By Megan Marples
When the holidays roll around, family and friends come together to celebrate—and eat. Is it a coincidence that there are plenty of 5Ks around? These holiday runs are the perfect way to get in the spirit while burning some of those unwanted holiday calories.
Hot Chocolate Run
This race entices chocolate lovers from across the Valley to participate in the annual Hot Chocolate Run. Runners can choose from either the 5K or 15K course. At the end of the race, participants can indulge in hot chocolate and chocolate fondue. Don’t miss out on “America’s Sweetest Race.”
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, hotchocolate15k.com, 7:30 a.m. Sunday, December 3 (5K), and 8:15 a.m. (15K), $49-$79.
The 12K’s of Christmas
Don your finest Christmas clothing and run through Gilbert’s Freestone District Park. Pets are welcome to participate in the races, which are 12K, 6K and 1.2K. The fastest runners aren’t the only one being honored. Participants will vie by best costume, while their furry friends compete for best dressed pet.
Freestone Park, 1045 E. Juniper Avenue, Gilbert, 480.609.3978, 12krun.com, 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday, December 9, $15-$50.
AZ Santa Run
Dress like Santa and help him along his way. Swag bags come with a full Santa suit—beard and all. In addition to costumes, runners will receive a drawstring bag filled with goodies. Back to the task at hand, the 5K course and 1-mile fun run take place within Adobe Dam Regional Park on a developed trail.
Adobe Dam Regional Park, 22603 N. 43rd Avenue, Glendale, 480.570.3333, azsantarun.org, 10 a.m. Saturday, December 9, $35-$70.
Caribbean Christmas Twilight 5K
The Caribbean Christmas Twilight 5K is perfect for those who prefer to run under the glimmer of holiday lights. Run through the decorated streets of Fountain Hills and finish the race with a holiday reggae party. All participants receive a hoodie or racerback tank top, along with a “sunglasses” finisher’s medal.
Fountain Park, 12925 N. Saguaro Boulevard, Fountain Hills, 131events.com, 5 p.m. Saturday, December 9, $15-$35.
Jingle Bell Run
Wear jingle bells and run or walk a 5K for a cause this holiday season—Marines Toys for Tots Foundation. All participants receive a Santa hat, event shirt, finisher’s medal and jingle bells, naturally. There is also a free kid’s dash after the official race.
Victory Lane, 22603 N. 43rd Avenue, Glendale, http://bit.ly/2xyIHMg, 7:30 a.m. Saturday, December 16, $10-$30.
Not into running? Hop in your car and check out these holiday light displays.