dana Point Turkey Trot, Dana Point, Calif.

November 24, 2011: What better way to prepare for a Thanksgiving dinner than running a 5K or 10K to benefit a local food bank? Kids ages 5 to 12 can join in the Kids’ Gobble Wobble Race.

2. Ugly Christmas Sweater Run, Colorado Springs, Colo.

December 3, 2011: Don your loudest Christmas duds and join a 5K (or one-mile walk) to benefit the Cerebral Palsy Association of Colorado Springs.

3. Santa Runs Tacoma, Wash. 

December 17, 2011: Toss in with Frosty (5K), the Grinch (10K), and Tiny Tim (1-mile kids’ run) for some exercise for a cause: It’s also a food drive.

4. New Year’s Eve Moonlight Fun Run, Las Vegas, Nev.

December 31, 2011: An 8K at night with dazzling views of the Vegas Valley? That’s sure to ring in the New Year right.

5. Los Angeles Fitness Expo 2012, Los Angeles, Calif.

January 28-29, 2012: Now that you’ve made your health and fitness resolutions, explore your options and find motivation at this fitness extravaganza.


1. Millennium Park Ice Skating, Chicago, Ill.

November 18-January 9, weather permitting: Celebrate the season and get a holiday-fueled workout on the ice.

2. GivingThanks 5K & 1.5 Family & Friends Fun Fitness Walk, Como Lake, St. Paul, Minn.

November 24, 2011: Join your friends and family for a fun new Thanksgiving Day tradition, a 5K or 1.5-mile trek around beautiful Como Lake. Bring a non-perishable food item to donate.

3. TriCity Family Services Snowflake Shuffle, Geneva, Ill.

December 3, 2011: This 5K accommodates all ages (kids under 5 are free!) and takes place come rain, snow, or sunshine.

4. Santa Shuffle, Milwaukee, Wis.

December 4, 2011: Grab a Santa hat and join up with hundreds of other jolly runners. Enjoy candy stations along the way and hot cider and cookies at the finish line!

5. Run Like the Dickens, Holly, Mich.

December 10, 2011: With 10K, 5K, and Tiny Tim Trot options to choose from, plus holiday music and refreshments at the end, this spirited race appeals to all ages.


1. Bay Area Turkey Day 10K /5K/Kids K 2011, Houston, Tex.

November 24, 2011: This race through Clear Lake neighborhoods promises family-friendly terrain and a great way to work off some calories (or work up an appetite!).

2. Honor Loved Ones Walk, Albuquerque, N.M.

December 3, 2011: Take a walk to remember special people who have touched your life. Take this time to remind yourself of the importance of physical activity in achieving health and happiness.

3. Candlelight Tour of Historic Homes and Landmarks, French Quarter, New Orleans, La.

December 9, 2011: Explore some of the architectural marvels of the French Quarter, all dressed up for Christmas.

4. Luminaria Walk Along the Wagner Trail, Scottsdale, Ariz.

December 17, 2011: Enjoy the peace of the holidays on this candlelit desert walk.

5. New Year’s Double, Allen, Tex.

December 31, 2011-January 1, 2012: End one year and start the next strong with one (or more) of the running events packed into this two-day celebration of fitness.


1. Thanksgiving Day Run, New York City, NY.

November 24, 2011: Earn your fill at the Thanksgiving table by taking part in this free, all-ages, noncompetitive run.

2. Boston Volvo 5K Road Race, Boston, Mass.

November 24, 2011: This race benefits the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Top finishers get prizes, but all runners help the cause.

3. 116th Annual YMCA Turkey Trot, Buffalo, NY.

November 24, 2011: Start your Turkey Day with an 8K run that brings together more than 12,500 runners of all ages and fitness levels. This is the oldest continually running footrace in North America.

4. Downtown Jingle 5K, Providence, R.I.

December 4, 2011: Race for a cause–helping kids in need experience the magic of Christmas–at this all-ages 5K run/walk.

5. Polar Pony Plunge, Chincoteague Island, Va.

January 1, 2012: Show 2012 who’s boss by taking a courageous (if bone-chilling) plunge into the Atlantic.


1. Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain, Stone Mountain, Ga.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 (and select dates): Why should Yankees have all the fun? Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain brings the slipping, sledding, slushy recreational wonders of a snow day to the Southeast.

2. Family Bike Night at Tradewinds Park, Coconut Creek, Fla.

Sunday, November 13, 2011: An evening ride through the park’s Holiday Fantasy of Lights display will get the whole family in the Christmas spirit.

3. 2011 Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis, Huntsville, Ala.

Sunday, November 20, 2011: The Arthritis Foundation’s annual run/walk sees thousands of participants nationwide join the fight against arthritis; Huntsville’s 2011 honoree is Devon, a bright, brave 6-year-old with juvenile arthritis.

4. Third Annual 5K Jingle Bell Run, Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

Saturday, December 17, 2011: Holiday apparel is encouraged in this 5K to benefit the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, so grab your Santa hat and join the race.

5. Zoo Lights, Miami, Fla.

Starting December 17, 2011: A family walk or some festive fun? Zoo Lights combines the best of both! Enjoy an evening walk along meandering zoo pathways while taking in the twinkling holiday displays.