Running with the kids is a great way to get active as a family. These fun runs are less about breaking records and more about getting motivated and having a good time! Gorge yourself on chocolate, run through foam and coloured paint, and make the most of the warm weather. Many of these require registration in advance, so don’t miss out – read up on our picks for the best events this summer.
The Color Run – Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, London, Brighton
At the start of this 5k you’ll be provided with a white t-shirt – but it won’t remain white for long. Prepare to be doused in rainbows of coloured powder at every kilometre of the course. Made from cornstarch, the powder is entirely safe and will wash right out at one of the designated cleaning stations at the course’s end. The Finish Festival hosts a mix of DJs, MCs, giveaways, and the Color Throw, where you are provided colour sachets with which to shower new runners! Buggy-friendly, this course can be taken at a walk.
Glow in the Park – London October 1st, Cornwall October 15th, Manchester October 28th
This evening 2.5k will show your little ones there is no need to fear the dark! With electrifying light shows, UV paint, and Fog Glow Zones, this nighttime neon run is not to be missed. Dance, jog or walk through a course illuminated by flashing arrows and markers, with marshals and medics standing by at all times. Hi-viz gear is encouraged, as are torches, light sticks – anything that glows!
Bubble Rush – North Wales August 21st, assorted locations
A fantastic child-friendly event, run through walls of 4ft-high coloured foam! This low-pressure run is not timed, so you can take the course at a walk, and pushchairs are welcome. Need to drop out early? There will be live entertainment throughout the day. Every participant with receive a Bubble Rush t-shirt (so your clothes won’t get dirty!), a medal and goody bag. Foam cannons blow 30 cubic metres of frothy goodness every second, ensuring every one gets good and sudsed. Proceeds go to Demelza, an organisation dedicated to providing hospice care to children with life-threatening conditions.
Spooky Sprint – Buckinghamshire 24th September, Kent 15th October, Nottinghamshire 29th October
You’re encouraged to dress spooky in this nighttime run, with prizes awarded for the best costume. Run 5 or 10k with only a head torch to light your way, and test your nerve and fitness both. Entrants will receive a breathable t-shirt and a glow-in-the-dark medal, with all proceeds going to Parkinson’s.
Nuclear Races (Rookies) – Essex July 23rd, August 4th, August 18th, September 27th
Expect to get wet and muddy at the Nuclear Races, a 1-2km course with an emphasis on obstacles. Climb tire-walls, swing from monkey bars, cling to rope-nets suspended over water, and love the mud. There are hot showers at the finish, with milkshakes, cookies and hot drinks for the brave Rookies themselves. Parents are welcome for the main course, but exempt from the child-sized obstacles. Ages 4-14.
Big Fun Run – Scotland & England, assorted locations
This fun run isn’t going to tell you what to do. Wear what you want, go at your own speed, set your own goals. Brought a buggy? No problem. Whether you’re raising money for a charity or just looking to get active and have a good time, you can’t go wrong with the Big Fun Run. With 18 locations across the country, this is one of the most widespread events around.
Mini Great South Run – Portsmouth, October 22nd
Taking place along the Southsea coast, this course is well suited to 3-8 year olds, at just 1.5k. Supervision is required, and there is a 5k for adults if you still have some energy left after! There are plenty of activities to take part in, with a focus on educating kids on the importance of hydration and staying healthy. All participants receive a medal, t-shirt and goody bag.
Nike Kids’ Mile – Richmond, September 18th
Part of the Richmond Runfest, this short race will net all participants a Nike t-shirt and medal, with live bands to cheer them on. After the race there will be kids activities, a fitness expo, and a champagne tent for parents. Ages five and up.
The Chocolate 5K – Sandwell, West Midlands July 3rd
This sweet fun run has chocolate stations sprinkled all along its length offering treats in addition to the more traditional water. Finishing the 5k gets you a bag, medal (chocolate of course), and free entry into the post-run chocolate buffet! Another untimed run, you can take your time with this one, and all proceeds go to Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice. Under 5s go free!
Sumo Run – Wicklow, Ireland 28th August
Fulfill your dream of running in a giant inflatable sumo suit! The lightweight suits are self-inflating and included in the price of admission, so you can keep yours afterwards. With an emphasis on fun (and bumping into each other) the Sumo Run takes place along the Bray seafront, with proceeds going towards Purple House Cancer Support. Children must be over 4 feet tall to fit the sumo suit.
Rock Solid Stars – Milton Keynes October 29th
This pint-sized 2k obstacle course places a focus on teamwork, as kids struggle together to hurdle bales of hay, cross the grand Spider’s Web, and climb the steps of the great Pyramid. Great for building self-esteem, kids can run by themselves if aged above 8, with younger entrants requiring supervision. After all the mud, the hot shower block will be a welcome sight.
Ikano Robin Hood Mini Marathon – Nottingham 25th September
One of the largest Mini Marathons in the country, this 2.5k route is set along the scenic river Trent. Finishers get a certificate, medal, and t-shirt, with the option to purchase race day photographs. Only children will be chip-timed, but families are welcome to run with them!
Dirty Rascals – South Wales July 9th, London August 20th
This junior obstacle course has all the crawling, hurdling and climbing that you might expect, with tiers of difficulty based on age. Expect fierce competition as your Rascals teeter on balance beams, carry massive Viking Shields and crawl through a seemingly endless blackout tunnel known as the Aztec Tomb. Younger Rascals must be accompanied by an adult, all of whom will be equipped with water pistols!