Want instant workout motivation? We’re all about the 10k! Signing up for a race makes for one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable — and get in some serious cardio along the way.
If you’ve already tackled a 5k — or even if you haven’t — doubling down on the 10k distance (that’s 6.2 miles) strikes the sweet spot between challenging and totally doable. (To get started, check out this beginner-friendly 10k training plan — walking allowed!) Plus, the wanderlust-inducing locations are endless. Book something local, or break out your bucket list to choose a place you never would have explored.
After consulting with avid runners and scouring online reviews and running sites, we put together this list of can’t-miss 10k races across all of North America. (That’s right, we’ve got your ticket to Cuba!) Listed by date, these spring, summer and fall races promise everything from epic scenery to once-in-a-lifetime festivities. Consider it incentive to cross that finish line — and perhaps even book an extended stay for R&R, too.
The Best 10K Races Across the U.S., Caribbean and Beyond!
1. Bolder Boulder 10k
Location: Boulder, CO
Date: May 30, 2016
Everything about this race will make you want to sign up, stat. Thirty bands play at different areas throughout the course, while spectators along the route often set up pit stops with activities like slip ‘n slides and bacon stations. When you reach the finish line inside the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field stadium, 50,000 fans will cheer you on, basically making you feel like a gold-medal Olympian. And to top it off, in honor of Memorial Day, you’ll witness a flyover, skydivers carrying U.S. and military flags and a tribute to those who have served our country.
Registration fee: $50–$100
2. NYRR New York Mini 10k
Location: New York City
Date: June 11, 2016
One of the oldest races (it started in 1972) in one of the nation’s greatest cities, this women-only event requires you to complete one big loop around NYC’s Central Park. The hills may seem daunting, but the amazing skyscraper views make it totally worth the work. After sweating it out on the road, join the post-finish festival near Bethesda Fountain, which provides an iconic backdrop for photos.
Registration fee: $30–$55
3. AJC Peachtree Road Race
Location: Atlanta, GA
Date: July 4, 2016
Celebrate America’s birthday at the site of the biggest road race in the nation. Sixty thousand people gather for this trek through midtown Atlanta, up Cardiac Hill (which climbs 12 stories in less than 1 mile) and ending in Piedmont Park. Surprisingly enough, the T-shirt is a coveted prize: You only get it when you cross the finish line (not when you pick up your bib, like most races) and the artistic design gets chosen via public vote.
Registration fee: $35–$38; lottery closed
4. Correcaminos 10k
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Date: July 10, 2016
If you need an excuse to travel to this breathtaking, tropical locale, this 10k is a strong one (though the beauty itself will do, too). Everything looks better when you can see it on foot, including the Costa Rican landmarks you’ll pass like the court house, national library and the gorgeous park, La Sabana, where you finish. One more feel-good factor: Your entry fee benefits funds that support people with disabilities.
Registration fee: $32
5. International 10k
Location: El Paso, TX to Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Date: August 6, 2016
Ever visited two countries in less than three hours — only traveling by foot? We didn’t think so! But you’ll gain those bragging rights after completing this race that spans more than three miles of El Paso, crosses an international bridge to Juarez and ends right at the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Along the way, you’ll get to check out Spanish cathedrals, beautiful buildings and the Franklin Mountains, at the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains. (Just don’t forget your passport so you can get home!)
Registration fee: $25–$30
6. TD Beach to Beacon 10k
Location: Cape Elizabeth, ME
Date: August 6, 2016
Expect to fall in love with Maine as you trot along Vacationland’s tree-lined streets and ocean vistas, before ending at Portland Head Light, aka the most photographed lighthouse in the world. This area is also home to Joan Benoit Samuelson, who won gold in the first women’s marathon and trained on some of these same roads. It’s no wonder spots usually sell out in just minutes.
Registration fee: $50; sold out
7. Water to Wine 10k
Location: Sonoma County, CA
Date: August 7, 2016
You’ll loop past rolling hills, cattle farms and green vineyards while running on these wine country roads. Plus you get a pretty top-notch prize to celebrate your feat: a complimentary glass of vino from Kendall Jackson Wine Center. Water to Wine is the second race of Run Wine Country’s three-race series, which also includes Windsor Green and Healdsburg Half. Finish all three and you get a custom wine bottle.
Registration fee: $60–$80
8. The Great Race
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Date: September 25, 2016
This race is so nice, you’ll want to run it twice. In fact, a group of 21 dedicated participants have run the Great Race every single year since it started in 1977 — a sign of just how great it is. Many people set PRs, too, courtesy of the mostly downhill course. The route goes through five college campuses: Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, Carlow, Duquesne and Point Park. For every registration, the Great Race also donates $1 to the Richard S. Caliguiri Amyloidosis Fund, started in honor of the former mayor to support medical research.
