One of the most rewarding springtime activities one can participate in is running a race. There are numerous benefits, including keeping physically fit through training, a chance to have fun with friends and family outside in the warm weather and opportunities to raise money and awareness for worthwhile causes. There are plenty of great races being held in Connecticut this season, so don’t hesitate to lace up your running shoes and register.
2016 Hamden Hills Half Marathon & 5K
Rail-Trail Parking Lot
245 Sherman Ave.
Hamden, CT 06518

Date: May 28, 2016 at 7:00 a.m.

The Shoreline Sharks, one of the region’s largest multisport teams, hosts its 5th annual half marathon and 5K in Hamden on Memorial Day weekend. The 5K will be run entirely on the town’s Rail-Trail, while only the first half of the half marathon will be run there (the second half of the course is on flatter terrain). There will be water and Gatorade stations every two miles, and Subway will cater the celebration when the races conclude at noon. Registration is $60 for the half marathon and $25 for the 5K.

Great Aquarion Barnum Festival Road Race
The Ballpark at Harbor Yard
500 Main St.
Bridgeport, CT 06604
(203) 367-8495

Date: May 29, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.

This road race is one of the highlights of Bridgeport’s annual festival honoring the town’s most legendary citizen, showman and former mayor, P.T. Barnum. This year there will offer a 5K and a 10K race, both with routes along the coast, and Aquarion water will be available at several stations along the course. A post-race party will feature live music, a Taco Loco truck, games, sports massages and complimentary beer for runners over 21. Registration costs $27 for the 5K and $33 dollars for the 10K through Friday, and $30 and $35 this weekend. Active military and veterans may register for free.

Iron Horse Half Marathon, 10K & 5K
Bandshell at Simsbury Meadows
22 Iron Horse Blvd.
Simsbury, CT 06070
(860) 652-8866

Date: June 5, 2016 at 7:30 a.m.

Simsbury’s Iron Horse event consists of three different races: a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon that runs along the Farmington River and through the town center. Along the way will be stops for water, Carb Boom! energy gel, live entertainment and medical assistance. When the race is finished, each participant can look forward to a medal, great food and other goodies. The cost of registration varies by age group, with discounts for groups and military personnel, so consult with the event website.

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Stamford KIC IT Triathlon, 5K & 10K
Cummings Beach
Shippan Ave.
Stamford, CT 06902
(203) 622-6556

Date: June 12, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

In Stamford, the second weekend of June will feature a series of athletic events to benefit Kids In Crisis, an organization providing shelter, care and counseling to abused and abandoned children. After swimming and bicycle races early on Sunday, the 5K and 10K road races will finish at the city’s Mill River Park at noon. Make sure to stay afterwards for the family festival with refreshments, activities and award ceremonies. Registration is $25, or you can set up a fundraising page and enter for free if you raise at least $250 for KIC.

Night Nation Run
Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field
615 Silver Lane
East Hartford, CT 06118
(860) 610-4700

Date: June 18, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

For something a little bit different, how about a race that takes place in the evening rather than early in the day? Described as “The Running Music Festival,” Night Nation Run stops in Connecticut to raise money for the charity Stand Up To Cancer. The 5K race is enhanced by a brightly-lit course and motivational dance music spun by DJs, culminating in a post-race EDM party. The standard registration fee is $29, while a VIP registration (which comes with some cool swag) is $49.

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Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on