It is no secret that running is a great way to improve both your physical and mental health. Not only does running increase your overall wellbeing, but it can also prevent disease, increase weight loss, and relieve stress. Organized races – from 5K distance to ultra-marathons – offer even more benefits. They compound the benefits of running by providing a sense of community, a supportive atmosphere, and a confidence boost. For these reasons and more, running and racing are very popular, particularly along Scenic Highway 30A in South Walton.
And why wouldn’t they be? 30A is known for being an outdoor and active community. With its beautiful coastal setting, it is no wonder that everyone likes to get outside and enjoy the weather, views, and atmosphere. One way that 30A caters to the outdoorsy spirit of its community is by hosting a number of community-oriented and fitness-inspired events, including a few annual races. These races range from one-mile kid races to half marathons, which is a distance of 13.1 miles.
Read more: What is 30A?
These 30A runs and races are exciting events that anyone can enjoy, whether you are a seasoned runner or a newbie excited to run your first race. The beach setting, community atmosphere, and post-race parties and live music are enough to make you forget that you actually chose to exercise on your day off for fun! Besides, running with friends is better than running alone. And when you participate in a 30A race, you’re running with thousands of friends, whether you know them or not! Throughout the entire course, you are surrounded by friends and strangers, all united in a single goal – to finish the race and have a good time on the way.
Check out this list of 30A races and sign up for one… or all of them, if you’re daring! It is guaranteed to be a good time. Plus, who can say no to a runner’s high?
Seaside School Half Marathon and 5K
The 2020 Seaside School Half Marathon and 5K is an annual three-day event in the heart of scenic Seaside on 30A. Funds from the race weekend support the Seaside School and its students, as a means of encouraging high-quality education in the community. The 18th annual race kicks off on Friday, February 28, 2020, with a fun culinary celebration – the Taste of the Race with Chef Emeril Lagasse. The famous chef will be on-site, and race participants and the public can enjoy a fun night of fantastic food, local brews, and live music. The second day is dedicated to the Race Expo and silent auction. The Race Expo features a variety of vendors offering a great selection of athletic gear and apparel, perfect for runners of all skill levels. Items for bid at the silent auction include local art pieces, vacation packages, and more. Money raised from the silent auction goes directly to supporting the Seaside School. On the final day, 5K and half marathon participants will meet in Seaside to test their running prowess. With the crisp morning air, pretty beach backdrop, supportive volunteers, and a crowd cheering you on, it is sure to be one of your best races yet. The race ends back where you started, where you can participate in the post-race festivities. There will be live music, a rewards ceremony, and time to do some final bidding on the silent auction. Because there is no race-day registration available, be sure to sign up for this event in advance.
RUN/SUP Summer Race Series
The RUN/SUP Summer Race Series is a unique event to South Walton, as it is not just a one-time-a-year event, but a full summer series of races. The series runs from June 5 to July 31, 2020, with a total of nine separate races happening on Friday of each week. Of course, that is not the only reason the RUN SUP Summer Race Series is unique! It is not, as you may have thought, a simple running race. Each event is actually a one-mile trail run followed by a one-mile stand-up paddleboard (SUP) competition. As you can imagine, this setup garners participation from an active and adventurous spirit. Don’t fret, however, if running or paddleboarding isn’t your thing – there are two different ways to participate in a race. You can either choose to do the whole course solo, or you can get a two-person relay team together, so one person runs and the other person paddles. Each race begins at the BoatHouse Paddle Club in WaterColor. The trail run meanders through the picturesque trails in WaterColor, while the SUP portion of the race takes place on Western Lake. Feel free to participate in one or all of the races in the series. Race coordinators maintain a standing leaderboard throughout the summer, and the top male and female competitors will be announced at the end of the series. An incentive for competing in every race! Time to break out your running shorts and swimsuits – this event will be here before you know it.
30A Half Marathon and 5K
2020 Marks the 5th annual 30A Half Marathon and 5K Run along the beautiful beach highway. This three-day event will run from October 11 to October 13. Proceeds from this event benefit the Sonder Project, which is dedicated to strengthening communities through food security, clean water, housing, and education. The 30A BBQ Festival kicks off the festivities at Gulf Place in Santa Rosa Beach, where the community gets together to listen to live music from the Heritage Band and enjoy some amazing local BBQ. What better way to start off a race weekend than with good music and even better food? The Race Expo will take place on Saturday at Gulf Place, where race participants can pick up their race packets. Both the 5K and half marathon races will take place on Sunday, on an out-and-back course that begins and ends on 30A. Your run will take you through the beautiful 30A beach communities, with Gulf views and coastal dune lakes offering the perfect setting for your race. All finishers receive a custom medal and t-shirt, while prize money (worth a total of $20,000) will be awarded to top finishers. Everyone will get to finish the weekend by enjoying a post-race party complete with live music!
Every year, the Thanksgiving 30A 10K brings runners together for a fun, community-oriented race experience. This Turkey Day event supports local charities, and more than $430,000 has been donated to local charities in the eight cumulative years that the race has been held. Over the years, additional races have been added to appeal to every level of runner. It now includes a one-mile fun run, 5K, and 10K. Participation in this event is a great way to give back to the community during the season of gratitude. Although signups for the 2020 30A 10K have not yet been announced, be sure to keep your ears open for details as this event fills up fast!
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