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Run For It: 8 Family-Friendly Races

They’ve been training for this their whole lives. Running around parks. Running around playgrounds. Chasing the dog around the kitchen table. And of course, running circles around you. With dedication rivaled only by Olympic athletes and Pamplona bull runners, these little Flash Gordons are out there every day practicing their sport. And here’s the perfect chance for them to show off their skills. We’ve rounded up a bunch of races that the whole family will love. Whether it’s color bursts, salamander chases, or float dodging that intrigue you, you’re sure to find something for every runner in your family at these events. On your mark. Get set. Go!


Run Like a Mother
If you love running as much as your little ones do, have we got a race for you. With a children’s 1-mile race, followed by a 5k race for moms, it’s the perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day as a family. Your little ones will love the authenticity of their race experience, from the race shirt, bib and timing chip, right down to the finisher ribbon they receive at the end. Talk about feeling like a big kid! After your kiddos have cheered you on with homemade signs (materials for which are provided at the race) and helped you cross the finish line (they can run with you for the last 50 feet), stay to play at the post-race party. You’ll find plenty of food, face painting, crafts and Ben The Balloon Man. Don’t forget to stop by the Red Tricycle booth to say hello to our Seattle City Editor, Kristina Moy. She’s sure to have some Red Tricycle schwag you won’t want to miss. So get out there and run…like the mother you are!

Run Like a Mother 3

Location: Warren G. Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle
Date: May 12, 2013
Time: 8:30 am kid’s race; 9:00 am 5k
Cost: $40/mom; $15/kid

Magnuson Race Series
This year-round series rocks all summer long with family-friendly race events that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re training up for a big race or just trying to improve your time, the monthly 5k, 10k, and 15k events provide a perfect gauge. Plus, the waterfront scenery and easy course just can’t be beat. The 400-meter kid’s dash (for kids ages 2-10) always starts 15 minutes before race time. It’s the perfect chance to run with your kids and get warmed up for your competition. And the little tots can get their ya-ya’s out at the park while you’re taking your laps. When everyone’s done, let Spot run free in the off-leash dog park, just around the corner from the starting line. They may not get ribbons, but your furriest family members will be glad they weren’t left in the dust!

kids run

Location: Warren G. Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way NE
Date: May 25, June 13, July 13, & August 10
Time: May and June races, 10:00 am; July and August races 9:30 am; kid’s dash is 15 minutes before race start
Cost: $14 5k; $19 10k; $24 15k; $3 kid’s dash

Beat the Bridge
Feeling up for a challenge? Start training now for the 8k Beat the Bridge race. Now in its 31st year, this area-favorite to raise money for diabetes has a little something for everyone. Parents will love the excitement of racing to cross the University Bridge before it raises. Walkers will love the casual, stroller-friendly 4 mile course that splits time between the UW campus and the Burke-Gilman trail. Young athletes can test their mettle at the 1-mile fun run. And the whole family will love with a capital “L” the Diaper Derby for crawlers on up through toddlers (3 years). We’re pretty sure those bibbed (think race not food) participants will be the cutest things you’ll see that day!

Run for the Zoo

Location: Alaska Airlines Arena at University of Washington, 3870 Montlake Blvd NE, Seattle
Date: May 19, 2013
Time: 8:00 am; 9:50 am Diaper Derby
Cost: $25; Free Diaper Derby

Big Backyard 5k
Join the celebration and help raise money for King County Parks at the Big Backyard 5k. Mom, dad, Rover and the kids will all find a little something special at this race. Strollers are not only permitted, but encouraged, to be on the course, moms and dads. And promises have been made about treats (and water) for man’s best friend, so be sure to pack the leash along with your running shoes. The wee ones will enjoy a quick, untimed 1/4 mile dash after Bert the Salmon, and each will receive a race bib and finisher’s ribbon, which make pretty cool keepsakes for the under 10 crowd. And be sure to stay for grub and goodies after you’ve crossed the finish line. Well-earned rewards for your effort!


Location: Marymoor Park, 6046 West Lake Sammamish Parkway NE, Redmond
Date: June 2, 2013
Time: 9:00 am; 10:00 am kid’s dash
Cost: $35; Free kid’s dash (with adult registration)

Fall City Days Fun Run
Part of Fall City Days, the Fall City Fun Run raises money for local area schools. The scenic, flat course just might mean a new 5k or 10k personal record. And your tiny tot will love the quick dash over the Snoqualmie River to the Fall City Park and back. Take advantage of a sunny summer day (fingers crossed) and stay for the Fall City Days celebration after your run. Your young runners will be zonked after the parade and pony rides. Thank goodness for scenic car rides back to the city!


Location: Farmhouse Market, 33521 SE Redmond-Fall City Road, Fall City
Date: June 15, 2013
Time: 9:15 am; 9:00 am kid’s race
Cost: $25 5k; $30 10k; $10 kid’s 1k (prices include a T-shirt)

See Jane Run
Champagne, chocolate and a massage must mean a girls’ spa day, right? Think again. It’s actually what you’ll find waiting for you at the finish line of the See Jane Run 5k. Hello carrot, meet stick! Bring your strollers for this one, mama and run as a family in the 5k, or run alongside your kiddos in the 1-mile kid’s race. Little athletes between the ages of 1 and 12 can participate in this untimed event. And although they don’t get chocolate at the end (no one says you have to share), the perfect kid-sized treat will be waiting for them–Jelly Belly Sports Beans. Because even the Littles have to recharge their batteries somehow!


Location: Gas Works Park, 2143 N Northlake Way, Seattle
Date: July 14, 2013
Time: 8:00 am; 10:30 am kid’s race
Cost: $45 adult; $18 kid

Float Dodger 5k
Argh Matey! Grab your pirate patch or princess wand along with your running shoes and race on over to dodge some floats in this odd(ly fun) Seattle race tradition. All participants complete a quick 3.1 miles in the hopes of outpacing parade floats not too far behind. (Rumor has it that if you can keep an 18-minute mile pace, you should be in the clear. Phew!) But wait, there’s more! Runners are encouraged to don their best pirate or princess costume as they run down California Avenue, which is sure to be lined with spectators (don’t forget to smile and wave). If you’ve got the best costume, there are fabulous prizes to be won. Strollers and dogs are welcome at this one. See you at the finish line!


Location: West Seattle Runner, 3727 California Avenue SW, Seattle
Date: July 20, 2013
Time: 9:45 am
Cost: $30

Color Me Rad
Color Me Rad takes the idea of running as an art form to a whole new level. Runners literally become the canvas in this colorful family-friendly 5k race to benefit the Seattle Children’s Hospital. How does it work? It’s simple, really. Race volunteers line the race route and skillfully launch color bombs made of colored cornstarch on passing racers. Then, presto-chango, their whitest white running duds are magically transformed into a colorful masterpiece something akin to a Jackson Pollack. Sound like fun? We sure think so! And we love that kids under 7 race for free with a paying adult (but won’t get a t-shirt). That’s serious motivation for the whole family!


Location: Marymoor Park, 6046 West Lake Sammamish Parkway NE, Redmond
Date: August 10, 2013
Time: 8:00 am, with waves every 20 minutes until 10:00 am
Cost: $40

Did we miss your family’s favorite race? Let us know in the comments section below.

–Allison Sutcliffe

Photos thanks to: Run Like a Mother website, Todd Rosenberg Photography , Marcy Grantor and Color Me Rad website


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