We are entering peak race season, so plan out your races now while early bird tickets are still available!

We are entering peak race season, so plan out your races now while early bird tickets are still available!

Run your way up – or down – the West Coast with this bucket-list race guide

Whether you’re a seasoned runner seeking new challenges or a first-timer eager to join the ranks of marathon finishers, we can all agree that once you’ve completed your first race, there’s no going back.

From race day nerves to the challenges, both physical and emotional, alleviated by the supportive community encountered on and off the course, the journey to the finish line and receiving your medal is an experience unlike any other.

As we head into peak race season, the West Coast Traveller has done the leg work and compiled a bucket list guide to help you run your way from the sun-kissed shores of California, along the Pacific Northwest all the way up to the Yukon.

So get ready to lace up and discover the magic of running along the West Coast!

10KM/6.2MILE RACES

Cinco De Mayo Run, Santa Monica, Calif.

Celebrate Cinco De Mayo with this super fun 5K/10K/half-marathon. Running in memory of the 5th of May, a celebration of winning against all odds, you’ll also get a commemorative Cinco De Mayo keychain!

Designed as a stress-free run, timing chips are not included with your bib, however, if you’d like to track your time, simply inform a race day coordinator and they’ll guide you through an effortless process of noting your start and stop times for reporting your final results.

Participants will enjoy a fantastic swag bag including a running t-shirt, finisher’s towel or giveaway and a finisher’s medal. This is all shipped directly to your address (US only).

Additionally, runners can opt for a Technical Running Shirt upgrade for just $5 more. Packet pickup is hassle-free, with swag shipped directly to your address and race bibs provided on race day. Expect your swag to arrive at your mailing address the week of your race.

  • When: Saturday, May 4, 7:30 a.m. for the 5K, 10K and half-marathon race.
  • Starting line: Palisades Park, Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, Calif.

Happy Girls, Oregon

Looking for a little kick-start to fitness while connecting with thousands of women in a supportive running environment? Happy Girls embraces all women offering 5K, 10K, and half-marathon races in two beautiful locations. Connect, inspire, laugh and… RUN!

Runners can register here!

  • When: Saturday, May 11, half-marathon 9 a.m., 10K 9:15 a.m., 5K 9:30 a.m.
  • Starting line: Riverbend Park, Oregon

The Rogue 10K, Medford, Ore.

The 10K begins at Bear Creek Park in Medford. These are fast courses with a net downhill elevation profile.

  • When: 10K starts at 9 a.m.
  • Starting line: Meet at Bear Creek Park, Medford, Ore.

Granville Island Turkey Trot, Vancouver, B.C.

The Granville Island Turkey Trot is a hallmark event for Granville Island and the Vancouver running community. The annual event on Thanksgiving Monday (Canadian Thanksgiving, that is) brings together runners in a celebration of Thanksgiving, demonstrating the community of running, gratitude for the sport, and commitment to supporting others.

This scenic and fast 10km race starts at Granville Island and loops over the Burrard Bridge to the Seawall, before turning at Science World and heading back along the Seawall to the energetic Finish Line on Granville Island.

This event continues to support charity as runners may also donate and fundraise for local food banks.

When: Oct. 14, 8:30 a.m start.

Starting line: Cartwright Street

HALF-MARATHONS – 21.1KM/13.1 MILES

Run The Bridge half-marathon & 5K race, San Francisco, Calif.

Half-marathoners will enjoy spectacular views of San Francisco Bay as they make their way toward the Golden Gate Bridge. You’ll run across the bridge and back as you make your way toward a scenic finish at Ghirardelli Square!

The 5K course starts with San Francisco Bay as the backdrop. 5Kers will run with the half-marathon course taking in spectacular views of the marina before turning around and heading toward a memorable finish at Ghirardelli Square!

Runners can register here!

  • When: Sunday, Nov. 3, 6:50 a.m. start for marathon runners followed by a 7:15 a.m. start for the 5K participants.
  • Starting line: Van Ness Avenue, adjacent to Aquatic Park.

