10 Arlington-Area Road Races You Should Sign Up for This Fall
We’ve got live and virtual races for every runner, including those with a hankering for a half-smoke.
The temperatures are hovering in that chilly but not-yet-frosty zone in Arlington, and the leaves are starting to change colors—which means it’s prime running season. To help you get motivated, we’ve rounded up a handful of Arlington road races, both live and virtual, with distances ranging from 1-milers to 5Ks, 10-milers, and even a half-marathon that includes a bold pit stop for an unexpected lunch.
Monster Mash Dash
Oct. 31, 8 a.m.
Hours before you collapse into a post-Halloween candy coma, start the day with this adult 5K, age 14-and-under 5K and 1-mile fun run. Pre-registered runners will receive a race shirt featuring glow-in-the-dark ink. (Ready-made evening costume, anyone?) Each live race is timed, and for those who’d prefer to run on their own, there are also virtual options. Note: According to the website, if “government guidelines regarding COVID-19 determine it best,” the races may go all-virtual. // Franklin Sherman Elementary, 6633 Brawner St., McLean
Distances and registration fees: 5K ($40 through Oct. 29; increases to $45 on Oct. 30), 14-and-under 5K ($30; increases to $35 Oct. 30), 1 mile fun run ($30; increases to $35 Oct. 30)
Monster Mayhem 5K and Monster Mile
Oct. 31, 9 a.m.
This new pair of races for all ages benefits the Healthy Kids Running Series, a national, five-week youth running program aimed to reduce childhood obesity and raise self-esteem. Halloween costumes are encouraged on these 5K and mile-long routes, and winners will be recognized with medals. // Bluemont Park, 601 N. Manchester St., Arlington
Distances and registration fees: 5K ($30), 1 mile ($20)
Run for Recovery
Nov. 6, 9:45 a.m.
Walk, jog or run this untimed 5K around Ballston, and enjoy light bites at Potomac River Running when you wrap up. Proceeds benefit Rock Recovery, an Arlington-based nonprofit that provides recovery services and community education around eating disorders. Note: Masks are required within the store. // Potomac River Running, 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Ballston)
Distance and registration fee: 5K ($15)
PNC Parkway Classic
Nov. 7, 7:30 a.m.
Take in views of Old Town Alexandria and the Potomac in one of three race options—a 10-miler, 5K or kids’ 600-meter dash—at this 37-year-old running event. The 10-mile option starts at Oronoco Bay Park, travels south through Old Town and into Fort Hunt before looping back to the park. After crossing the finish line, participants age 21 and up can pop into the on-site Port City beer garden as part of the post-race party. Proceeds benefit Together We Bake, Dunbar Alexandria-Olympic Boys and Girls Club and Rebuilding Together. // Oronoco Bay Park, 100 Madison St., Alexandria
Distances and registration fees: Live 10-miler ($95.00 through Oct. 31; increases to $100 Nov. 1), Live 5K ($50; increases to $55 Nov. 1), Virtual 10-miler and Virtual 5K ($50), Kids’ Dash ($20) Note: Registration is also subject to sign-up fees.
D.C. Half and Half Marathon
Nov. 13, 8 a.m.
Why run a plain old half-marathon when you can run one that’s interrupted with a half-smoke and chips? In this 13.1-mile race that winds through Arlington and to points south along the Potomac, participants are dared to consume a half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl (whose Rosslyn location closed in 2020) with chips before enduring the second half of the race. Runners must be 13 or older, and while dogs are not allowed, hot dog costumes are most welcome. Proceeds benefit ScholarCHIPS, a D.C.-based nonprofit supporting higher education for children of incarcerated parents. //1725 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Rosslyn)
Distances and registration fees: Half-marathon ($55)
Jennifer Bush-Lawson 5K and Family Fun Day
Nov. 20, 9 a.m.
Prepare to get pumped-up by this inspiring run—named for an Arlington mother of three who died in a 2014 traffic accident—that supports a local foundation aiding low-income mothers with maternal and infant health services. Beyond its 5K through Arlington’s Yorktown neighborhood, the half-day of family fun includes a kids’ fun run, face painting, laser tag, rock wall, for starters. And the participant or team raising the most funds will have the honor of throwing pies at foundation executive director Neal Lawson. // Knights of Columbus, 5115 Little Falls Road, Arlington
Distances and registration fees: 5K only ($30 through Oct. 31; increases to $40 Nov. 1), Fun Day only ($20 through Oct. 31; increases to $25 Nov. 1), 5K plus Fun Day ($40 through Oct. 31; increases to $50 Nov. 1)
Spend Yourself 5K Run/3K Walk
Nov. 21, 7:30 a.m.
At this 10th annual event, speed or stroll through the streets of downtown Falls Church. Participants who register by Oct. 31 will receive custom long-sleeve shirts, and the fastest in-person athletes of all ages are all in the running for prizes. Virtual entrants are also welcome. Proceeds benefit the World Hunger Ministry at Columbia Baptist Church. // Columbia Baptist Church, 103 W. Columbia St., Falls Church
Distances and registration fees: Live/virtual 5K run and live/virtual 3K walk ($40; $20 for kids ages 11 and under)
Arlington Turkey Trot
Nov. 25, 8 a.m.
After going virtual last year, this Arlington Thanksgiving tradition is back with an in-person “Flight to the Finish” race through the neighborhoods of Lyon Park and Ashton Heights. Kids and adults are welcome to race before the big meal, while drones film the scene from above. Registration fees will help support a number of local organizations, including the Arlington Food Assistance Center and PathForward (formerly A-SPAN). And there’s a virtual race option. Note: Mask use is encouraged prior to the run. // Christ Church of Arlington, 3020 N. Pershing Drive, Arlington
Distances and registration fees: 5K ($50 for adults; $25 for children ages 6-17; free for children 5 and under)
Columbia Island Turkey Trot
Nov. 25, 7 a.m.
Run a 5K or push yourself farther with the 10K option along the Potomac at this Thanksgiving Day run benefiting the D.C.-based John P. Mayhugh Foundation, which raises awareness and provides support around post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury among members of the military. Walkers, strollers and virtual participants are all welcome. // Columbia Island Marina, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Arlington
Distances and registration fees: 10K ($40 through Nov. 15; increases to $45 Nov. 16), 5K ($25 through Nov. 15; increases to $30 Nov. 16). You can also sign up for a virtual option ($12 includes a medal; $23 includes a medal and a shirt)
Jingle Bell Run
Dec. 4, Time TBD
It may be a bit crisp outside, but that’s all the more reason to wear your ugly holiday sweater, which is encouraged at this race. Registration includes a shirt and jingle bells, and proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation. Note: Participants must wear masks; check event webpage for updates. // Westpost, 1101 S. Joyce St., Arlington (Pentagon City)
Distances and registration fees: 5K timed ($35 through Oct. 31; increases to $40 Nov. 1 and $45 Dec. 4), 5K untimed ($30 through Oct. 31; increases to $35 Nov. 1 and $40 Dec. 4), Kids run ($20 through Oct. 31; increases to $25 Nov. 1 and $30 Dec. 4), Virtual ($30)