Contemplating your first race? If you’re new to running, starting with a 5K is a great idea. It’s relatively short and manageable, doesn’t usually require much in the way of hydration or fuelling, and it will give you an idea of what racing is all about.
Many marathons and half-marathons also offer the 5K distance, and if they’re organizing a long race, you can be sure the 5K will be well organized, too–a big plus when you’re not sure what to expect at your first race. There will be plenty of information online to instruct you on where to go and when. (Hint: the 5K distance at marathons are often quite small, and it’s not unheard-of for first-timers to win age group awards.)
Here are some excellent races to put your training to the test this fall.
Servus Edmonton Marathon (5K)–August 18
This year the Servus Edmonton Marathon 5K run/walk starts at a leisurely 11:30 on Sunday morning. The course is an out-and-back, running west along Jasper Ave. from the start (just west of 97th St.) for 2.5K, with just two turns: a right on 111th St. and a left on 102nd Ave. before the turnaround at 116th St.
Toronto Women’s Run 10K/5K–August 24
Toronto Women’s Run 8K/5K–October 12
Women set the pace at the Toronto Women’s Run Series. If you’re a woman who would appreciate racing with mostly other women (men may also enter), there are a number of events throughout the year, held in Sunnybrook Park, away from cars, in a fun and supportive atmosphere.
Marathon SFL de Rimouski (5K)–September 8
All the race distances, including the 5K, are out-and-back along the scenic St. Lawrence River.
Canmore Rocky Mountain Half Marathon (5K)–September 8
Right in the middle of Canmore, the 5K is flat and scenic, with almost no elevation change.
Longboat Toronto Island Run (5K)–September 8
One of Toronto’s best-loved races, the Toronto Island runs start on Centre Island. The looped 5K course runs east onto Ward’s Island and returns via the boardwalk. A barbecue lunch is included.
Maritime Race Weekend–September 13 or 14
Maritime Race Weekend might be the most fun pirate-themed set of races anywhere. It boasts two 5Ks (one on Friday evening, and one on Saturday morning). Both start and finish at Fisherman’s Cove on Wharf Road in Eastern Passage, N.S.
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First race of the Tartan Twosome of Martime Race Weekend is complete. Sunset 5k treated us to beautiful views. #maritimeraceweekend #sunset5k #tartantwosome #shecanandshedid #runselfierepeat #badassladygang #runnersofinstagram #runhappy #brooksjuno #brooksglycerin #oisellevolee #headupwingsout
Marathon SSQ Québec (5K)–October 12
The Quebec City races are full of joie de vivre. The looped course starts on the beautiful Grande Allée and turns onto the Plains of Abraham before returning to the start.
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (5K)–October 20
Toronto is one of the biggest race events in Canada, and participating in any of the race distances is thrilling. The 5K starts on Lakeshore Blvd. at the CNE and proceeds east to Bay Street, with a left turn into the financial district and finishing at Nathan Phillips Square.