Spring into Action: 8 Great Fun Runs This Spring

Let your kids jump into the action with both feet instead of simply cheering you on from the sidelines. These spring races—many with accompanying children’s sprints—are fun for the whole family. Most allow strollers so your kids can ride along with you after their race tuckers them out. Remember that these $5 5K races to half-mile tot trots fill up fast. From starting line to the finish line, here’s what you’ll need to prepare for.

SONY DSCPhotocourtesy of Lake Oswego Women’s Club

1. Bridge to Brews

Why go: As the only run/walk course that goes over the Fremont Bridge, this race offers great views of the city. Celebrate your family’s accomplishment post-race with live music, great food, and a few tastes from the variety of breweries offering more than 18 beers on tap (including root beer for the kids). The wide-open, 4-acre venue provides plenty of space to spread out and relax. A percentage of proceeds will benefit Molly’s Fund Fighting Lupus. Jogging strollers are permitted, but should start towards the back of the pack for everyone’s safety.

When: Sun., April 6, 2014
Where: Lilis-Albina Park, Portland, Or
Distance: 10k and 8k run/walk and a kids’ half mile
Cost: Until March 25: $44 /8k and 10k run/walk; $99/VIP 8k/10 run/walk; $5/kids’ half mile (does not include shirt). Non-participants can purchase a guest beer package (pint glass and five tasting tokens) for $10. After March 26, prices increase to $54/8k/10k run/walk and $8/kids’ half mile.

Online: terrapinevents.com/bridge-to-brews_info.htm

2. Discover Spring 5k/10k and Kids’ Fun Run

Why go: Warm up with yogi-led stretching and a fun game of Simon Says before the kids’ race, which involves the little ones chasing an adult in rabbit ears around a baseball field. All the kids get participation ribbons. Then free face painting, balloons and a wellness fair (including a fire truck, police officers, a dentist with a giant model tooth, and a physical therapist with a skeleton) will entertain your kids while you race the 5k/10k. Or they can hop in the stroller and ride along with you. Proceeds benefit McMinnville Montessori.

When: Sat., April 26, 2014
Where: Discovery Meadows Park, McMinnville, Or
Distance: 5k/10k, kids’ fun run (less than a half mile)
Cost: For 5k/10k: $15/youth under 18, $32/adult age 18 and up; $10/kid’s run (all include cotton t-shirts until March 29)

Online: discoverspring.com/

DiscoverSpring-McMinnville-ORPhoto courtesy of Discover Spring

3. Cinco de Mayo

Why go: Do something healthy as a family, and you’ll feel like you earned your tortilla chips and tacos post-race. Celebrate at the finish with live mariachi music and tasty food from Pepino’s Fresh Mexican Grill. Adult participants can wash it down with two ice-cold beers from Lagunitas Brewing, which are also included with your race fee. Proceeds benefit Candlelighters for Children with Cancer. Strollers are permitted but should start toward the back.

When: Sun., May 4, 2014
Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland, Or
Distance: Half marathon, 5k/10k run/walk, kids’ half mile
Cost: $5/kid’s run (no t-shirt); $39/5K race; $44/10K race; $99/VIP 5K or 10K experience; $50-$99/half marathon walk. From April 23: $8/kid’s half mile; $44/5K; $54/10K; $99/half marathon.

Online: terrapinevents.com/cinco_info.htm

4. 38th Annual Lake Oswego Women’s Club Lake Run

Why go: This hilly route is tough, but it pays off with beautiful views of the main lake and waterfront homes. After your kids sprint the dash and get their participation award, they can whoop it up in the children’s activity tent or on the blowup slide. Or they can ride in your stroller if you’d rather keep an eye on them while you race. Strollers are welcome but encouraged to begin at the back. All net proceeds go to local charities, community events and scholarships.

When: Sat. May 10, 2014
Where: Millennium Plaza Park, Lake Oswego, Or
Distance: 5k/10k walk/run and kids’ dash
Cost: $15/kid’s dash; $30-$35/5K race; $40-$45/10K race. Cost includes Sport-Tek T-shirt with printed race bib. Shirts not guaranteed with registration after April 1.

Online: lowomensclub.org/lakerun

SONY DSCPhotocourtesy of Lake Oswego Women’s Club

5. Run Like a Mother

Why go: This Mother’s Day race celebrates moms and their whole families, because what’s a mother without her loving brood? The 5k starts and ends on the Liberty High School track, and passes through tree-lined neighborhoods in between. Before the race, stop by the “motivation station” where you and your kids can decorate signs to cheer each other on. Post-race, enjoy snacks, free face painting and live music. Strollers are permitted on the course as long as they start toward the back. Gear up for the 5k by taking advantage of Run Like a Mother’s free, 6-week training programs, either in-person or self-paced. Details are available online.

When: Sun. May 11, 2014
Where: Liberty High School, Hillsboro, Or
Distance: 5k (with kids’ divisions) and kids’ mile
Cost: $15/kids’ mile; $40/5k run/walk

Online: runlikeamother.com/events/portland-or/

RunLikeaMotherPhoto courtesy of Run Like a Mother

6. The Slime Run

Why go: It’s neon green and messy, but slime makes running lots of fun. The ¾ mile kids’ race takes your little ones through two slime zones and two obstacles. Registered adults are welcome on the kids’ course but strollers are not. The 5k winds through four slime zones and at least as many obstacles. After you wipe off the green goo at the finish line, enjoy food, beverages, a slime toss and a beer garden for the adults. Your race fee includes a headband, mug, medal and a barrel of slime to take home.

When: Sat. May 17, 2014
Where: Portland International Raceway, Portland, Or
Distance: 5k and ¾ mile kids’ run
Cost: $27/children 10 and under; 5K run is $44 until April 15; $50 from April 15-May 15; $65 May 16-17

Online: theslimerun.com/locations/portland

7. Portland Parks & Recreation $5 5k Series

Why go: Yes, you read that right: only $5! As if the low entry fee weren’t incentive enough to register, there will also be music, food vendors, kids’ activities and a 40-foot rock wall to climb. Lots of locals love this excuse to race through Portland’s pretty public parks with their families, so slots are filling up fast. Strollers are welcome, but please start toward the back.

When: One Sunday race a month from May-Oct.
Where: Various parks across Portland.
Distance: 5k run/walk (all ages) and 1k kids’ fun run (8 and under)
Cost: $5/adult 18 and up; free for youth 17 and under

Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks/61144

8. NW Melanoma AIM for the Cure 5k Walk & Fun Run

Why go: Melanoma is the second most common cancer among 15- to 29-year-olds, so it’s important to teach our kids about sun safety and how to spot a suspicious mole. If your young ones don’t appreciate the free packets of sunscreen, they’ll be more thrilled by the snacks and science activities during the companion health fair sponsored by OHSU. Strollers are welcome on the course.

When: Sat. May 31, 2014
Where: Wallace Park, Portland, Or
Distance: 5k Walk/Fun Run
Cost: No registration fee, but each participant is encouraged to raise at least $50.

Online: aimatmelanoma.org/en/aim-for-action/1158/1159/portland-2014.html

Photo: Skipping Stone Photography/Northwest Melanoma Walk 2013

Do you have a favorite family-friendly race? Let us know in the comments section below.

—Halle Smith