15 Races for People Who’d Rather Walk Than Run

15 Races for People Who’d Rather Walk Than Run

Walking might just be the most underrated form of activity. Whether you’re powering through three miles or 13, walking burns around 100 calories per mile (depending on your weight, time, and distance) — and carries health benefits galore. The U.S. surgeon general even wants you to start walking more! But from fun 5Ks to half-marathons to the grueling world of marathons and ultramarathons, sometimes it seems like running gets all the glory.

RELATED The Easiest 5K and 10K Training Plan Ever (Walking, Allowed)

That’s why whether you’re a competitive walker or you’re just out there to get active with friends, it’s time to set your sights on these 15 walker-friendly events across the country. So lace up your sneakers and prepare to dominate these distances where walkers are not only welcome, but they might just be the stars of the show. Because walkers deserve race medals, too!

15 Races Where Walkers Can Dominate

Honolulu Marathon

Photo: Honolulu Marathon

1. Honolulu Marathon Race Day 10K Walk
Location: Honolulu, HI
Date: Sunday, December 13, 2015
Who wouldn’t want to spend a winter weekend in Hawaii? With no cap on participants and no cut-off time, the Honolulu Marathon is an established favorite among long-distance walkers. But the non-timed 10K walk held the same morning is a little more our speed (let’s face it, walking a marathon sounds kind of torturous). Take a stroll through paradise on the flat course through downtown Honolulu to Waikiki Beach, and then get right back to your beach chair. Registration fee: $60-$70

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Photo: Preston Mack / WDW Photo

2. Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend
Location: Orlando, FL
Date: Friday, February 19 to Sunday, February 21, 2016
All runDisney events tend to be walker-friendly, but this race weekend really delivers the royal treatment. Choose your own magical distance, whether the Disney Princess Half Marathon, Enchanted 10K or Disney Princess 5K. And keep an eye out for Cinderella, Snow White and more of your favorite Disney characters as they cheer you to a happily ever after finish. Registration fee: $65-$205; sold out.

RNR-New-Orleans

Photo: Ryan Bethke / Competitor Group

3. Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon and 10K
Location: New Orleans, LA
Date: Sunday, February 28, 2016
With a four-hour course limit in this race series, there’s plenty of time for walkers to strut their way through the streets in true NOLA style (a city famous for its walking clubs). The jazzy course parades its way into the festive French Quarter and past the historic homes of the Garden District. The city pulls out all the stops to make you feel like it’s Mardi Gras from start to finish, thanks to upbeat music and all-year-round party vibes. Registration fee: $40-$105

RELATED 15 Fun, Fast and Beginner-Friendly Marathons

Anthem Shamrock Race

Photo: Cindy Graf

4. Anthem Half Marathon and TowneBank Shamrock 8K
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Date: Saturday, March 19 to Sunday, March 20, 2016
This beachfront race wishes its many walkers the luck of the Irish. In conjunction with St. Patrick’s Day, some 20,000 half-marathon (four-hour limit) and 8K (two-hour limit) participants will turn the flat and fast course green with participants’ festive gear. But the fun and good cheer doesn’t stop at the end of the race. We have a feeling it’s the finish line festival (and the Yuengling beer!) that keeps people coming back year after year. Registration: $40-$125

5. Cooper River Bridge Run and Walk
Location: Mount Pleasant, SC
Date: Saturday, April 2, 2016
One of the largest 10Ks in the world, this annual race has tweaked its course numerous times over its 40-year history just to accommodate its large field of walkers. That’s because they want you to be among the 40,000 participants who will take on Charleston’s beautiful two-mile bridge (and then some). There’s a generous three-hour course limit too, and no shortage of supportive fans, camaraderie and live bands along the way. Registration fee: $40-$55

Statesman Cap 10K

Photo: Austin American-Statesman Staff Photographer Ralph Barrera

6. Statesman Cap10K
Location: Austin, TX
Date: Sunday, April 10, 2016
Celebrate the 39th year of this Austin springtime favorite (and another one of the biggest 10K road races around). You and more than 18,000 others can walk from Congress Avenue Bridge, past the Texas State Capitol, and up and down a few hilly neighborhoods and parks, within the 20-minute mile pace limit. But we all know the real race is on social media, where the popular costume contest unfolds — so plan your outfit accordingly! Registration fee: $30-$50

RELATED The 5 Best Cardio Workouts That Don’t Involve Running

One America 500

Photo: The 500 Festival

7. One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Date: Saturday, May 7, 2016
Feel the need for speed? So do the 35,000 participants that make up one of the largest half-marathons in the world, and nearly 20 percent of them are walkers! You’ll need to really rev up the engine for the course highlight — a 2.5-mile lap around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Don’t worry, the event’s “Back of the Pack” crew helps everyone maintain the 18-minute-mile time limit to the finish and provides encouragement along the way. Registration fee: $75-$95