Seattle Half Marathon, Seattle, Wash.

Experience the heartbeat of Seattle as you lace up for the iconic Seattle Half Marathon. Wind through the city’s vibrant neighbourhoods, passing iconic landmarks like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. Join thousands of fellow runners in this exhilarating race and discover the beauty of the Emerald City on foot.

  • When: Sat, June 22, 7 a.m.
  • Starting line: Seward Park, 5900 Lake Washington

The Rogue Half Marathon, Medford, Ore.

The half-marathon starts near Talent, at the Paschal Winery and Vineyard. Bus transportation to the start of the half-marathon is also provided in your registration fee.

  • When: Half-marathon starts at 8 a.m. on Oct. 11
  • Starting line: Runners will make their way to the start line at Paschal Winery and Vineyard

Yukon River Trail Marathon, Whitehorse, YT

Enjoy the natural beauty of Yukon River valley in Whitehorse, Yukon and help celebrate the marathon’s 25th anniversary!

In 2024, the race will begin and end in Shipyards Park and the course will be slightly longer this year as a result (see below for distances).

For much of the course, you’ll be running along or above the Yukon River or one of a few small pothole lakes. It’s a hilly course (see their map for elevation gains and losses). There’s a paved path at both the beginning and end of the course. The remainder is mostly single-track, unimproved forest paths with many roots, so care is needed.

  • When: Sunday, Aug. 4
  • Starting line: Shipyards Park, Ogilvie St, 100 Ogilvie St, Whitehorse

Great Trek, Vancouver, B.C.

The Great Trek in October features races for everyone, with a half-marathon, 10K and 5K, plus a hat-trick option with a bonus prize if you run all three races.

Known as the last great race of the year, this event was formerly called the Fall Classic. Now in partnership with Musqueam and the University of British Columbia, the Great Trek presented pays homage the Great Trek of 1922, where students marched to their current campus.

Join the community and end your running season on a high note – clock a PB time for the year or come just for the fun!

Registration includes:

  • Measured and marked courses
  • Race bib with Timing Chip
  • Race medal included
  • Bonus medal if you complete the Hat-trick
  • $25 off at Forerunners (minimum $75 spend)
  • Water stations, drinks, food, sushi or chili
  • New Great Trek toque or Green Bib options
  • Opportunity to donate or fundraise for charity
  • Race results, leaderboards and more!
  • When: Oct. 26, at 8:30 a.m.
  • Starting line: Forerunners Main St, 3889 Main St, Vancouver

Oak Bay Half Marathon

The 18th Oak Bay Half Marathon, Relay, 10K & Dairyland Kids 1km is Sunday, May 26. The race starts at 8 a.m. (early start 7 a.m.) with a four-hour time limit; the last participant will be off the course by 11 a.m.

For the safety of the participants, the Municipality of Oak Bay and Oak Bay Police Department have allowed full road closures on the route so participants can use full lanes throughout the race.

The half-marathon will start at 8 a.m. at Windsor Park. After winding its way through the charming downtown core and historic residential setting of Oak Bay, the course loops out and back along the scenic seaside route of Beach Drive and finishes back at Windsor Park.

Walkers are more than welcome to join the Oak Bay Half Marathon fun and festivities. All early bird starters will be recorded at the startline at 7 a.m. Course closes at 11 a.m. If you expect to take longer than three hours to complete you must start with the 7am early start.

  • When: Sunday, May 26, 8 a.m.
  • Starting line: Windsor Park

MARATHONS – 42.2KM/26.2 MILES

Avenue of the Giants, Northern California

One of the most beautiful races in the world, this runs through old growth redwoods and follows a natural creek in the middle of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, in rural Northern California.

The course is on a paved road that winds gently up hill but is mostly a flat, fast destination race. With little to distract you, the tall trees inspire the athlete in each of us to be strong. The course is certified and the marathon is a Boston Qualifying event.

A communal pasta dinner takes place the day before the race on Saturday, May 4 from 4 to 8 p.m. The all-you-can-eat dinner is US$20. Dinner tickets will be sold at the staging area on Saturday from noon till 4 p.m.

