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Saturday, December 3, 2022

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Let’s RUN! The best races in Tampa Bay for families this year!

Runners rejoice! With many races being cancelled or held virtually in 2021, it’s a refreshing change of pace to see them returning this year in-person. What’s great about Tampa’s upcoming race lineup is that there is something for everyone! Perhaps your goal is to set a personal record or maybe one of your new year’s resolutions is to run a 5K? There are certainly an array of races that will get you moving while also having fun. Run through courses such as wineries, fairgrounds, and even as baseball field! There are even a few options just for kids!

So start warming up and check out the awesome list of races that you can sign up for this year!

Pre-Race Tips:

  • Half-marathon = 13.1 miles; 15K = 9.3 miles; 10K = 6.2 miles; 8K = 4.97 miles; 5K = 3.1 miles
  • If you’re a first time runner, check out a “couch to 5K” app to help you train properly.
  • Register early! Most races have early bird discounts. Some races also have a limited number of spots.
  • Go at your own pace! Do what feels comfortable for you and your body. Everyone runs at different speeds. Just crossing the finish line – whether you’re first or last – is a huge accomplishment!
  • Not all sneakers are created equal – make sure you have the right type of shoes. Most athletic shoe stores can properly fit your feet for the correct sneakers.
  • Hit the pavement! Try to run outside, if possible. Running indoors can certainly help you train, but there is a difference in running on a treadmill vs. running on sidewalks and streets.

OUR FAVORITE RACES IN TAMPA BAY IN 2022

Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic

February 26-27
Downtown Tampa/Brorein Street
Half Marathon/15K/8K/5K/5K Stroller Run/Challenge Events

Now in its 44th year, the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic is one of the largest and most popular races in Tampa. The Gasparilla Distance Classic Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for youth charitable organizations and running programs in the Tampa area. The race events span over an entire weekend beginning with the Health & Fitness Expo on February 25th, and ending with the half marathon and 8K races on the 27th. There will also be a separate family-friendly event on February 19, the Publix Too Good for Drugs Jr. Gasparilla Distance Classic. 

2022 5K Finisher Medal. Image Credit: Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic

8 On Your Side Health & Fitness Expo

February 25, 10am-8pm
February 26, 6am-3pm
Tampa Convention Center
The Expo is is free and open to the public, and is also where runners will pick up their race packets. In addition, it will also feature vendors offering the latest in running shoes, apparel, and medical breakthroughs and info to help you take charge of your health. Visitors can also purchase 2022 PGDC gear featuring this year’s mascot, Pepperjack the parrot! There will also be pickle ball games, opportunities to check out the Tampa General Hospital Healthy Pavilion, music courtesy of Ferman Automotive Group, and talent from WFLA-TV 8.

15K/5K/5K Stroller Roll/5K Walk

February 26, 6:45am
The PGDC 15K will feature two rolling wave starts beginning at 6:45am. The 5K will begin at 9:15am and will feature eight wave starts (each participant’s race number will be color-coded to the assigned wave start). There will also be a designated start for the Kellogg’s 5K Stroller Roll and Kashi 5K Walk.

Half Marathon/8K

February 27, 6am
The half marathon and 8K will feature one rolling wave start. Each race will feature eight corrals of 500 people each. The half marathon will begin at 6am and the 8K will start at 9:15am.

Publix Too Good for Drugs Jr. Gasparilla Distance Classic

February 19, 8:30am-12:00pm
Jefferson High School, 4401 W. Cypress Street, Tampa, FL 33607
Registration for this event is free for kids ages 2-10 and $5 for adults and kids ages 11 and up. Children will be grouped by age and distances will be broken up into the following: 30 yards (ages 2-4), to 1/8 mile (ages 5-6), 1/2 mile (ages 7-8), and one mile (ages 9+). Race day activities will feature the Mendez Foundation Craft Activity Area, WQYK’s Super Prize Machine, visits from Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger and 501st Legion Star Wars characters, and face painters and balloon twisters.

For more information on any of the PGDC races, visit rungasparilla.com.

More Exciting Races in Tampa Bay to Check Out This Year!

Keel Farms Love Run 5K

February 12, 9:00am
Keel and Curley Winery, Plant City, FL 
Love and wine are in the air! Head over to Keel Farms on Saturday, February 12th for an exciting “Love Themed” event that features the scenic views of Keel and Curley Winery. After the race, enjoy their assortment of locally produced wines. With registration options for all wine lovers, walkers and runners, this race is a sure thing for a great time!
Click here for more information and to register.

Florida State Fair Deep Fried Dash 5K

February 19, 7am
Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, FL
Runners will race through the fairgrounds around all the rides, exhibits, and concession stands! Participants will receive a fresh, deep-fried corn dog from SuperDog, the official corn dog of the Deep Fried Dash, along with other items from our sponsors at the end of the race. All proceeds from the Deep Fried Dash will benefit the Florida State Fair Foundation, a 501(c)(3). The Mission of the Florida State Fair Foundation is to improve and support the Florida State Fair agricultural, scientific, and educational programs. Runners can also participate in a virtual version of the race now through February 19.
Click here for more information and to register.

