48 Must-Do Dec./Jan. Races Across The U.S.

Hot Chocolate 15K and 5K, Dec. 14; St. Louis

Midwest Region

Hot Chocolate 15K and 5K
Dec. 14; St. Louis
hotchocolate15k.com/stlouis

Satisfy your sweet tooth with the chocolate-filled 15K (or 5K), where chocolate flows freely at the expo and finish line. (Can you say fondue?) The first three age-group finishers will receive an award at the finish line, and all participants will receive a custom race fleece hoodie to keep you warm as you sip on some post-race hot cocoa. The St. Louis race benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC)—all participants help give back to the families and children of RMHC simply by participating and enjoying some holiday sweets.

Rudolph Ramble 8K & Donner Dash
Dec. 15; Chicago
fleetfeetchicago.com/rudolph-ramble-8k-event-18.php

Hang out with your favorite reindeer at this holiday event, which offers up retro knit ski beanies to every registered participant. The Donner Dash is for children ages 2-12 and provides three distance options (depending on age). For those ambitious parents and older siblings, the 8K starts at 8 a.m. and runs through Lincoln Park. All runners and spectators are invited to make spirits bright with a toy donation to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Festive holiday attire is expected and encouraged.

5th Annual Reindeer Run 5K
Dec. 15; Minooka, Ill.
ellishec.com/fivek.php

Bring a change of clothes in your gear bag—this race promises to get runners dirty along its limestone trails and dirt footpaths of the Ellis House and Equestrian Center. Change into cleaner clothes before attending the post-race indoor awards ceremony, complete with age-group awards and refreshments. But set those race-day alarms extra early—packet pick-up is only offered race morning, beginning at 7 a.m. All race proceeds go back to Kendall County, ensuring the area stays clean and healthy for its residents.

Life Time Commitment Day Run
Jan. 1; Chicago
commitmentday.com/Chicago

Start 2014 off right with this New Year’s Day 5K event, dedicated to starting a nationwide conversation about healthy lifestyles. Runners in more than 20 U.S. locations will hit the streets of their cities and commit to a year of healthy living and fitness. Don’t forget to check out the social media coverage of the event’s mission—search #commitmentday and #mycommitment on social media to see how other dedicated runners are kicking off their New Year in honor of health, fitness and happiness.

29th Annual New Year’s Day 5K
Jan. 1; Chicago
chicagoevents.com/event.cfm?eid=88

Nothing beats tradition this New Year’s Day, with a 5K celebrating 29 years of inspiration and dedication to health. Enjoy a quick 3.1-mile journey through Lincoln Park, which finishes at the North Avenue Field House and ventures to O’Brien’s Restaurant for post-race awards and alcoholic beverages. Never fear—the race organizers are accommodating to those late-night NYE festivities with a late 11 a.m. race start time. Continue the midnight countdown throughout the day and celebrate the first day of 2014 with 1,500 other eager participants.

Moose Tracks Snowshoe Race
Jan. 5; Minocqua, Wis.
minocquawinterpark.org/

Celebrating its second year, this snowshoe race invites athletes to experience a Wisconsin winter in its entirety. 10K and 5K distances are offered, with a 1K race available for the younger snowshoe rompers. This event is a regional qualifier for the U.S. National Snowshoe Championships on March 1 in Bennington, Vt. Five race classes are available, catering to all types of participants. Awards are given to the top finishers in each class, as well as in 10-year age increments for the open classes.

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