Your kids may already have you running all over town, but have you ever considered making it official and signing up for a family-friendly race? Depending on their age and skill level, kids can make the perfect running buddies, whether in the stroller, on the sidelines cheering up a storm, or even running along right beside you. We’ve rounded up some upcoming races perfect for families, and compiled some expert tips for training with kids. There’s nothing better than crossing the finish line as a family!

Photo via The San Francisco Marathon Facebook Page
Photo: The San Francisco Marathon 

1. Pick a race date far enough in advance to give yourself time to achieve your goals. It could be a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon or more! You’ll be surprised with what you can accomplish with time and planning.

2. Build up miles slowly. The hardest thing to do while training is avoiding getting injured. You need to progress very slowly, and add 1 mile to your long run per week tops.

3. Run at least 3 times per week and leave the long run for Saturday or Sunday mornings. The other two runs can be done when your schedule allows. Get up extra early during the week, or fit in that run while your kids eat dinner, watch a movie, or after they fall asleep.

4. If you plan to race with a stroller, train with a stroller. Plan your short runs to they end at a playground where the kids can get out and do their own running around while you stretch it out. (check out our list of stroller-friendly routes right here.) Long weekend runs can coincide with nap time. Don’t stop running until they wake up!

5. Stock your smartphone. Prepare a fun playlist to keep you pumped and motivated and download an app like Runkeeper, Nike Running or Strava to track your progress.

6. For your little running buddies, bring snacks they can much on the go and plenty of water for both of you. Get a small portable speaker so you can all jam out!

7. Plan your routes ahead of time. Run through parks or neighborhoods you enjoy, or maybe end the run at a special café or bookstore.

8. Reward yourself after every run; a piece of dark chocolate or perhaps a nice scrub in the shower.

9. Talk with your kids about your runs and milestones. They will be so proud of you! And it may inspire them to skip the stroller and run right along side you. Many races have mini versions for kids.

10. If you are running solo (sans kids), make sure they come and cheer you on from the sidelines. Besides giving you the push you’ll need to keep going, they will never look at mom or dad the same again: Super hero status for life!

Photo via Mermaid Series Facebook page
Photo: Mermaid Series Facebook page 

Ready to make it official? Here are few upcoming kid-friendly races to choose from:

San Francisco

Father’s Day Rainbow Falls 5K
Join this scenic and short family race through the north side of Golden Gate Park to celebrate all dads. Kids all of ages will lace up their sneakers and run right alongside their parents.

Date: June 21, 2015 at 9:00 am
Where: Golden Gate Park, John F Kennedy Drive & Transverse Drive.
Price: $5 for 18+, $3 for 13-17 year olds and free for kids under 12.

The San Francisco Marathon
This is arguably the city’s biggest race of the year, and the ultimate goal race. Runners pass through some of San Francisco’s most iconic spots, including over the Golden Gate Bridge, up Haight Street and through the Presidio. Sign up for the full, half or 5k and stay for the kid-friendly festivities, food and free massages at the end of the race.

Date: July 26, 2015 at 5:30 a.m. (later start times for half and 5k)

Where: Mission St. and The Embarcadero.
Price: Marathon $165, Half Marathon $115 to $120 and 5K $45

The Mermaid Run 5K and 10K
The is the perfect mother-daughter race. Run alongside your fellow ladies in this all-female event, which will take you by beautiful Crissy Field and across the Golden Gate Bridge. There is a mini mermaid dash for girls ages 6 to 12.

Date: November 1, 2015 at 7 a.m.
Where: Little Marina Green 3500 Yacht Road
Price: 10K individual $70, 10K group $50, 10K Youth (under 19) $40, 5K $30-40 and $15 for mini mermaid.

East Bay

See Jane Run women’s Half Marathon, 5K & Kids Run
This beautiful flat course runs through Alameda with sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay Area. There is also a 1-mile kid’s race, and they serve chocolate and champagne at the finish line!

Date: June 21st, 2015 at 8 am
Where: Crown Beach Memorial Park, Alameda, Ca
Price: Half Marathon $95; 5K $55; Kids Race $20

Photo via MyNextRace
Photo via MyNextRace

Berkeley Trail Adventure
Walkers and runners will enjoy wonderful trails in the Tilden Regional Park and Wildcat Canyon. This is a fabulous race for runners of all ages, and is particularly a great one for those embarking on their first trail-running event. Tell the kids it’s just like hiking, but faster.

Date: September 26th, 2015 at 7 a.m.
Where: Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley, CA
Price: 10K: $40; Half: $50; 35K: $65; 50K: $70


Run for the Seals 5K
This run benefits The Marine Mammal center and takes runners along the Coastal trail with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s open to all ages and leashed dogs are welcomed. Be sure to stay for Family Fun Day once you cross the finish line.

Date: August 15th, 2015
Where: The Marine Mammal Center, 2000 Bunker Rd. Sausalito, Ca
Price: Adult $40 and Child (under 12) $20

Photo via The Marine Mammal Center

Photo via The Marine Mammal Center


San Jose Double Racing Festival
Two live bands, food, a Kid’s Cup and activities make this double 10K and 5K race a fun festival for the whole family.

Date: August 22, 2015
Where: IDT Campus, 6024 Silver Creek Valley Road, San Jose
Price: $49 for 10K+5K, $44 for 3K+2K and $15 for Kids Cup (1 mile + ½ Mile). All proceeds from the Kids Cup go to Youth programs.

 Kids Cup in San Jose Double Race

Photo via San Jose Double Racing Festival

South Bay

Vibha BayArea DreamMile 2015
The Dream Mile goal is to increase awareness about the challenges facing underprivileged children and to raise funds to aid in their education. In addition to 5K, 10K and a half marathon option, there is a kids’ carnival, face painting and free food at the finish line.

Date: June 14th at 7:30 a.m.
Where: Hellyer County Park, San Jose
Price: $25 for 5K, $30 for 10K and $50 for Half Marathon

To find even more races near you, check out and

Have you or are you planning to run a race with your kids? Tell us about it in the comments below!

—Sonia Gandiaga