Get the scoop on the best family activities in Seattle.

Run For It: 10 Family-Friendly Races

Once your tots are mobile, it’s a race to the finish until… well, we’re not quite sure when there’s time to slow down. So why not put that track star training to good use at a race with a clear end in sight? From family fun runs to those that require serious training, we’ve rounded up the best races in town so you and your crew can run circles around the competition. Or at least have a good time trying. Ready, set, go!

Fall City Days Fun Run kids start

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 and grab some Red Tricycle swag you won’t want to miss. So get out there and run…like the mother you are!

Run Like a Mother moms and kids post race

Date: May 11, 2014
Location: Warren G. Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle
Time: 8:30 a.m. kid’s race; 9 a.m. 5k
Cost: $45/adult; $15/kid
Online: runlikeamotherrace.com

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 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!

Magnuson Race series kids running

Date: May 24, June 21, July 12, August 9 & September 20
Location: Warren G. Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way N.E.
Time: May, June and September races start at 10 a.m.; July and August races start at 9:30 am; kid’s dash is 15 minutes before race start
Cost: $17 5k; $22 10k; $27 15k; $3 kid’s dash
Online: magnusonseries.org

Beat the Bridge
Feeling up for a challenge? Start training now for the 8k Beat the Bridge race. Now in its 32nd 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!

BtB Diaper Derby toddler running

Date: May 18, 2014
Location: Alaska Airlines Arena at University of Washington, 3870 Montlake Blvd. N.E., Seattle
Time: 8 a.m. for the 4-mile walk; 8:15 a.m. for the 1-mile fun run; 8:30 a.m. for the 8k; 9:50 a.m. for the Diaper Derby
Cost: $25 through May 14; $30 May 17 & 18; Free Diaper Derby
Online: www2.jdrf.org

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. Plus, these guys are working super hard to include families in the fun (furry members too!). Our favorite part is the 5 Reasons I Deserve a Better Deal email campaign. Just drop ‘em an email with your (creatively penned) reasons and who knows, you might just get a screamin’ deal on registration. Well-earned rewards for your effort!

Big Back Yard 5k dad and stroller from FB

Date: June 1, 2014
Location: Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond
Time: 9 a.m.; 10 a.m. kid’s dash
Cost: $30 until May 2, $40 after; Free kid’s dash (with adult registration)
Online: bby5k.com

Fall City Days Fun Run
Part of Fall City Days, the Fall City Fun Run (now in its 25th year!) raises money for local area schools. Runners at all levels will love the scenic, flat course, which might just mean a new 5k or 10k PR and subsequent bragging rights to all your Facebook friends. Plus the kidlets will love the quick 1k 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!

Fall City Days Fun Run 2 boys

Date: June 14, 2014
Location: Farmhouse Market, 33521 S.E. Redmond-Fall City Rd., Fall City
Time: 9:15 a.m.; 9 a.m. kid’s race
Cost: $30 5k with tech shirt; $25 5k with t-shirt; $20 5k without shirt; $35 10k with tech shirt; $30 10k with t-shirt; $25 10k without shirt; $10 kid’s 1k (prices include a t-shirt and finisher’s prize)
Online: fallcity.org

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!

Date: July 13, 2014
Location: Gas Works Park, 2143 N. Northlake Way, Seattle
Cost: $45/adult; $40/adult for the 5k walk, stroller stride (non-timed) $18/kid
Online: seejanerun.com

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 Ave., 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!

Float Dodger mom and daughter finish line

Date: July 19, 2014
Location: West Seattle Runner, 3727 California Ave. S.W., Seattle
Time: 9:45 a.m.
Cost: $30/person through June 30, $35/person through July 17; $40/person day of
Online: floatdodger5k.com

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 of colored cornstarch on passing racers (don’t worry they’re gluten-free). 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! And the best part of this series is that registration isn’t even open yet! So families are almost sure to land a coveted spot in this color run. Just sign up here to be in the know about this September 6, 2014 race. Because who doesn’t want to race rad?

Color me rad photo from website

Online: colormerad.com

Looking Ahead
For families that have caught the running bug there are some eerily awesome (as in Halloween themed) family-friendly races this fall, too. So if dressing up tops your munchkin’s squeal list, make a dash for the finish line at the Goblin Gallop, held at Marymoor Park on October 19th. With a kid’s dash & tot trot, a non-competitive 5k, plus trick or treating for healthy treats (score!), this is one spooktacular race event! Or race over to Lincoln Park in West Seattle for the 2014 Monster Dash, benefiting the West Seattle Co-operative Preschools. This race, scheduled for October 25, 2014, is a can’t-miss for the little goblins and ghosties in your life. Because let’s be honest, are there ever really enough opportunities to wear that special Halloween ensemble? Nah.

Monster Dash from website

Have you crossed any of these finish lines with your kids? Share your experiences with us in a comment below. 

–Allison Sutcliffe

Photos thanks to:  Run for Good Racing Co., Run Like a Mother, Color Me Rad’s website , Jenn Beherndt and James McDaniel Photography for the Monster Dash from the website, Alabastro Photography, Fall City Days Fun Run, Big Backyard 5k’s Facebook page, Peter Clancy for the Magnuson Series

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