The fall is prime time for 5Ks and marathons — the air is crisp, the tourists are fewer and the NYC Marathon is just around the corner.
Whether you’re a serious runner or like to do 5Ks from time to time, the city has a lot of options when it comes to races. If you need a little encouragement to get running, there are some that promise doughnuts, pizza and cupcakes. If it’s a medal you’re after, there are quite a few that give them out for finishing. Have a big sense of humor? Try the Santa suit run or the haunted 5K.
No matter what your level is, there is a race for you.
Check out some of our favorites around the city below:
Walk for the Kids 5K (Sept. 15): Support Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City as you walk this 5K through Prospect Park. Those who register will get to enjoy family-friendly activities as part of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play, including a slime booth and time with characters. The walk starts at 9:45. a.m. Registration is $20 for adults and free for kids under 18.
Go Nuts for Donuts 5K (Sept. 15): Sugar freaks can descend upon Roosevelt Island for this doughnut-infused race. Take your pick of doughnuts (jelly, frosted, glazed, sugared and custard-filled) as you run or walk almost the entire length of the island’s western side. Roosevelt Island has amazing views of Manhattan, too. The race begins at 9 a.m. Registration is $45-$50.
The Color Run 5K (Sept. 15): Less about running and more about being doused in colors, this race is un-timed and attracts thousands of people. All you need to do is wear white and cross the finish line. It’s a guaranteed good time but probably not for the serious runners out there. The race begins at 9 a.m. Registration is $40-$45.
New York City Pizza Run 5K (Sept. 16): Not the most traditional run, this 5K lets you stop at checkpoints to eat pizza. Yes, New Yorker, you can enjoy cheesy slices and let that grease run down your chin as you run around Fort Green Park. There’s also a pizza gift bag at the end and a free drink. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. The run starts at 11 a.m. Registration is $50.
Music That Heals 5K (Sept. 23): Help bring music to ill children and adults in the tristate area by participating in this run, which circles Prospect Park. You’ll have plenty to sustain you — there will be bottled water along the course with snacks and water at the finish. The run begins at 10 a.m. Registration is $30-$40.
Governors Island 5K & 10K (Sept 29): Explore the previously off-limits island (with great waterfront views) at this race. Participants will get a ferry ride, a tech T-shirt and post-race eats. It begins at 9 a.m. Registration is $40-$60.
Tunnel to Towers 5K (Sept. 30): Retrace the journey that firefighter Stephen Siller took through the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel) to get to the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001, where he lost his life. The run/walk is meant to pay homage not only to Siller but to all first responders and service members who made and continue to make sacrifices for others. The journey begins at 9:30 a.m. Registration is $65-$80.
Catch a Cure 5K (Sept. 30): A 5K on the beach? Yes, please. Starting at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club, you’ll run/walk the boardwalk from Beach 102nd to Beach 126th and back all while raising money for the Wish of Rockaway, a nonprofit that helps support the Rockaway community. The run begins at 9 a.m. Registration is $30.
Sunset Marathon (Sept. 22 and Nov. 10): This “intimate” race only allows for 25 people per wave in its 5- and 10Ks and half-marathons. As you might have guessed, there’s a lot of swag for participants: a race shirt, hat, drawstring bag, “finisher’s award” and custom bib. The best part about it though? The sun setting through the trees in Prospect Park. The race starts at 9 a.m. on Sept. 22 and there are two waves at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Nov. 10. Registration is $37-$50.
New York City Cupcake Run 5K (Oct. 13): Three whole cupcakes will be yours as you trot around Astoria Park. The run benefits New York Cares, so you’ll be ingesting and expending calories for a good cause. Did we mention there’s a free cupcake gift bag? Oh yes. There’s also an after-party with free lunch, drinks and a T-shirt for everyone. The run begins at 11 a.m. Registration is $45-$60.
Staten Island Half (Oct. 14): Practice for the NYC Marathon here as you run this half-marathon, which begins at 8 a.m. Registration is $55-$70.
Brooklyn Marathon and Half-Marathon (Oct. 20): It’s all about Brooklyn at this run. You’ll travel through Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Windsor Terrace, Kensington and, of course, Prospect Park. There’s a NYCRUNS expo on Oct. 18-19 in case you need to get some running swag. The run begins at 7 a.m. Registration is $95-240.
Run the River 5K (Oct. 27): Help Randall’s Island protect its recreational areas and wetlands as you run its waterfront paths. An after-party includes light refreshments, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company beer and tunes by DJ Tony Kerr. The run begins at 10 a.m. Registration starts at $35.
Haunted Island 5K (Oct. 28): Get in costume and meet your friends on Roosevelt Island for this spooky run. The island used to be home to an asylum and a smallpox hospital (the ruins of which you can still see today). There may be some scares along the way, but you can count on Halloween treats and candy at the end. The race starts at 9 a.m. Registration is $35-$50.
Queens Turkey Trot 5K & 10K (Nov. 17): Before you stuff yourself with stuffing, head to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for this fun jog. You’ll pass the Unisphere, the Queens Museum and finish up with a bagel and a schmear. It begins at 9 a.m. Registration is $35-50.
There are turkey trots for Roosevelt Island and Prospect Park too, so check NYCRUNS.com.
Cocoa Classic 5K & 10K (Nov. 25 & Dec. 2): Brooklyn’s Cocoa Classic is in Bay Ridge along the waterfront. It’ll likely be chilly so bundle up and know there’s a hot cup of cocoa and marshmallows waiting for you at the end. Manhattan’s race on Dec. 2 is in Riverside Park, which can get a little hilly. The races begin at 9 a.m. Registration is $30-$50.
Jingle Bell Jog 5K (Dec. 1): Tie on your bells and run for New York Road Runners’ youth programs. The crisp morning run in Prospect Park is always topped off with a free hot chocolate. Participants usually dress in holiday garb. The jingling starts at 9:30 a.m. Registration is $50.
Big Apple Half-Marathon (Dec. 9): Central Park will be quiet and uncrowded for this race, which ends with a big and flashy medal for all. And, of course, there are snacks and drinks after the race. The race starts at 9 a.m. Registration is $65-$100.
Santa Suit 5K (Dec. 13): It is what it sounds like. Wear your Santa suit for this race that raises money for the Prospect Park Youth Track Club. You’ll loop around the park and then enjoy some fun activities. Suits will be handed out before the race begins at 10:30 a.m. Registration is $40.