For some runners, having races on your calendar keeps you honest—you’re less likely to skip a run if you know you have a race coming up. And regularly crossing finish lines can push you to run longer distances or faster, which gradually builds your fitness. Even Olympian runner Molly Huddle has talked about “racing back to fitness” after having a baby.
Thanks to our just-about-perfect weather conditions all year long, San Diego is a great place to train for and participate in varying distances to test your skills and attempt a distance you may have never thought possible. From 5Ks to 10Ks, half- and full marathons, runners can find every type of race to work on a PR.
Below are 10 San Diego road races with distances up to 26.2 miles going on throughout the year:
Date: April 2 | Distance: 3.1 mi. | Cost: $50
This 5K race through downtown Carlsbad and along the ocean is known as the world’s fastest because many world records have been set there. The course is fast and there are tons of spectators to give you a motivational push.
Date: April 23 | Distance: 3.1 mi. | Cost: $50
This flat and fast 5K around Fiesta Island is helpful for runners to get ready for longer distances in a few months. The course also has a half marathon and 10K option if you’re ready for a longer distance, but no need to push it.
Photo Courtesy of Navy Bay Bridge Run
Date: May 21 | Distance(s): 4 mi.
May brings you to a slightly longer distance–4 miles–and gives you the unique chance to run up and over the Coronado Bridge. It’s a challenge, because the bridge is steeper than it looks, but the Navy band plays at the top to motivate you. Plus, the views can’t be beat.
Date: July 30 | Distance: 6.1 mi | Cost: $50
If you’re ready to race longer distances, try this 10K course around downtown San Diego. The course is not totally flat and includes some twists and turns, so be ready for an extra challenge.
Courtesy of Crown City Classic
Date: July 4 | Distance: 7.4 mi | Cost: $59
This annual 4th of July race in Coronado gives you the opportunity to race another 5K, or the very unusual 12K distance (or about 7.4 miles…get it?) Stick around after the race for the island’s parade and 4th of July festival.
Courtesy of Balboa 8 Miler
Date: August 5 | Distance: 8 mi. | $60
This race started by San Diego Track Club in 1955 is now one of the oldest races in the United States. It gives you a chance to try a longer distance, and takes you through a scenic course around Balboa Park.
Date: August 20 | Distance: 13.1 mi. | Cost: $119
If your running has been going well and you’re ready for a big challenge, try this beautifully scenic half marathon that starts at Cabrillo Point and ends in Balboa Park. There are some serious uphills and downhills along the way, but the historic course makes it worthwhile.
Photo Courtesy of Pacific Beach Half Marathon
Date: October 7 | Distance: 13.1 mi. | Cost: $89
If you don’t want the hills in the AFC Half Marathon, or need a little more time to train, this race around Mission Bay is a great option. It’s flat and fast, and the cool ocean breezes should help with San Diego’s notoriously hot fall weather.
Date: November 19 | Distance: 26.2 mi. | Cost: $140-$150
This low-key race in Escondido takes you on a gentle rolling hills course as you run laps around the park. You can compete and run the full marathon yourself, or break it up among a team of runners to compete as a relay race.
Date: January 14 | Distance: 26.2 mi. | Cost: $129
This winter marathon has perfect weather–cool and sunny, usually–and a beautiful ocean course to help you pass the miles enjoyably—as much as you can during 26.2 miles. The race is also a Boston Marathon qualifier and a great course to set new PR.