Bay to Breakers

Photo: Zappos.com Bay to Breakers

8. Zappos.com Bay to Breakers 12K
Location: San Francisco, CA
Date: Sunday, May 15, 2016
There are few things San Franciscans are more serious about than this quintessential event, also the oldest consecutively run annual footrace in the world. Some of the more than 60,000 participants are serious about the running, but others (many, many others) are serious about the wild, anything goes fun and crazy costumes (and, um, lack of costumes) that’s been a yearly tradition since 1912. Walking might just be a better way to truly enjoy the rowdy sights and sounds. Registration fee: $50-$140

RELATED The 7 Best Competitions for People Who Hate Running

PeachTree Road Race

Photo: Paul Kim

9. AJC Peachtree Road Race 10K
Location: Atlanta, GA
Date: Monday, July 4, 2016
Before the picnics and the fireworks in Atlanta, it’s a Fourth of July tradition to see 60,000 runners and walkers come together for the world’s largest 10K road race. In fact, more than 150,000 local spectators go out to cheer on participants of all ages and athletic abilities, some in their most patriotic costumes. With such a high-energy course, it’s no wonder so many walkers choose to start their holiday weekend with a bang. Registration: $35-$38

Missoula Marathon

Photo: Missoula Marathon

10. Missoula Half Marathon
Location: Missoula, MT
Date: Sunday, July 10, 2016
This scenic flat and fast course through Big Sky Country welcomes more than 4,000 participants, especially those who follow Jeff Galloway’s run-walk-run method. Galloway is a longtime supporter of the point-to-point race, which has a 7.5-hour time limit, making it one of the most walker-inclusive around. There’s also a 5K and beer run to round out the weekend of small town charm. Registration fee: $75-$115

Portland Coast to Coast Walk:Relay

Photo: Hood to Coast/ Portland to Coast Relays

11. Portland to Coast Walk Relay
Location: Portland, OR
Date: Friday, August 26 to Saturday, August 27, 2016
Play the lottery for a chance to join 400 lucky teams at the largest walking relay race in the world (held in tandem with the popular Hood to Coast Relay). Each team of eight to 12 walkers race the 132-mile course from downtown Portland to the beaches of Seaside, Oregon, through all hours of the day and night — so don’t forget your reflective gear! Since the race began in 1991, it has raised more than $4 million for cancer research. Registration fee: $1,140 per team; sold out for 2016.

RELATED The 17 Best Relay Races in the U.S.

ThedaCare Half Marathon

Photo: Fox Cities Marathon

12. ThedaCare Half Marathon
Location: Neenah, WI
Date: Sunday, September 18, 2016
This is the race competitive walkers have been waiting for! You’ll get a separate start time that’s five minutes after the joggers take off, meaning there’s no need to dodge and weave (or fear getting plowed down from behind). And just to make it even more exciting and scenic, this year’s race features a new course with three miles of paved trail for its 3,500 participants to enjoy. Registration fee: $65-$110

Boston Jimmy Fund Walk

Photo: John Deputy

13. Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk
Location: Boston, MA
Date: Sunday, September 25, 2016
You might have zero desire to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but over 8,500 walkers can lace up for the same iconic course (and choice of 3, 5, 13.1, or 26.2 miles) at one of the largest charitable walking events in the world. Since it started in 1989, the walk has fundraised more than $100 million to support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. And just like on Marathon Monday, the whole city of Boston comes out to support you. Registration fee: $25-$40; each participant must also fundraise at least $300 in donations (walkers under 12 years old must contribute at least $100)

Avon Walk to End Breast Cancer

Photo: The Avon Foundation for Women

14. Avon 39: The Walk to End Breast Cancer
Location: Houston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, New York
Date: See website for dates
Want another opportunity to walk for a cause? Put on your pink and join this two-day, 39.3-mile event in seven major U.S. cities this spring and fall. Whether you walk as a team or an individual, you’ll be supporting one of the largest and most well-respected breast cancer walks in the country. The distance is no joke, but knowing that these walk have raised more than $550 million since they began in 2003 will help you power through. Registration fee: $50 (plus $1,800 fundraising minimum)

RELATED 9 Inspiring Breast Cancer Awareness Races

Walk MS

Photo: National MS Society

15. Walk MS
Location: 550 locations nationwide
Date: See website for each location’s dates.
Every year, 330,000 people all over the country throw on some sneakers and walk with one goal in mind: to end multiple sclerosis for good. Each local event, sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, hosts a 5K and 1 mile, plus options to walk as a team or individual. Since 1988, these walkers have raised more than $920 million to provide research and support for the 2.3 million people affected by MS. No registration fee, but fundraising is encouraged.

Are you ready to walk the walk? Tell us about your favorite walker-friendly race or event in the comments below!

Comments