These Fitness Events Are All About the Food

Run — or power walk — for cupcakes, steak and more.

Photo by: Courtesy of the New York City Cupcake Run

Courtesy of the New York City Cupcake Run

Need an excuse to get active? Many organized races around the country are adding food and drinks to the mix. There’s a smorgasbord of race events from coast to coast, creating a menu of options extensive enough to make your stomach growl and your mouth water as your feet pound that pavement.

Five years ago, I made a promise to myself that I would run one half-marathon every year. This September, I ran my fifth. In the months leading up to the race, I was on a mission to find fun ways to train, and what better way to motivate myself than to run for food?

Want to run for food? Here are some of the food races out there guaranteed to fit any appetite. Get ready to sprint first and splurge later.

Photo by: Courtesy of the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Run

Courtesy of the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Run

Main Dishes

It is always important to lay a solid base when you run. If you are carb-loading or powering down with protein, these main dish races have you covered.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Run (Washington Crossing, PA)

Month: March

What to expect: Warm up inside and out with this 4-mile run. After the race, fill up on the classic comfort-food combo of grilled cheese and tomato soup. And every runner gets a commemorative mug that’s ideal for holding homemade soup.

Month: October

What to expect: Participants can choose between a 5K and 10K race option. Each runner gets a full steak dinner. And, if that wasn’t enough of a draw, attendees can try to lasso a fake cow to practice their cowboy skills. Fees benefit the local YMCA and the Idaho Food bank.

The Pasta Run (Buffalo, NY)

Month: September

What to expect: This 5K race gives pasta lovers something to noodle over. Participants get a commemorative bowl and fork to use at the race’s pasta buffet (or just take home). VIP passes entitle runners to post-race all-you-can-eat pasta, all-you-can-drink beer and wine and a chef’s hat, too.

Taco Trot (Succasunna, NJ)

Month: April

What to expect: Not only does this 5K promise a taco finale, it benefits the Young Survivors Coalition, which helps younger women diagnosed with breast cancer. Do good then dig into a spread of at least 1,500 tacos.

Pierogi Dash (Cleveland, OH)

Month: June

What to expect: Run — don’t walk — this 5K course through Cleveland’s historic Slavic Village! This race is a nod to pierogi, the traditional Eastern European dumpling often topped with onions and sour cream. Sausage, beer and, of course, pierogi await runners at the finish line. Keep an eye out for creatively costumed dumpling lovers along the way.

Photo by: Lynn Rodemann

Lynn Rodemann

Sweet Treats

Add a little sugar rush to your race-day routine.

PeepsFest 5K (Bethlehem, PA)

Month: December



Photo by: Craig Roberts

Craig Roberts

What to expect: Peeps, the iconic marshmallow confection, are the star of this 5K and 1-mile course. While Peeps are usually associated with Easter, this run is held on New Year’s Eve, giving you one last go at a sugar rush before resolutions kick in. Participants get their fair share of Peeps candy which could always be re-purposed as part of a fireside marshmallow roast in the warmth of your own home.

New York City Cupcake Run (Astoria, New York)

Month: October

What to expect: Think of this race as pacing at a mile per cupcake. Run 3.1 miles. Eat one cupcake per mile (pictured up top). Finishing the race means you’ve finished three cupcakes. Then, join your fellow runners for a drink at the after-party! Entry fees support NYC Cares, an organization that connects volunteers with service opportunities.

Candy Dash 5K (Chicago)

Month: September

What to expect: If you loved the board game Candy Land as a kid, you will love this real-life candy course as an adult. Run 3.1 miles, eat some of your favorite candy along the way and let that sugar rush fuel you to the finish line! Not in Chicago? No problem. Candy Dash offers a virtual race as well. Just sign up, run where you are and get the swag sent to you.

Pie High Trail Run (Snohomish, WA)

Month: July

What to expect: This course is for serious runners who are serious about pie. Entrants can choose from a 5K, 10K or a half-marathon (for the truly upper-crust athlete). No matter which you decide on, everyone gets to stuff their pie hole with pie, making the accomplishment that much sweeter.

Drink Up

After running all of those miles, you deserve a drink. There are a lot of boozy runs out there. Here’s a flight of them for you to try.

The Great BEERed Run (Traverse City, MI)

Month: November

What to expect: Beer and beards are the name of the game for this fun 5K. Have no fear if you have no beard. One will be provided to you. Runners also get a bottle opener and a tall, cold beer. If your facial hair game is stronger than your athletic skills, there’s a contest for best beard, too.

The Hard Cider Run (Nationwide)

Month: Spring (exact dates vary by location)

What to expect: Not into beer? The Hard Cider Run is the 5K for you. This is a race series with multiple locations and a virtual option. All racers get a medal that doubles as bottle opener for the hard ciders they can drink en route. If you want to also eat doughnuts during the run, sign up for the Hungry Donut Challenge.

Wicked Wine Run (Nationwide)

Month: Varies by location

What to expect: Wine lovers unite! Choose between a 5K run with wine at the finish or a 1K "tasting walks" where you can try four different wines while pretending to be active. Costumes encouraged.

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