Deep Fried Dash. Image Credit: Florida State Fairgrounds

Yankees Sprint to Spring 5K & Fun Run

February 19, 8:00am
George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, FL

What would be cooler than racing around a baseball field, getting a view from the players’ perspectives? The New York Yankees Sprint to Spring 5K & Fun Run will take place at George M. Steinbrenner Field and is perfect for all ages. During this one-of-a-kind morning, participants will have a unique opportunity to gather together and celebrate the start of another baseball season. There will also be a virtual option for fans that don’t live in Tampa or who prefer to participate on their own time and schedule. A portion of all proceeds from the race will benefit the Yankees Tampa Foundation. The Yankees Tampa Foundation has contributed to the local community since 1973, giving to organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs, Special Olympics, Feeding Tampa Bay, and the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
Click here for more information and to register. 

41st Annual Driscoll’s Strawberry Classic

March 19, 7:00am
Temple Terrace Elementary School, Tampa, FL
15K/10K/5K/Fun Run
Hosted by Tampa Bay Runners, these family-friendly races benefits Meals on Wheels and Children’s Dream Fund. The 15K, 10K, and 5K races are broken into two groups each – adults 18+ and students 17 and under. There will also be a one-mile fun run for all ages!
Click here for more information and to register. 

The 5K for K-12

March 26, 8:00am
University of South Florida, Tampa Campus
5K/5K Walk/Fun Run
This inaugural 5k for K-12, a fundraising event in support of K-12 teachers. The anticipated crowd of well over 2,000 Tampa Bay area teachers, students, community members, and education advocates will have the opportunity to run through the beautiful campus of USF Tampa. The goal of this event is to make programs such as literacy, STEM, online learning, and equity free for practicing teachers. All proceeds benefit professional development opportunities for teachers!
Click here for more information and to register.

Roar Through Ybor 5K and Fun Run

April 1, 7:00pm
Centennial Park, Tampa, FL
“Roar” through the streets of Ybor at this evening race! This evening of fun, friendly competition, is a celebration of the lives saved and improved through organ, eye, and tissue donation. The event will include food and beverages, photo opportunities, and other interactive activities for the whole family.
Click here for more information and to register. 

MacDill’s Paws 4 Heros 5K

April 2, 8:00am
Gadsen Park, Tampa, FL
The Southeastern Guide Dogs MacDill’s Paws for Heroes 5k promises to be a fun event. The cost to provide a guide dog for a veteran with a visual impairment or a service dog for a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder is tens of thousands of dollars, yet veterans receive these extraordinary dogs at no cost. All funds raised will benefit the Paws for Patriots Program. On behalf of American heroes who have sacrificed so much, this program serves active-duty soldiers and retired servicemen and women with the respect and dignity they deserve.
Click here for more information and to register. 

TPA’s 5K on The Runway

April 2, 8:00am
Tampa International Airport
Going into its 8th year, this year’s theme is “from heart to sole.” Proceeds of the race benefit United Way Suncoast, a nonprofit organization with a longstanding partnership with the Airport that focuses efforts on community assistance, early learning and financial stability in the Tampa Bay region. This year, the race will be held on runway 10-28. Participants will have the rare opportunity to complete a 3.1-mile race on a real airport runway alongside Fixed Base Operators and dormant aircraft.
Click here for more information and to register. 

Image Credit: Tampa International Airport

8th Annual Tampa Bay Kids Triathlon at Adventure Island

April 9, 7:45am
Adventure Island Water Park
Imagine racing through one of the world’s best water parks! The Event Development Institute (EDI), in conjunction with Adventure Island, hosts the annual Tampa Bay Kids Triathlon (TBKT). The TBKT offers youth athletes, experienced and first-timers alike, the unique opportunity to swim, bike and run in and around Busch Gardens’ premier water park. The triathlon will include a 200 meter swim, 1.5 mile bike, and 0.5 mile run. The first 400 registrants will also receive a complimentary “stay and play” ticket!
Click here for more information and to register.

The Flip Flops and Whiskey Easter Weekend 5K and 10K

April 16, 8:15am
Whiskey Joe’s Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa, FL
10K/5K/Kids Dash Run
These Easter weekend races benefits the Tampa Bay teen groups from Finishlines For Scholarships 501(c)(3). Participants 21 and over will receive a free Michelob Ultra after the race, and there will be a post-race free nacho bar party with great music on the beach at the tiki hut of Whiskey Joe’s beginning at 9:30am, open to all friends and family.
Click here for more information and to register.

