Whether you’re an avid runner, just getting into it or prefer to walk it out instead, organized runs are a fun and healthy way to explore a community and get a sense of place. Plan ahead for these annually recurring race events that highlight all the special components of the Heart of SC. 


Get to the Green Road Race

Before the festival and concerts, even before the morning parade, a verdant crowd gathers to kick off St. Pat’s in Five Points bright and early with a 5K, 10K and one-mile family fun run. Registration for the race includes festival entry, a shirt, custom finisher’s medal and post-race refreshments. Because let’s face it – that first Guinness isn’t going to drink itself. 


Governor’s Cup Road Race

A long-standing local running tradition – this year marks the 51st annual event – the Governor’s Cup is the most prestigious road race in the Southeast and the competition attracts the region’s top distance runners. Beginning with a Friday night Main Street Mile for adults and kids, Saturday morning sees the 5K Run/Walk and Half Marathon. The course begins at the State House and takes participants through several of the downtown entertainment districts. 


Walk a Mile in Our Shoes

Originally known as “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” during which male participants would complete a one mile walk in high heels in a show of support for women who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault, the fundraising event has recently grown to be more inclusive to all survivors. Originating near the State House, the walk is happening in tandem with Soda City Market and some market vendors will offer special discounts to registered attendees.


Cocky Trot 5K & Fun Run/ Walk

If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to sprint down the field at Williams-Brice Stadium, here’s your chance. Runners will make their way around Gamecock Park before a big finish at the 50-yard line. It’s not a Heisman, but hopefully a finisher’s medal will suffice. And your race registration grants you access to purchase discounted tickets to select football and baseball games, which is practically money in your pocket.


Crawdaddy Dash 5K

First of all, this 5K deserves a round of applause for its leisurely 9:30 a.m. start instead of in the 7 o’clock hour as most others do. No panic that you’ve accidentally slept in or lining up before the sun has even risen here! The timing allows you to roll right into the Rosewood Crawfish Festival, armed with your complimentary entry and worked-up appetite. 


Riverbanks Run

It’s okay if you don’t set a new personal record at this one – we wouldn’t be able resist stopping to say hello to all the animals who call Riverbanks Zoo home, either. Follow the path past the habitats, across the river and through the Botanical Garden, all while benefitting wildlife conservation. And if you do have your eye on the finish line, don’t fret – you can come back later that day with free admission to really take it all in at your own pace. 


Born in the USA Four Miler

Before you partake in pool time, cookouts and fireworks, begin Independence Day with a little exercise. Head to Forest Acres for this 4-mile run/walk, 2-person relay and Firecracker Youth Fun Run that’ll have your feet hitting the pavement and patriotism pulsing through your veins. 


Koala Bottle Harbison Half Marathon & 5K

If the barrage of paper cups littering the streets following a race event makes you cringe, then you’ll appreciate this environmentally sustainable half marathon and 5K that leaves the course as pristine, albeit slightly more trodden, as it’s found. Koala Bottle, a local company that innovated a magnetic water bottle system designed with runners, cyclists and active bodies in mind, is behind this trail run through Harbison State Forest, which is known as being one of the largest greenspaces within city limits east of the Mississippi River.  


Tunnel 2 Towers 

On 9/11, Stephen Siller had just ended his firefighting shift when he received news that a plane had struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Upon finding the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel closed for security, he strapped 60 lbs. of gear to his back and ran on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he ultimately lost his life saving others. Beginning and ending at the First Responders Remembrance Memorial, comprised of two crossed steel beams from the South Tower, the Tunnel 2 Towers 5K Run/Walk is a deeply moving experience honoring the memory and heroism of Stephen Siller and countless others. Race alongside first responders and members of the military as you complete the course that’s dotted with photographs commemorating the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty on that fateful day in history. 


Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon, 5K and Walk for Life

Celebrating breast cancer survivors and supporting those in the midst of their fight, the sea of pink making its way through town mirrors the rosy outlook for everyone reveling in their personal victory and for the future of early detection and treatment programs this event provides funding for. The half marathon, 5K run/walk and new 800-meter fun run for all ages culminate in an inspiring and emotional finale on the field at Segra Park. 


Nightmare in Elmwood 5K & Kids Fun Run

Back for its third year, this spooky sprint has become a calendar fixture. If you’re unfamiliar, the Elmwood neighborhood goes all out for Halloween, each house an immersive decorative experience. Take in all the effort and detail as you jog past (clad in your costume, of course). Bring the little ghouls and goblins with you to participate in the kids fun run and tire them out in an attempt to combat their inevitable sugar rushes.


Run Hard Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

What began as a full marathon in downtown Columbia has since evolved into a Lexington-based half marathon, 10K and “Toby K” 5K that begin and end at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium. Toby Kirkland was involved with Run Hard from the beginning, serving as a volunteer, staff member, board member and more before his unexpected passing in 2020. This event continues to honor his life and legacy. 


Sleigh Bell Trot

Kickstart the festive season early on and bundle up for this nighttime four-mile run through Saluda Shoals Park’s annual Holiday Lights on the River display. You’ll get up close and personal with the intricate installations, perhaps even getting the perfect photo for your annual holiday card. Afterward, gather for refreshments and yuletide merriment.


Shandon Turkey Trot & Burn 5K

If you’re both a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Thanksgiving 5K family, the Shandon Turkey Trot lets you do both, as this race happens on Black Friday. With a 10 a.m. start that allows you to finish all your early morning bargain hunting beforehand, the course takes you through the picturesque Shandon neighborhood. Prizes are awarded for the most creative costumes and while you’re already in the area, why not stick around afterward and support some of our local shops, too.