5 Kid-Friendly Running Races in Tampa Bay

Last year I met the Chic Granny Jogger who logs countless miles in Belleair Beach. I had spotted her regularly running the sidewalks, sporting bright running gear and an enthusiastic wave. After I introduced myself to her, my kids and I took to waving and tossing, “Hi, Nan!” out our car windows when we passed by. It sparked my desire to look for kid-friendly running races in Tampa Bay.

Nan got my kids making big plans for their mama. Someday, they want me to be that granny who runs for fun, but better yet, who runs with her kids and grandkids.

To become that running family, I have to raise what I’ve always wanted: a pack of runners. The best way to entice them to run is to register for Tampa Bay races so they experience the runners’ positive, invigorating culture. Here are some kid-friendly running races in Tampa Bay that are on my list for the next year.

Race for the Cupcake 5K

Based in Pass-a-Grille Beach, your kids won’t chase the carrot–they’ll chase cupcakes! The race offers a free race for kids that benefits Girls on the Run. My two daughters will get to meet other girls who also like to log miles. This race offers a virtual option, but I haven’t tried it; live races spread contagious energy. March 7, 2020

Summer Races

Summer break from school screams for free kids’ activities. Running fits the bill: it’s quick, cheap and always accessible. The trick is getting the kids to run during the cool times of the day.

  • All Children’s Hospital of St. Petersburg offers a free Kids Dash and benefits a good cause. May 16, 2020
  • The Great Mother’s Day Race is a 5k run/walk for kids eight and older and their family and friends. Located in Tampa, participants cover 3.1 miles through Al Lopez Park. May 10, 2020
  • The Bubble Run in Lakeland looks like some good, clean fun. The swag looks legitimate: temporary tattoos, medals, etc. Children under age 4 are free. June 27, 2020

St. Pete Run Fest

I like to combine my trip to the race expo to pick up my bib number with a visit to a local kid-friendly attraction. This race begins near the Salvador Dali Museum, giving me a perfect excuse to drop by with the kids. The timing of this race is great–right before the holidays. If we miss the Turkey Trot due to family events, we enjoy this St. Petersburg race. The Pelikids youth races include 3 distances–one is for toddlers (Lil’ Shrimps). Use a free mileage tracker for your ambitious kiddos what want to run that extra mile (pun very much intended.) November 14 and 15, 2020

The Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot

The start times for this race are kid-friendly, especially for those indulging in late bedtimes for the holiday. I like that the event offers themed races that are short and loaded up with runners in costume. Our first year, the kids and I wore Thanksgiving-themed ear muffs and headbands. We start talking about costumes for the trot right after Halloween. Next year, I’m going to bribe my folks to join us as walkers. November 23, 2020

St. Pete Beach Classic

Your wee ones can race distances up to 300 yards! Kids up to eight years old race free.  Kids love medals, and they receive them for finishing the race. Races such as this one feature a health and fitness expo, which is a fun event for your kids to attend. They get free stuff and see adults and big kids modeling an active interest in healthy living. Plan ahead! The next race will be January 15, 2021.

What are your kid-friendly running races in Tampa Bay?

Jackie is mom to Sydney (11), Landon (8) and Harper (4). They enjoy swimming and riding their bikes. Jackie earned her B.A. from Wheaton College. She’s originally from West Michigan and taught secondary language arts for seven years. She has lived across the United States and Canada, but she has lived in Tampa Bay since 2015. Jackie enjoys running the Belleair Bridge, writing and traveling. Follow her at IG #jackiesager1, FB Jackie Sager PrayWriteRun and personal blog https://praywriterun.com/.