Tampa Fire 5K

April 19, 8:00am
Tampa Firefighters Museum, Tampa, FL
5K/Fun Run/Walk
Run with the firefighters for a great cause! 100% of the proceeds of this 11th annual Pediatric Burn Survivor 5K/1 mile Fun/Walk benefits Camp Hopetake, a week-long summer camp hosted in Tampa for previously burned children of all ages that provides a safe and supportive environment for kids to share their feelings and interact with other young burn victims from all over Florida. The camp is free of charge to all the who attend. This non-threatening atmosphere allows them to enjoy activities including going to Busch Gardens, Universal Studios, Disneyworld, Adventure Island, Tampa Bay Rays game, swimming, bowling, fishing, games, crafts, movies and more as they cope with the social and emotional scars associated with their injuries. This year’s event will be a 5K run and a 1-mile fun run/walk.
Click here for more information and to register. 

2022 Blacklight Run 5K

April 23, 8:30pm
Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, FL
Join one of the brightest and most fun races out there! This unique nighttime run allows participants to run through the Florida State Fairgrounds and glow in the dark as they run! Wear a white shirt or grab one of the Blacklight Run commemorative tees and get ready to GLOW! Proceeds from the race goes towards local children’s charities.
Click here for more information and to register. 

I love The 80s 5K

April 23, Time TBD
Al Lopez Park, Tampa, FL
Run back in time during this totally radical 5K! The day promises to be a trip down memory lane and an experience to the most unforgettable decade.  There will be 80’s music playing all day. They ask that everyone dress in the best 80’s outfit (including those teased-up hair styles!). Prizes will be awarded for male and female best hair, outfit and group coordination outfit. Please be creative as you take a trip back to the good old days!
Click here for more information and to register.

Bubble Run Tampa 5K

June 4, 8:00am
Sun N’ Fun, Lakeland, FL
Feel like a kid again running through this 5K course filled with colorful bubbles! This race is great for all ages and promise to be healthy, safe, and a TON of fun!
Click here for more information and to register. 

Image Credit: Bubble Run Race

Tampa Beer Run

June 11-12, 8:00am
Al Lopez Park, Tampa, FL
A not-so-traditional run in Al Lopez Park, with an amazing after-party. This race isn’t about who’s the fastest – it’s about having fun and having a few beers along the course. Every .75 miles (approximately), you’ll be treated to a specialty beer sampling. Once you’ve made it through the 5K course, we’ll welcome you at the after-party with your choice of a 16oz beer. We’ll continue the party with music, drink, dancing, and awards. This race is for participants 21+ only.
Click here for more information and to register.

Ice Cream 5K

June 12, 8:00am
Al Lopez Park, Tampa, FL
5K/Fun Run/Walk
A fun event for the entire family! This family-friendly 5K features ice-cream and an amazing after-party. It’ll also feature a kids 1 mile run and a baby/toddler crawl/walk. Proceeds help benefit John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. The after party will include multiple family activities such as dancing, kids face painting, music, awards and of course – lots of ICE CREAM!
Click here for more information and to register.

Foam Glow Race 5K

October 8, 7:30pm
Sun N’ Fun, Lakeland, FL
Along the 5K running path you will find Foam Glow 5K Zones, which are associated with a designated color: orange, pink, or green. As the runners/walkers reach the Zones, they will run through different colored foams that Glows in the Dark under high intensity black lights! All products are 100% natural and non-toxic. At the end of the race there will be a Foam Glow 5K after party filled with music pumping from the stage.
Click here for more information and to register.

MudGirl Obstacle Race

December 3, 7:45am
Little Everglades Ranch, Dade City, FL
Enter into this uniting and empowering experience with over 17 obstacles. There is only one goal – run together stronger to remember it forever. Participants will face mud, obstacles and inflatables in an amazing atmosphere surrounded by women of all ages, all fitness levels. Gather your friends, your family, or even your colleagues and be a part of the strong #PinkArmy community. Click here for more information and to register. 

Image Credit: Mud Girl

L.O.U.D Runners Reindeer Race

December 10, 8:00am
Gadsen Park, Tampa, FL
5K/Fun Run
The 6th Annual L.O.U.D. Runners 5k and 1-mile fun run is sure to put you in the holiday spirit! Racers will receive a holiday-themed race shirt, finisher medal, and lots of holiday cheer. If you finish in the top three male or female you’ll also receive an award and free entry into the 2023 Reindeer Race. Stay after the race and you may also win one of the many great prizes being given away. Encouraging physical activity in children is important to the L.O.U.D. (Lifting Others Up Daily) Runners of Tampa Bay. To support that belief, all children under 16 can run the mile race for free and will receive a finishers medal.
Click here for more information and to register.


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Brie Gorecki
Brie Gorecki
Brie has been writing for websites and local publications for over 10 years. A USF graduate, she has worked for several major companies in New York, Atlanta and here in Tampa. You can read her articles on Tampa Bay Parenting, Tampa Bay Date Night Guide and Orlando Date Night Guide. She’s a Disney fanatic, an animal lover, and is a huge foodie who loves trying all the amazing restaurants around Tampa Bay. She’s a proud mom to a sweet little Star Wars and Godzilla-loving boy, and to her “fur-babies,” a rescue dog and cat from Humane Society of Tampa Bay. She loves spending time with her family, whether it’s a date night out with her husband or a day filled with roller coaster rides at a theme park.

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