Runners enjoy fresh air in Kalamazoo after tossing packets of colored powder in the air to celebrate spring and completion of a 5K run in this Midwestern college town. Photo via Shutterstock
Runners enjoy fresh air in Kalamazoo after tossing packets of colored powder in the air to celebrate spring and completion of a 5K run in this Midwestern college town.

Hit the ground running as summer turns into fall with 10 weeks of 5K races from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula.

INKSTER, Mich.—A Michigander ran in the Olympics’ 200-meter dash. Inkster’s Anavia Battle placed 16th in her event, and Michigan cheered her on the whole way. 

If seeing the athletic prowess in the 200-meter dash, or any other track and field sport, was exciting you might be interested in hitting the ground running yourself. And if you are, Michigan has plenty of places to test your speed and endurance. 

Whether it’s Girls on the Run in Kalamazoo or Runner’s High on Belle Isle, Michigan summers are replete with marathons, 5Ks, and other running events often designed to celebrate occasions and support charity. And there are dozens across the state between now and Halloween. You could attend one every weekend.

In fact, these ten 5Ks will pack your calendar just like that. 

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Keep in mind that the current fourth wave of the coronavirus is a complex and ever-changing situation. Always check COVID safety guidelines before the races you decide to visit. Some races are also considering either adding virtual participation or pivoting entirely to virtual races, so keep an eye on the 5Ks you like. 

Novi Color Run

Saturday, Aug. 28 at 10 a.m.

24062 Taft Rd., Novi, MI 48375

At every kilometer mark of a color run, runners get doused head-to-toe in colored powder, so be sure to wear white if you’re going to run in Novi. Of course, by the finish line runners will be a kaleidoscope of colorful powders! All proceeds from the color run support the cross country program at Novi High School.

No registration link is presently available.

45th Hillsdale Labor Day 5K Run and Walk

Monday, Sept. 6 at 9 a.m.

300 Water Works Ave., Hillsdale, MI 49242

The long-standing Labor Day tradition weaves through Hillsdale’s park system starting from its Sandy Beach. The run bills itself as unique in the state, as people’s start times are based on age and gender so anyone has a chance to win. Winners’ ages range from 12 to 65! And proceeds go to supporting the cross country program at Hillsdale Community Schools.

Register here.

9/11 Heroes Run

Saturday, Sept. 11 at 4 p.m.

7400 Bay Rd., University Center, MI 48710

Saginaw Valley State University hosts the annual memorial run for the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. This run will be held on the 20th anniversary of the attacks. The event also honors those touched by those attacks, from veterans to first responders to Michigan families. This is a more somber and meditative run, perfect to work through feelings on this tragic anniversary. Runners, ruckers, and walkers of all skill levels and ages are welcome.

Register here.

Be the Light – Glow in the Dark 5K

Saturday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.

W 22nd St, Holland, MI 49423

If you’d rather run in the evening, Be the Light is for you! Be the Light supports mental health services in the Holland area and hopes to raise $14,000 to cover the costs of more than 500 individual counseling sessions. Plus, it’s a glow-in-the-dark 5K.

Register here.

Superhero 5K Run, Walk, or Fly!

Saturday, Sept. 25 at 9 a.m.

915 S. Dort Hwy., Flint, MI 48503

The Superhero 5K helps fund support for children who have survived human trafficking, abuse, or neglect in the Flint area. The in-person race is still up-in-the-air following the latest wave of COVID infections but the race also is taking place virtually, with a flexible 1K or 5K wherever you are with a stream party for participants. Learn more at the Voices for Children website. And run dressed as your favorite superhero. We recommend The Flash, it seems appropriate. 

Register here.

Sleeping Bear Marathon

Saturday, Oct. 2 at 8 a.m.

10484 Niagara St, Empire, MI 49630

Starting just south of Sleeping Bear Dunes, both a marathon and half-marathon kick off before the 5K. For serious runners, this race through Empire will be enticing as a US Track and Field certified course and qualifier for the famed Boston Marathon. 

Register here.

MISH Waterfront Fall 5K 

Saturday, Oct. 9 at 9 a.m.

7146 P Rd, Gladstone, MI 49837

Looking for a chance to see the start of fall colors in the Upper Peninsula? Look no further than the Waterfront Fall race! Run along the north shore of Lake Michigan through the turning leaves from Van Cleve Park to the Terrace Bay Hotel. The Waterfront Fall race also has a 10K and a children’s run on offer for runners and walkers of all ages.

Register here.

Race to Restore

Saturday, Oct. 16 at 10 a.m.

1800 E. Mt. Hope Ave., Lansing MI, 48910

If you’re looking for a little Halloween ambiance for a great cause, travel to Lansing for the Race to Restore. The course goes through the historic Mount Hope cemetery and proceeds go to raising fallen monuments in the cemetery and restoring those that have been damaged. The race is also part of the Michigan Fitness Foundation Challenge.

Register here.

Headless Horseman 5K

Saturday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m.

404 Thompson St., Howell, MI 48843

If you’re really looking for a Halloween race, though, the nighttime run through Howell might be exactly what you’re looking for. The race welcomes assistive devices and pets, and is part of the community’s Legend of Sleepy Howell programming taking place that weekend. They promise this year will be the spookiest yet!

Register here.

Michigan Monster Dash

Saturday, Oct. 30 at 9 a.m.

4570 Huron River Pkwy, Milford, MI 48380

Just before Halloween, come to Milford and join families for the Michigan Monster Dash! This spooky run also includes a half-marathon, 10K, and a 1k dash for kids. All finishers get a t-shirt and medal!

Register here.