Want to show your kids a fun, fit way to support a good cause? Signing up for a spring 5K race or family walk is a fun way to sneak in some outdoor exercise between winter hibernation and summers at the shore – and almost all usually benefit a worthy charity. If you’re not sure where to start, you’re in luck. Go for the race, stay for the adventure – you can bring the whole family to cheer you on (or run along with you) and then explore the city afterward. We rounded up a list of our favorite spring 5K races in New Jersey, each with their own fun twist or cause, and a post-race city itinerary. So, lace up, and we’ll see you at the finish line.
9 5K Races in New Jersey You Don’t Want to Miss This Spring
1. #FINNFRIDAY 5K
Friday, April 13, 2018 | 6:30PM
This fast and easy 5K raises money for Finn Kilderry’s preschool education – he’s the spunky son of local resident Jason Kilderry who, before losing his battle with cancer, always made Fridays about his son. Constantly using the hashtag #FINNFRIDAY on social media, all of Kilderry’s friends in the community could keep up to date with his weekly escapades with Finn. There will be two races: a 5K run and a one-mile fun run for kids 12 and under. This course is fast and flat, with a scenic 10-foot-wide, asphalt-paved trail in the heart of Glassboro. Following the races, there will be an after-party at Landmark Americana. Proceeds from this race will go towards helping with Finn’s education.
Harrison G. Shaw Sr. Bike Trail
Glassboro, NJ 08081
Cost: $40 for the 5K, $10 for the kids’ fun run
Post-Run City Itinerary: Galloway
With a late-night race, there is only so much to do at night, but nothing beats a nice cool down walk on the boardwalk, stop by JD’s Pub for some food or just take a relaxing walk along the beach to cool down from your run. These nighttime spots will give you the perfect way to unwind after running a 5K.
2. Step It Up for Research 5K / 1-Mile Fun Walk
Saturday, April 14, 2018 | 9:00AM to 12:00PM
Put on your running shoes and get ready to take steps to help Thea’s Star of Hope find less toxic treatments for kids with brain cancer. The 3rd Annual Step It Up fundraiser will feature dance performances by All for Dance, face painting, live entertainment, bounce house, and Surf and Turf Truck grub. Medals for top 3 finishers in Men, Women, and Kids (14 and under.) CASH PRIZES for 1st place in each category. Registration/Check-in is from 9:00AM to 9:30AM; race starts at 10:00AM.
Pond Road Middle School
150 Pond Road, Robbinsville, NJ
Cost: $25 Adult 5K, $15 Child 5K; $25 Adult 1-Mile Walk, $15 Child 1-Mile Walk
Post-Run City Itinerary: Robbinsville
After the race, unwind at nearby Oasis Family Farm where your little ones can enjoy everything from mining for gems to observing ant colonies. Then head over to De Lorenzo’s and share one of the famous NJ tomato pies with your family – so delicious you’ll be fighting over who gets the last slice!
3. Gloucester County Hero Fund Coffee Run
Saturday, April 14, 2018 | 8:30AM
Competitors will begin their run at the Riverwinds Community Center. There are 5K and 1-mile walk options to suit anyone’s ability and comfort level, and the first 100 participants in the 5K will receive a free coffee mug. While you run, your kids can try out a fun obstacle course. All proceeds from this run go towards the Gloucester County Hero Scholarship Fund, which benefits families of those who lost a loved one in the line of duty.
Riverwinds Community Center
1000 Riverwinds Dr., West Deptford, NJ 08086
Cost: $25 for adults, $10 for kids 12 to 17 years old and $15 for walkers
Post-Run City Itinerary: West Deptford
You’re less than 30 minutes away from the heart of Philadelphia, so why not venture out of NJ? Check out the Philadelphia Magic Gardens or grab a cheesesteak from your favorite sandwich shop, whether it’s Geno’s or Pat’s. If you want to stay in New Jersey, the Field of Dreams playground will let your kids’ imaginations come to life as they climb through all the playsets.
4. Run for Ronald 5K
Sunday, April 15, 2018 | 9:00AM
This run raises money to help support The Ronald McDonald House of Southern Jersey. Ronald McDonald Houses provide a home environment with support and resources for families with sick children who have to travel away from home to seek treatment. This fun run comes with live entertainment, Mr. Softee for kids, and the first 75 runners to sign up ensures a free t-shirt as well, and who doesn’t love that?
Haddon Heights Park
Haddon Heights, NJ 08035
Post-Run City Itinerary: Haddon Heights
Want to test your brain and brawn in an escape room adventure? The whole family will enjoy putting your heads together to work your way through Escape Room South Jersey. You can also make a trip to nearby Adventure Aquarium to see your favorite aquatic animals or cool off at Cabana Water Ice Co with one of your favorite fruity flavors.
