Make a Run for It!

Fun Runs Benefit Local Charities

As fall settles in and the leaves and temperature race to see which one can drop the fastest, the appeal of the outdoors can begin to wane. Add to that the fewer hours of daylight and growing pre-holiday to-do lists, and pretty soon it’s easy to lose all motivation to head outside for recreation. This time of year, it can take a little extra incentive to put down the pumpkin pie and go for a jog.

Join in a local holiday-themed race to mix up your autumn routine and gain the encouragement you need to stay active when it’s chilly outside. There are dozens of races to benefit meaningful causes. Here’s a go-to list of some fan-favorite local benefit runs. Pull on your thermals and get ready to race through the holidays.

Fighting Hunger 5K

Saturday, November 7, 8:30 a.m.

Sponsored by Matthew 25: Ministries, a local organization that works with the poorest of the poor and disaster victims in Greater Cincinnati, throughout the U.S. and around the world.

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the race, which kicks off the Fighting Hunger Food Drive. Since the race began, almost 500,000 pounds of food has been distributed to people in need throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.

Go the Extra Mile for the Vets 5K

Sunday, November 15, 9 a.m.

Run to support The Heroes’ Fund, established by The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty in 2007 to assist local combat veterans and their families who are facing financial hardship. The Heroes’ Fund partners with Operation Military Embrace, a military support organization committed to helping service members and their families.

This family-friendly event honors our country’s heroes on the weekend after Veteran’s Day and features an after-party at Dingle House Irish Pub.

Holiday in Lights 5K Run/Walk at Sharon Woods

Saturday, November 21, 5 p.m.

Funds raised go to Great Parks of Hamilton County, Hands Against Hunger and the City of Sharonville Christmas Fund.

Come dressed in costume and race through Sharon Woods with the final mile taking racers past the annual Holiday in Lights display.

Thanksgiving Day 10K Race

Thursday, November 26, 9 a.m.

Contribute to more than 10 charities, including Ronald McDonald House, Literacy Network, Alzheimer’s Association and more.  The world’s largest Goodwill coat drive takes place at the race each year. The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign will kick off at the race, making Cincinnati the largest campaign kick-off in the United States.

A rich part of Cincinnati’s Thanksgiving Day tradition, this race celebrates its 106th race this year, making it the oldest road race in the Midwest. When you start your Thanksgiving Day off with a 10K, you can enjoy all the turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie your heart desires.

Go Santa Go 5K

Sunday, November 29, 9 a.m.

Help Cancer Support Community, an organization dedicated to providing support, education and hope to people affected by cancer.

In addition to a long-sleeved race shirt, all participants will also have the option to receive either a Santa hat and beard or an elf hat to wear for the race.

Mojo Running’s Santa Suit Fun Run

Sunday, December 13, 11 a.m.

Run like Santa chasing cookies to fundraise for Reach Out Lakota, an organization that gives food, clothing, personal care and household items to eligible families in West Chester and Liberty Township.

Participants in this festive 5 K run/walk will receive a five-piece Santa suit while supplies last. This pet-friendly event features a “rein-dog” costume contest for your four-legged friends.  Race activities also include a Little Elves Fun Run for kids, five-person sleigh races, photos with Santa, Christmas cookies and more.

For a complete listing of all the upcoming races and additional details, visit