Fall and Winter Running Events on 30A

September 13, 2023

So much to be excited about when visiting 30A over the holiday season! From Christmas parades and holiday performances to New Year’s Eve cruises and tree lightings, there’s no limit to the fun you and your family can have. Between browsing shops for those last-minute stocking stuffers and hitting festive events guaranteed to get you in the holiday mood, you’ll no doubt be sharing celebratory meals with family and friends. 

No need to worry about packing on the pounds during your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s visit to the Emerald Coast; these fun events will help you stay in shape over the holidays!

Run for the Rosemary 5K – October

Offering picturesque scenery and showcasing the quaint charm and natural beauty of Rosemary Beach, the Run for the Rosemary 5K sees return runners every year. The course meanders through cobblestone streets, wood-planked paths, and stunning architecture, giving way to parks and green spaces offering the perfect backdrop for a crisp morning walk or run. Early registrants receive discount pricing and a commemorative T-shirt, and with prizes awarded to the top three male and female finishers, it’s bound to be an Instagram-worthy outing.

More than just a race, the event is an opportunity to give back to the local community. Raising awareness and funds for charity partner Food for Thought, the organization aims to provide food for children in need in local communities, and your participation will support the cause! 

Sandestin Turkey Trot 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run – November

Join fellow run enthusiasts for the Sandestin Turkey Trot at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach. Take in views of the Choctawhatchee Bay as you travel through beautifully landscaped paths in this peaceful community. As a bonus, the first 30 registrants will receive a complimentary T-shirt, making this event even more memorable. After the run, gather for awards and a lively tailgate party with beer, food, prizes, and NFL football on the big screen! 

Ironman Florida – November 

Although technically in Panama City Beach, Ironman Florida is just a short jaunt from 30A and worth the trip. More than just running, the epic event will challenge your abilities in more ways than one. If the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and full marathon don’t get your heart pumping, we’re unsure what will. With water temps averaging in the low 70-degree Fahrenheit range, the swim isn’t for the faint of heart (wetsuits highly recommended), but the flat bike and run offer redemption and should see you to the finish line fully intact. 

Start at Pier Park, head to the Russell-Fields pier, and dive into the crystal clear Gulf of Mexico to get things rolling. Once complete, grab a freshwater shower and transition to the bike for a fast, one-loop course traversing the intercoastal waterways into Pine Log State Forest. Scenic views await on the run, as do crowds of cheering onlookers, encouraging a solid finish at Pier Park. Join in the awards ceremony and post-race festivities at Aaron Bessant Park and let the thrill of your accomplishment sink in!

30A 10K, 5K, and 1-Mile Run – November

Ranked one of the ‘Top Five Races in the South on Thanksgiving,’ the 30A 10K, 5K, and 1-Mile Run is a standout running event on 30A. Get the day started early with a refreshing walk or run in the quaint beachfront village of Rosemary Beach. Pick up your race packet at The Big Chill, browse the shops, grab a bite, and enjoy the pre-race festivities with family and friends. On the course, enjoy breathtaking views, passing by gnarled scrub oaks and long-needle pines, stunning homes, and incredible scenery along the course. 

All race proceeds benefit numerous charity partners, each promoting healthy living and thankfulness. And no worries if you’re a newbie to running. The website is an excellent resource for 10K and 5K training tips and nutrition suggestions to prepare you well in advance!

Grayton Beach Kous Kouri 8 and 4-Mile Races – December

We love Santa Rosa Beach, and the Grayton Beach Kous Kouri 8 and 4-mile races are a perfect way to get acquainted with the community. Kous Kouri loosely translates to ‘trail running’ in Haitian Creole, and all race proceeds benefit Streethearts, a rescue program for homeless children in Cap-Haitian, Haiti. 

The courses for both races wind exclusively through Grayton Beach State Park’s breathtaking trail system, providing participants with a spectacular running event on 30A. Expect to get a little dirty on this one, as the terrain varies, offering a few challenges for some and sheer joy for others! The initial mile from the pavilion to the trailhead starts smooth with a groomed running path. After that, runners may encounter anything on this out-and-back course, from tree roots and rocks to sand and mud, but the post-race party will likely make up for it! 

Seaside School Half Marathon and 5K – February

The Seaside School Half Marathon and 5K is an exciting charity race weekend spanning three days in scenic Seaside. A popular running event on 30A, the race caters to all ages and abilities, offering a half marathon (open to ages 14+), a student/child half marathon (open to ages 14-18), a 5K (open to ages 6+), and a student/child 5K (open to ages 6-18). Expect to see thousands of fellow road warriors participating in one of the longest consecutive running events in Northwest Florida. Coursing by coastal dune lakes and along iconic Highway 30A, this out-and-back course starts at the Seaside town center, with Gulf Place as the marathon halfway point.

The race weekend kicks off with Taste of the Race on Friday, followed by a race expo on Saturday, culminating in the running events on Sunday. Proceeds from this family-friendly event benefit The Seaside School, one of Florida’s first and now oldest operating public charter schools.

No problem if others in your group aren’t runners. They’ll still find plenty of ways to exercise biking on 30A, paddleboarding, kayaking, and more!

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