15 Family-Friendly Spring Running Races
Want to push your jogging stroller against some competition? Get the whole family moving at one of these fun events.
If you’re parent who runs — especially one just getting into the sport, or trying to get back into shape — a jogging stroller is as essential as comfortable shoes, but many races discourage or ban them outright. The solution? Family-friendly running races, which welcome children, either in strollers or in a kid-safe distance race, and sometimes both.
Some races ask that strollers start at the back of the pack, for safety reasons, but it’s still a great opportunity to get some exercise and introduce your kids to a sport that can offer a lifetime of fitness and fun.
Here’s a list of upcoming races around the Main Line and Philly:
April 1, 2017, West Chester
No need to get up early for this Saturday afternoon stroller- and family-friendly festival of running events. The Kids Fun Run is scheduled for 3:30 pm and features West Chester University’s mascot Rammy (who runs with the kids), and the 5K Run and 2.5K walk soon after, at 4 pm. Proceeds go directly to educate more than 900 people on managing diabetes at the Diabetes Self-Management Program at Chester County Hospital. Strollers are welcome.
April 1, 2017, Wayne
Even though the 5K course is USATrack & Field certified, that doesn’t mean the event is hard core. This course for this fundraiser for The Saturday Club, a non-profit women’s group, passes two family-friendly parks in Wayne and allows strollers. The adults will compete for awards for the top three overall male and female finishers, as well as the top three in each age group. Kids 10 and younger competing in the 5K can win prizes for the top three finishers among boys and girls, and the half-mile kids’ race is ideal for 2- to 8-year-olds.
April 8, 2017, Navy Yard, Philadelphia
A nationwide fundraising walk and run focused on raising money to help individuals with blood cancers, like lymphoma and leukemia, the whole family can feel good while getting their run on. Kids 5 years old and younger can waddle in the tot trot, and older kids can try out the 1K or 5K when you or another adult accompany them. Strollers are welcome, but are encouraged to line up behind other runners for safety.
April 8, 2017, Horticulture Center, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia
For a spring race with beautiful views of fluffy pink cherry blossoms and a fun atmosphere, register for the stroller- and dog-friendly celebration of Japanese art and culture event. The course winds through Martin Luther King Jr., Horticulture and Lansdowne Drives past the blooming trees, Memorial Hall and Shofuso Japanese House and Garden (and free admission with registration). Participants with strollers and dogs are asked to start at the back of the pack, for safety.
April 9, 2017, Council Rock High School North, Newtown
Tired of the standard 5K or 1-mile race options? Look into this charity race, which is hosting three different events: An 8-miler, a 5K, and a 1-mile fun run. Focused on bringing awareness to blindness and visual impairments in the Bucks County area, the 8-mile out-and-back course runs through Tyler State Park. while the 1-mile fun takes place on the track.Those who wish to complete the 5K run/walk with strollers may bring them.
April 15, 2017, Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia
Enjoy a family workout at America’s oldest zoo – before it opens to the public! The 5K and 1-mile mostly flat course treks one lap around the zoo and in the surrounding streets, where participants wearing complimentary bunny ears can say good morning to giraffes, rhinos, and free-ranging peacocks (don’t forget to look up at the Zoo360 trail for lions, tigers, and gorillas). Snacks and drinks to follow at the post-race party. Proceeds raised go to Parkinson’s research. Discounted all-day zoo tickets are available to participants. Strollers are welcome and children younger than 2 years old are free.
April 22, 2017, West Goshen Community Park, West Goshen
If the idea of walking or running with your furry companion and family sounds like fun, then register your tribe for the 30th annual Walk for Paws and 5K Run. The event raises money to support thousands of animals who enter Brandywine Valley SPCA shelters every year. Post-event participants can enjoy food trucks, a beer garden, and plenty of games, like bubble-bowling.
April 22, 2017, Havertown High School, Havertown
Celebrate spring in Havertown at this unique community event where kids and parents can run or walk in groups with families and friends. Gear up for the 10th annual 5K run or walk (strollers are welcome) and 1-mile Elementary School Challenge, held in honor of the school district’s director of technology, Jane Greenspan, who died of cancer in 2016. Participants 18 and younger are eligible to enter a drawing for two Fitbits, and race bibs can be used as tickets for free or reduced-price items at Party on the Town, the race’s post-party event.
April 22, 2017, Norristown Farm Park
Be the first family in your neighborhood to sport a Run for the Kids T-shirt after completing the 5K or 1-mile fun run on the paved path free of vehicular traffic. Funds raised go to helping enhance the lives of kids facing neglect, abandonment, or abuse. Please enter from Germantown Pike at Barley Sheaf Road.
April 23, 2017, Garnet Valley Elementary School, Glen Mills
With the intent to raise money for increasing hands-on technology and classroom experiences, runners and walkers can tackle the 5K and 1-mile fun run to raise additional funds for students at Garnet Valley Elementary School. Strollers are welcome, but in an effort to insure accurate timing, stroller participants are asked to line up in the back. Kids in third grade through fifth grade are eligible for awards in the 5K and 1-mile fun run distances. Moon-bounces and Kona Ice during the events make it even more family-friendy!
April 23, 2017, Valley Forge National Historical Park, Valley Forge
Take your 6- to 14-year-old soldier for an independent workout to VFNHP for the Young Patriots Run: 1.776 km (= 1.1 miles) past the Muhlenberg Brigade huts, a timed race, with finishers medals and certificates. Parents are encouraged to stand on the sidelines — or consider conquering the rolling hill 5-mile course. The 3-mile walk welcomes strollers and leashed dogs for a more inclusive workout. A finish line expo follows; all proceeds are reinvested in the popular historical park.
April 29, 2017, Narberth
For 22 years, almost 1,000 runners have been toeing the line at this Main Line sign-of-spring, feel-good 5-mile run, 1.5-mile walk, and Kids Fun Run to raise funds for children fighting cystic fibrosis, an inherited chronic disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems. In an effort to be as family-friendly as possible, active moms and dads with strollers are welcome, but asked to start at the back of the pack. Check their Facebook page for updated information.
April 30, 2017, Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia
This inaugural event is a zoo fundraiser and lets you run through the zoo before it opens to the public. You’re welcome to run with a stroller, but asked to line up at the back of the pack.
April 30, 2017, Phoenixville Area High School, Phoenixville
Register your family for the colorful 5K and 1-mile fun walk/run and help support single parents returning to school. This stroller-friendly event welcomes active parents and is chock full of support for runners and walkers, and “color splash” stations along the 3.1-mile course.
April 30, 2017, Caley Elementary School, 725 Caley Road, King of Prussia
Established in 2015 by the township’s educational foundation, the stroller-friendly 5K and 1-mile walk raises money to enhance education in Upper Merion Township School district and support teachers. Post-party raffles and prizes add to the family-friendly atmosphere. Register before April 14 to get discounted rates.
Photograph courtesy of the Saturday Club.