5. Earth Day 5K
Saturday, April 21, 2018 | 10:00AM
Get outside and celebrate Earth Day with this fun 5K run in Jersey City. The race takes place throughout Liberty State Park, so you’ll have spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty, the marina, and the Hudson River. Just by signing up you’ll be guaranteed a free t-shirt, and those who post-register will get shirts while supplies last. After the race, go grab refreshments at the park’s annual Earth Day Fair featuring the Earth Day Kid’s Kingdom (that’s code for tons of kids activities).
Liberty State Park
Audrey Zapp Road, Jersey City, NJ 07305
Post-Run City Itinerary: Jersey City
You could probably spend all day at Liberty State Park, but make sure to grab delicious pancake stacks from Brownstone Diner and Pancake Factory or exercise your brain at Liberty Science Center. If you want to take in the skyline, take a short drive over to Hoboken and walk along the water for your cool down.
6. Ryan’s Quest 5K, 5 Miler, and 1-Mile Family Walk
Sunday, April 22, 2018 | 10:00AM
Spend a morning at scenic Mercer County Park running (or walking) to support Ryan’s Quest whose mission is to raise money for research and awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the most common lethal genetic disorder diagnosed during early childhood for boys between ages 8-12. Custom race shirt for all pre-entries and fun awareness bracelets for children participating in the family walk. Complimentary post-race food for everyone from Foley’s Family Market, Buzzetta’s Festival Foods and more! Race day registration opens at 8:30AM.
Mercer County Park – East Picnic Area
1346 Edinburgh Rd., Princeton Junction, NJ 08550
Cost: $25 5K, $25 5 Mile, $25 Family Walk, $25 Family Walk-12 and Under
Post-Run City Itinerary: West Windsor
Head to Princeton Playspace after the race for the kids to play while you unwind with free WiFi in the cafe area. Afterward, finish the day by carbo-loading at one of West Windsor’s many ethnic food options like the new Terakawa Ramen – you’ll feel replenished after trying the Japanese bone broth that’s been simmering for two days and traditional ramen egg noodles.
7. Go Nuts Rush 5K
Sunday, April 29, 2018 | 9:00AM
Run this USATF-sanctioned race through the streets of Allendale to raise money for Camp Acorn, a camp for children and adults with special needs. If the 5K is not your thing, try the Sapling Sprint Fun Run, a one-mile course inside Crestwood Park in Allendale. Those pushing wheelchairs go free. On your marks, get set, go!
300 West Crescent Ave., Allendale, NJ 07401
Cost: $30 for the 5K, $15 for the fun run
Post-Run City Itinerary: Allendale
Head to Abma’s Farm, Market and Petting Zoo for a fun family outing filled with animals. Before leaving Allendale, grab a sandwich at Allendale Eats or a smoothie from Super Juice Nation to wrap up the day and fill up your stomachs.
8. Cinco de Mayo 5K
Saturday, May 5, 2018 | 9:00AM
Running in the heat isn’t so bad when you get free tortilla chips at the finish line, is it? Also, this 5K raises money for Action for Distraction, which provides distractions for kids undergoing treatment at Goryeb Children’s Hospital at Morristown Medical Center. There is a timed 5K or a family one-mile fun run so all ages and levels are welcome! Celebrate your finish with refreshments from Moe’s Burrito and a raffle.
Loantaka Brook Reservation
173 Kitchell Rd., Morristown, NJ 07960
Post-Race City Itinerary: Morristown
Following the race, keep with the Cinco de Mayo theme and head to Tito’s Burritos for simple Mexican-inspired chow in a setting with beach shack decor, Macho Nacho for the famed nachos, or Raul’s Empanadas Town for the Five Sausage Meat Empanadas. Today is all about eating.
9. 3rd Annual Watershed Run
Sunday, May 20, 2018 | 12:00PM
This 5K run raises money to help the Stoney Brook-Millstone Watershed continue to restore clean water in the area. The route travels around the Watershed Reservoir, giving you serene views of the meadows and forests as you run. Your family can cheer you on from Victory Village, where there will be a live band, vendors and more waiting for you to cross the finish line.
Stoney Brook-Millstone Watershed Association
31 Titus Mill Rd., Pennington, NJ 08534
Post-Run City Itinerary: Pennington
Be sure to check out Blue Moon Acres farm market for delicious, locally-produced goodies like microgreens and DIY-cut flower gardens. Then head over to nearby Hopewell Valley Vineyards and sample some wines, followed by a hearty farm-to-table lunch at Brick Farm Market in Hopewell.