Looking for races to run across the United States?  Here is our starter list of a 5K, half marathons and full marathon in the ten most populous cities across the nation.

New York

  • Run for Congo Women 5K: The Run For Congo Women organization holds benefit races throughout the nation, but New York’s September run is particularly wonderful.
  • New York Road Runners Half Marathon: The Road Runners put on a half marathon every year that puts participants right in the center of New York City.  The event brings runner’s through Times Square in March of every year.
  • ING Marathon: ING hosts annual marathons and half marathons in the city.  The famous marathon takes runners through New York City’s five boroughs amongst 35,000 other athletes and millions of spectators.

Los Angeles

  • Firecracker 5k: Since 1978 the Chinatown community of Los Angeles has held an annual festival that takes pride in hosting participant-oriented events.  This highly anticipated event is recognized throughout the running community as one of the most organized 5k races in the Los Angeles area.
  • Say No To Drugs Half Marathon: Although the first Say No To Drugs race was held in 1988 in Florida, LA picked up the tradition and is now in it’s tenth year benefiting the cause.  Proceeds benefit organization such as The Boys and Girls Clubs, Friends of Narconon, and Drug Free World.
  • LA Marathon: Since this marathon does not require qualifying standards it is a great marathon for first time runners.  More than half of the participants are running the 26.219 miles for the first time.


  • 5K Lung Run: This short race is run in September every year and was initially started in honor of lung cancer survivors and their families.  The race raises funds for raising awareness and lung cancer research.
  • Chicago Half Marathon and 5K: This combination marathon and 5K event sold out in 2010 with more than 20,000 runners.  It’s one of the largest half marathons in the country and ends in Jackson park.
  • Bank of America Chicago MarathonThousands of runners gather for the Chicago Marathon, running to earn in excess of $10 million dollars for charity.  The event is one of the five World Marathon Majors and has been happening for more than 30 years.


  • Earth Day Houston 5K: Houston’s Earth Day festival was started to help promote the awareness of air quality issues in the city.  The run itself is on a flat loop course and promotes all sustainable practices from the biodegradable drinking cups to the organic cotton race shirts.
  • RRCA Houston Half Marathon and Relay: This half marathon takes place right at the halfway point for training for the city’s upcoming winter races and is put on by the Houston Striders running club.
  • Chevron Houston Marathon: This highly organized end of the year event includes a 5K and half marathon event.  All funds raised will go to the charities involved in Run for a Reason.  In 2007 the marathon held a satellite run of the same kind in Iraq.


  • Ft. Phoenix 5K Run Walk: This annual 5K was created by the b Positive Project to raise awareness, get people active, and raise money for local charities.
  • Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA Half Marathon: The tradition of this beautiful, mostly flat half marathon has continued for more than 40 years as participants overlook beautiful South Mountain Park throughout the course.
  • RocknRoll Arizona Marathon: This marathon is one of the famous rock ‘n’ roll series where bands support runners along the course.  It’s an exciting event that’s sure to kick the year off with a bang.


  • Philadelphia Bar Association 5K Run/Walk: The Philadelphia Bar Association has been hosting this race to benefit that Support Center for Child Advocates for more than 30 years.  The event takes place in May and has grown with so much popular respectability that it’s sold out.
  • Philadelphia RocknRoll Marathon: This race was known as the Philadelphia Distance Run for 32 years before switching over to become one of the nation’s many rock ‘n’ roll races.  The race takes place in September and supports nearly 20,000 runners.
  • Philadelphia Marathon: The Philadelphia Marathon (otherwise known as the Philadelphia Independence Marathon) starts and ends at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and takes participants through a history laden course to completion.

San Antonio

  • Shamrock Shuffle Fun Run: This 5k race is hosted by The Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas and takes place every year on Saint Patricks Day for over a quarter of a century.  The only criteria is to wear your green!
  • Combat Medic Run: This 5k running loop also supports a 10k race.  If you enter into this competition you will be joining a 30 year tradition.
  • Rock & Roll Marathon: No need for your iPod at this marathon as local bands rock out for the 30,000+ runners and their fans.

San Diego

  • Father Joes Thanksgiving Day 5K: There’s nothing like earning your Thanksgiving dinner with a run.  Registrants are known to come from around the states for this holiday event that starts and ends in Balboa Park.
  • Silver Strand Half Marathon and 5K: This run/walk/skate event is one of the few races in the country that actually lets participants join the fun on their inlines or roller skates.  Helmets are mandatory, but only for the skaters.
  • RocknRoll San Diego Marathon: Those familiar with the famous Rock ‘n’ Roll run series may also know that San Diego is the race series’ founding city.  Forget your headphones and listen to the bands instead.  This is a great event that’s likely to include loud music, lots of costumes and many encouraging fans.
ALSO READ:  The Ultimate Guide: How to Train for a Marathon (and crush it!)


  • Oktoberfest 5K: This Dallas based 5K has been taking place every October for 30 years.  Proceeds go to Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer and people who aren’t in the area can now participate virtually from anywhere in the world.
  • Rock & Roll Half Marathon: The Rock & Roll series hits Dallas for the first time in the Spring of 2010 and proceeds go to the Susan G Komen fund.  Between 12,000 and 15,000 runners are expected to attend.
  • MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon: This Dallas based December marathon is affectionately deemed Running the Rock and it’s supposedly the best race for first time marathoners.

San Jose

  • Silicon Valley Turkey Trot: Many families have made this pre-Thanksgiving day meal race a ritual.  In addition to serving as a tradition, it is also an event that’s set out to benefit the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, the Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County.
  • Quicksilver Half Marathon: San Jose’s very own Quicksilver running club hosts this dirt road scenic half marathon through the Quicksilver mining territory of the Almaden Quicksilver Park.  The race is challenging, but a great introduction to road runners interested in jumping onto slightly different terrain.
  • Silicon Valley Marathon: The Dean Karnazes Silicon Valley Marathon takes place on Halloween and finishes with a grand concert.

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