Training for a walking event can be a great way to challenge yourself and keep up a healthy walking habit. From small-town races to some of the biggest events in the U.S., there’s a distance for beginners and more advanced folks alike. These 10 walks range from 5Ks to ultramarathons, offering epic scenery and the chance to challenge yourself in a festive, supportive atmosphere.
1. 50-MILE KENNEDY WALK
February 8, 2020 | Potomac, Maryland to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Created to honor Robert F. Kennedy and former President John F. Kennedy, this challenging long-distance walk pushes you physically and mentally. The 50-mile distance follows the scenic towpath along the C&O Canal National Park starting in Potomac, Maryland, and finishing in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. There are six support stops along the route offering everything from water and electrolyte drinks to full breakfast and hot soup to power you to the finish.
2. WICKED WINE RUN/WALK
March 21, 2020 | San Diego, California
If you’re not in San Diego (or planning on traveling there), the Wicked Wine race series hosts other events across the U.S. In San Diego, options include a 5K race and a 1K tasting walk that passes by four different wine tasting stations along the course. A live band, food trucks and even more wine await all participants at the finish.
3. COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN
April 4, 2020 | Charleston, South Carolina
With a three-hour time limit, this 10K race in Charleston is perfect for walkers. It has been around for more than 40 years and is the third largest 10K in the U.S. The festive atmosphere also includes live music, tons of cheering fans and a post-race festival with souvenirs, food vendors, entertainment and more.
4. CAP 10K
April 5, 2020 | Austin, Texas
Billed as the largest 10K in Texas (and sixth largest in the U.S.), this event is popular for a reason. Walkers have plenty of time to finish thanks to a generous 20-minute per mile limit, which allows you to really take in the scenery. The course starts on the Congress Avenue Bridge with beautiful views of Town Lake and finishes in downtown Austin at the Texas State Capitol. It’s also a family-friendly event, with live music and a kid’s zone at the finish.
5. NEW RIVER MARATHON, HALF-MARATHON AND 4-MILER
June 13, 2020 | Boone, North Carolina
If you’re looking for a challenging race with plenty of natural beauty, the half-marathon and 4-miler are a great place to start. If you want even more of a challenge, you can train for the marathon distance. Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, walkers have 5.75 hours to finish the 13.1-mile distance loop course or 6 hours to finish the marathon, which features rolling hills. If you opt for the 4-miler instead, you’ll still get the same pastoral views (think cattle farms and country roads) with a few climbs mixed in to test your legs. Make sure to incorporate incline training into your routine if you’re considering one of these races.
6. KINGDOM RUN
August 2020 | Irasburg, Vermont
This low-key event in beautiful Vermont welcomes walkers to participate in the 5K, 10K or half-marathon distances. The course runs along a well-groomed dirt road with a few gradual inclines that eventually lead up the Jay Peak range, providing picturesque views of the farm country and Northeast Valley below. You’ll also trek along a tree-lined canopy path to the incredible stone castle that this event was named for.
7. BOULDER MOUNTAIN HALF-MARATHON AND 5K
September 26, 2020 | Torrey, Utah
This event outside of Capitol Reef National Park and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah is absolutely stunning in the fall. It begins at the top of Boulder Mountain and ends in Torrey, with participants descending about 8,260 feet as they wind down to the finish. The half-marathon has a 4-hour time limit, which should be doable for most walkers, but if you feel like that might be cutting it close, you can opt for the 5K instead.
8. BOSTON MARATHON JIMMY FUND WALK
September 2020 | Boston, Massachusetts
Held on the same course as the iconic Boston Marathon, this 26.2-mile race is for walkers only. It’s also unique in that the fundraising proceeds from the event benefits the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. More than 8,000 walkers participate in the well-organized race annually, raising around $9 million for the cause. In addition to the marathon, distance options include a 5K, 10K and half-marathon.
9. SURFER’S POINT MARATHON
November 8, 2020 | Ventura, California
The generous 7-hour marathon time limit at this event makes it a favorite among walkers in the Southern California area. The two-loop course begins and ends in Ventura’s Promenade Park. It’s mostly flat and follows the coast, with beautiful oceanfront views. A walker-friendly half marathon (single loop) and 10K are also offered if you’re not up for the full 26.2, and the early start option is also available for anyone who thinks they might need a little extra time to finish.
10. HONOLULU MARATHON
December 13, 2020 | Honolulu, Hawaii
If you’re looking to try the marathon-distance for the first time, this event should be among your top choices. In addition to taking place on the breathtaking Hawaiian coastline, organizers allow everyone to finish. Course services are open to participants for about 9 hours, making it one of the most stress-free for walkers worried about sneaking in under the 6-hour time limit most marathons require. The December date also makes for the perfect warm-weather getaway.