I know that with every new year, people set goals or make resolutions for things they want to improve upon over the next year. I also know that many of those resolutions pass by the wayside about halfway into January. It could be due to a lack of planning, a lack of motivation, a lack of time, or some other reason entirely. But for those of you who want to stick with a fitness resolution this year, I have compiled a list of local running races to help you meet your goal. And if you’re like me, once you’ve paid money for something you are more likely to follow through with it!
Shorter Distance Races
Ringling Bridge 4 Mile Run
Saturday, January 14th
This popular race offers both a 1 mile fun run and a 4 mile race. Enjoy views of the beautiful Sarasota Bay as you cross over the Ringling Bridge not once, but twice! This a great race for anyone who has done a 5k but wants a little extra challenge. The YMCA also provides childcare during the race! Registration for 4 miles is $20.00 and 1 mile is $15.00. All proceeds benefit the Sarasota YMCA’s youth and family programs. Register here.
Superhero 5k and fun run
Saturday, February 18th
This is a great race for the whole family to get involved in! Benefiting Bridge a Life, runners in this race are encouraged to dress up as their favorite superhero. Not only are awards given out for top finishers in each age group, but there are also trophies for best super hero, best super hero family, fastest super hero in costume, and even best super hero pet! Food and entertainment are provided after the race, making this a great event for families. Register here.
Take Stock in Children 10k/5k and Fun Run
Sunday, March 5th
The competition in this race heats up as many local elementary schools take part in order to win a scholarship for one of their fifth grade students. The scholarship is awarded based on number of participants, and as a result you may also sign up for this race as a virtual runner. You can run the race at a different time and still help a student earn a scholarship! Runners of all three distances will start and finish on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch. Register here.
Robinson Preserve 5k/10k
Friday, March 31st
Robinson Preserve is an evening run through the gorgeous scenery of the Preserve. You can choose your distance from 5k, 10k or 1k. You will run on paved and shell trails, and over several wooden boardwalks as you keep your eyes peeled for birds and jumping fish. This popular chip-timed race has five race corrals based on your estimated finish time so everyone can run comfortably at their own pace. The after party features catered food, live music, and adult beverages. Register here.
Run for the Turtles 5k and 1 mile fun run
Saturday, April 1st
For people looking to run for a cause, this run supports the Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program at Mote Marine Laboratory. The 1-Mile Fun Run begins at 7:30 at the Siesta Key Public Beach, and the 5k starts shortly after at 8:00. Fees for both races are $32.50. Fun run finishers all receive ribbons, and awards are given 6-deep by age group for the 5k. Register here.
Saturday, April 1st
If you are looking for a more low-key race and just want to have fun with friends and family, the Color Vibe 5k might be for you. Located at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, you will get blasted with color while you run! Racers receive a t-shirt, sunglasses, color pack, temporary tattoos, and a finisher’s medal. Registration is $45.00. Register here.
Longer Distance Races
Sharks Tooth 10k
Saturday, March 4th
This is a great chip-timed 10k race located in Venice, the Shark Tooth Capital of the World. The shark tooth theme carries through in the tech race shirts, finisher medals, and even the shape of the course! When the race is over you can enjoy music, door prizes, and a post race party. You can also bring your race bib and receive free entry to the 25th Annual Shark’s Tooth Festival on any of the festival days! When you register you can choose from a regular registration or a premium which includes socks. Register here.
Sarasota music half marathon
Sunday, February 5th
I think this race is the most scenic one around. The race course takes you over the Ringling Bridge to St. Armand’s Circle, then back over the bridge with more water views, and through the beautiful Selby Gardens. True to its name, you will pass live music 42 times during the Sarasota Music Half. Post-race brunch is provided by Mattison’s Bayside, along with more live music and a beer garden. Registration is $115 and all racers receive a medal and race shirt. Register here.
Sarasota Half Marathon and Relay
Sunday, March 19th
One of Sarasota’s most popular and unique race opportunities, the Sarasota Half Marathon and Relay begins at Van Wezel. The route takes you over the Ringling Bridge to St. Armand’s Circle and back, and then winds through beautiful Sarasota neighborhoods with plenty of water views. You can run the whole 13.1 miles, or split it with a friend and create a two-person relay team. First Watch provides breakfast at the conclusion of the race, and free beer is available for racers. You also get a dri-fit tech shirt and medal included in your registration fees. If you want a local race that will challenge you, this is it! Register here.