Finishing medals are given to all participants finishing within the allotted time.

  • When: Sunday, May 5, 7:45 a.m. start for marathon runners followed by a 8:30 a.m. start for half-marathon participants.
  • Starting line: At the underpass where Bull Creek Flats Road meets Highway 101 and the Avenue of the Giants.

Wine A Little, Run A Lot! Santa Rosa, Calif.

Grab your partners in wine and get ready to run through the heart of California wine country at the 16th annual Santa Rosa Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10K & 5K on Aug. 24 and 25, 2024! Race across scenic miles of dazzling vineyards and bottleful pastures on one of the four distance options – all with mostly flat courses in beautiful Sonoma County!

After pouring your heart out on the 5K, 10K, half-marathon or marathon course, make your way across the finish line and into the post-race party in Old Courthouse Square, where two complimentary beers (21+) will be waiting for you! PLUS all marathon and half marathon finishers also take home a complimentary bottle of wine from DeLoach Vineyards.

Runners can register here!

  • When: Sunday, Aug. 25, 6:30 a.m. start for marathon runners followed by a 7:30 a.m. start for the half-marathon.
  • Starting line: Downtown Santa Rosa, Calif. on 4th Street next to the Old Courthouse Square.

The Rogue Marathon, Ashland, Ore.

This fall, enjoy Southern Oregon’s downhill, fast and friendly fall marathon. This scenic, point-to-point course follows the Bear Creek Greenway from Ashland to Medford. With a prize purse of $8,000, a fantastic finisher’s party, custom shirts and finisher’s medals and a family-friendly atmosphere, the Rogue Marathon is sure to capture your heart and challenge your legs.

The marathon begins at Emigrant Lake, just south of Ashland, Oregon. Bus transportation from parking is provided with your registration.

On the big day, buses to the marathon start line will be in front of the Middleford parking garage on 6th Street between North Bartlett and Riverside. The first bus leaves at 5:35 a.m. and the last bus for the marathon leaves at 5:50 a.m.

Runners can register here!

Royal Victoria Marathon, Victoria, B.C.

Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend in Victoria, B.C., will be jam-packed with activities, starting with a Race Expo on Friday and Saturday at Crystal Gardens in downtown Victoria. On Saturday in Oak Bay the 5K (9 a.m.) and Thrifty Foods Kids Run (10 a.m.) takes place. The 5K is the perfect “shakeout run” for your events on Sunday!

On Sunday, Oct 13 the marathon, half-marathon and 8K in downtown Victoria will take centre stage. The in-person Royal Victoria Marathon is a Boston qualifier as well as a World Athletics sanctioned event. It’s also part of the BC Marathon Championships and an Abbott World Majors ranking event. The half-marathon also serves as the Canadian Masters Athletic (CMA) National Half Marathon Championship.

Marathon participants will receive a long-sleeved Under Armor Technical Shirt plus marathon participant special Outway socks. Half-marathon participants receive a long-sleeved Under Armor Technical Shirt. 8K participants will receive a short-sleeved Under Armor technical shirt and 5K participants will receive a RVM Souvenir item.

Runners can register here!

  • When: Sunday, Oct 13. 8k at 7:15 a.m., marathon and half marathon at 8 a.m.
  • Starting line: Kingston and Menzies streets.

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose, Calif.

Welcome to Speed City, USA! Nicknamed after the legendary San Jose State track teams of the ‘60s, San Jose is all about speed. Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose is no different. Run at PR-setting speed on a course that’s bursting with San Jose spirit and loved by the world’s best elites.

Live-bands, DJs, cheer squads and fans jam the streets of downtown San Jose from start to finish, making this one of the most spirited running block parties you can find!

  • When: Oct 5 & 6, 8 a.m. for the half-marathon.
  • Starting line: S Market Street at Viola Avenue

Plan your adventures throughout the West Coast at westcoasttraveller.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @thewestcoasttraveller. And for the top West Coast Travel stories of the week delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our weekly Armchair Traveller newsletter!

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