Whether you insist that Valentine’s Day is a holiday devised to make money for the evil corporate overlords at Hallmark or you spend your entire day surrounded by rose petals and oversized plush puppies clutching hearts, one thing is for sure: Valentine’s Day 2015 is a great day to run in support of a worthy cause. It’ll do your heart good… no matter what your stance is on overpriced prix fixe dinners. Here are five ways to help a good cause and get some miles in at the same time.
This quirky race is not for the timid or the cold natured. Strip down to your skivvies and hit the streets. Yes, it’s February… but the high will be 55 (never mind that low of 20), and you’ll be supporting the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Last year, the participating cities raised $2.8 million to fight neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow along nerves; that’s more than twice what they raised the year before. The quick mile-long fun run was founded by a group of friends from Atlanta and has since expanded to 38 cities and two countries (the U.S. and Australia). When else are you going to have the chance to run through Buckhead in your underwear? Wait… don’t answer that.
Deets: Doors are at noon. The run starts at 2 p.m. at Big Sky in Buckhead. Registration is $55 (prices started lower but have increased as the event approaches).
This Piedmont Park event not only features a timed 5K walk/run but also a health fair where both racers and attendees can get free health screenings to raise awareness for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Registration costs ranges from $15 to 30 per person, depending on when you register, whether you want a t-shirt, and whether you are participating as a racer or fun runner. Proceeds benefit the Charity Benevolent Fund.
Deets: Packet pick-up is at Road Runner Sports in Buckhead on February 13 (from 4 to 7 p.m. and you’ll get 20 percent off everything while you’re there). Race day check in starts at 10 a.m. and the run starts at 11 a.m with an awards ceremony at the very specific time of 12:10 p.m. Strollers, dogs on leashes, and walkers are welcome.
Four-lane Ronald Reagan Parkway in Gwinnett County is typically packed with motorists, but on Valentine’s day, it will be shut down by more than 3,000 runners participating in this popular Peachtree Road Race qualifier. Choose from a timed half-marathon, a timed 10K, a timed 5K, an untimed 5K run/walk, or an untimed one-mile fun run. So many options! The proceeds of this annual rain-or-shine race go to support the Gwinnett Community Clinic, an all-volunteer healthcare clinic that provides medical care for more than 500 uninsured, indigent patients each year.
Deets: It’s in Snellville, at the corner of Ronald Reagan Parkway and Scenic Highway with race times that start between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., depending on your distance. Race day number pick up begins at 7:30 a.m. If you’re hitting the half-marathon, you could win prize money up to $300. Registration ranges from $15 for the one-mile fun run to $50 for the timed half marathon.
This Marietta 5K benefits two young girls battling cancer: 11-year old Grace Bunke, who is has lost a leg to bone cancer but will walk across the finish line with her new prosthetic, and 6-year-old Grace Detling, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in August. The event has garnered so much interest and support that registration had to be closed early after organizers ran out of timing chips and race bibs. That said, anyone who would like to participate is welcome to walk or run (you just won’t have a timing chip or bib) and a donation table will be available on race day.
Deets: Pre-race festivities start at 7:30 am. in the Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church, and the race begins at 8 a.m. Parking is limited, so carpool if you can.
This flat, scenic, riverside 10K is a Peachtree Road Race qualifier and a darned good time. The 1,500 participants get swag bags, t-shirts, and a chance to win awards in 13 different age groups. Plus, they’re helping to raise funds for the Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC), a nonprofit environmental education facility and wildlife rehabilitation clinic. To sweeten the deal a bit more, the first 200 finishers will get roses. How romantic! No matter where you finish, you can spend your afternoon exploring the CNC because you’ll get free admission on race day.
Deets: Registration (online or at any Big Peach Running Company location) is $30 in advance or $38 on race day for 10K participants and $15 per team/family for the kids one-mile fun run. The race starts at 8 a.m. from the CNC.