Registration fee: $25–$60
9. Disney Wine & Dine 10k
Location: Orlando, FL
Date: November 5, 2016
Consider this race the most magical option on the list. Taking place in Epcot, you’ll spot spectators you won’t find anywhere else —that is, Disney characters like Goofy and Mickey. At night, join Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival where world-class chefs cook a wide range of ethnic cuisines. And if you sign up to run the half-marathon the day after your 10k (known as the Lumiere Challenge), you’ll gain free entry to the festival.
Registration fee: $120; sold out
10. Across the Bay 10k
Location: Annapolis, MD
Date: November 6, 2016
More than four miles of this 6.2-miler takes place over the water, as runners travel on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, reaching an elevation of 186 feet. Bring your phone along, too — Instagram-worthy snaps abound on this scenic course. Live music also awaits runners on the other side of the bay.
Registration fee: $60–$70
11. Bahamas 10k
Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Date: November 20, 2016
A fairly new race (now in its fourth year), this 10k provides the ideal getaway when temperatures get too cold. While palm tree-lined paths and balmy weather may be enough to get you to the finish, know that a hot Bahamian breakfast will also be calling your name when you’re done.
Registration fee: $20–$40
12. Marabana 10k
Location: Havana, Cuba
Date: November 20, 2016
Now that some Cuban travel restrictions have lifted (an athletic event such as this one gives Americans permission to visit the country), it’s the perfect time to take a tour by foot. You’ll get to experience Havana’s history and culture along the course, starting at the centrally located Paseo del Prado, and meandering up through Old Havana along the famed Malecon seashore. And while cars are vacated from the roads, you’ll see a living museum of 1950s Cadillacs, Chevys and more, parked along the route, with locals cheering runners from all parts of the globe.
Registration fee: $56–$84
13. Reggae 10k
Location: Negril, Jamaica
Date: December 3, 2016
What better way to kick off a tropical vacation than a run around town to the tune of real, authentic reggae music? Oh, and did we mention it’s set along Negril’s seven-mile stretch of white sand beaches? To cap things off, the finish line is conveniently located near the water, so you can find your own slice of heaven and just…chill.
Registration fee: $60–$85
14. Redondo Beach Super Bowl Sunday 10k
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
Date: February 5, 2017
Commemorate one of the biggest days in sports by getting yourself up and out — and in costume. Besides pretty ocean views, this Super Bowl Sunday 10k also features a big-time costume contest. Even better, you get not one, but two cans of beer at the finish.
Registration fee: $35–$45
15. Caribbean Running Cruise
Location: St. Croix, St. Maarten, Dominica, Barbados and Grenada (starts and ends in San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Date: February 5-7, 2017
Talk about the ultimate run-cation! On each of the six Caribbean islands you stop at, you’ll have an active adventure planned, including a four-mile trail run in St. Croix, kayaking in Dominica and a pirate-themed 10k in Grenada. The leaders of the cruise will have running tips at the ready — and you’ll have plenty of time to soak up some sun at each destination, too.
Registration fee: Cruise plus race entry starting at $1,468
16. World’s Best 10k
Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Date: February 26, 2017
Certified by the International Association of International Marathons and Road Races, this event attracts a whole lot of world-class athletes. You can run right along side them (or maybe a few miles behind) while taking in sites of the picturesque capital city. Find a spot on the beach after you earn your medal. Pina colada optional.
Registration fee: $40-$45
17. Cooper River Bridge Run
Location: Mount Pleasant and Charleston, SC
Date: April 1, 2017
This event boasts a huge health and wellness expo, held the two nights before the race, where you can not only pick up your bib, but also drink beer, listen to live music and shop at more than 300 vendors. During the run itself, you’ll trek over the water on the gorgeous, 3.7-mile Cooper River Bridge, starting in Mount Pleasant and ending in charming downtown Charleston. Sweet sights from the bridge will help you clock speedy miles and at the end, enjoy more music, drinks and food in the popular southern city.
Registration fee: $35
18. Crescent City Classic
Location: New Orleans, LA
Date: April 15, 2017
The huge festival at the finish line is just one reason people dub this 10k the “the original party race.” (The fact that it’s in New Orleans also helps.) Another good reason: You’ll often see the walking group pushing strollers… and kegs. Besides the fun, you’ll see lots of Nola culture, starting at the Superdome, passing through the French Quarter, down Esplanade Avenue (to see beautiful, historic homes) and stopping in front of the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Registration fee: $30–$45
Location: Austin, TX
Date: April 23, 2017
After hitting your stride on the streets of Austin — over the Congress Avenue Bridge and past the Texas State Capitol building — you have access to some of the best post-sweat treats: A free massage, a bloody Mary bar, beer and breakfast tacos. And if you’re still hungry, some of the city’s best food trucks line up to dish out even more delicious eats (bring a few bucks for those).
Registration fee: $30–$35
20. Vancouver Sun Run
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Date: April 23, 2017
Head north to score your quickest 10k on this fast, flat course. This race is all about entertainment, including bands, dancers and DJs, to keep you smiling while you log those steps. You’ll also get to explore downtown Vancouver and, after you’ve earned your medal, party at BC Place Stadium.
Registration fee: $49–$65
Which 10k races top your list? Share your favorites in the comments below!