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Next Year in Outdoors: Running Events to Look Forward to in 2024

We’ve rounded up some of the top running events you won’t want to miss in 2024. Whether you love running 5ks, ultras, road, or trail, we have something on this calendar for you. Even if you just love spectating, some of these races have great options to go watch in person or online. 

The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle — Chicago, Illinois

Image source: Shamrockshuffle.com

If you’re looking for an active and festive way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, head to Chicago on March 24. The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle offers an 8k and 1-mile run course, as well as a 2-mile walk option. Whether you are looking for a speedy day out on the road or want to dress up in your favorite Irish green and run with friends, this run is sure to be a fun way to celebrate this festive holiday. 

Carlsbad 5000 — Carlsbad, California

Also known as the “World’s Fastest 5k,” the Carlsbad 5000 is the place to go if you’re looking for a PR. This blazing-fast race has been a beachside tradition since 1986, and it takes runners on a speedy tour of Carlsbad. With a whole lineup of weekend activities, stick around after you run to enjoy the party. The race is set for April 7.

The Boston Marathon — Boston, Massachusetts

The oldest race in the U.S. and one of the most coveted courses, the Boston Marathon is a special event. Some people spend their entire running career working on qualifying for this event, let alone run and finish it. Even if you aren’t into running fast on the road for 26.2 miles, this can still be a great event to look forward to. If you are in Boston, there are many spectator points, and if not, it is televised and pretty exciting to watch from home. The 2024 Boston Marathon will take place on April 15. 

BOLDERBoulder — Boulder, Colorado 

Image Source: bolderboulder.com

If you’re not already considering a trip to Boulder, Colorado for Memorial Day, you should be. The BOLDERBoulder 10k is one of the most competitive in the country, and it’s one of the largest. The field of athletes looks a lot like a mullet—business in the front, party in the back. While top distance runners from around the world compete for prize money, thousands of participants run through the streets of Boulder, and it’s one big party—water slides and roadside shots are not uncommon in this wild race. To top it off, everyone finishes in the University of Colorado “Buff’s” football stadium, which is an amazing experience in and of itself. BOLDERBoulder will run on May 27, Memorial Day. 

Grandma’s Marathon — Duluth, Minnesota

Founded by a group of local runners in 1077, Grandma’s Marathon has grown from 150 runners to being one of the largest and best-known marathons in the country. It is one of the largest community events in Duluth, and it takes runners from the serene shores of Lake Superior through the boisterous local crowds to city limits. The 2024 event is scheduled for June 22.

Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run — Auburn, California

Image by Jakob Guse

As the birthplace of modern ultrarunning, the Western States 100 is one of the most historic and competitive ultra trail races in the world. This course begins in the high sierra near Lake Tahoe and runs 100.2 miles, gaining 18,000 feet and dropping 23,000 feet as runners make their way to the finish line in Auburn, California. 

The history of this run begins with the Tevis Cup, an endurance equestrian event that takes place on the same course. In 1974, a local horseman, Gordy Ansleigh, was set to ride the race; however, his horse went lame. Gordy decided on a bet with a friend that he’d run with the horses on foot. He made it to the finish line in under 24 hours (the cutoff time for the horse race), and modern ultrarunning was born. 

Today, runners have 30 hours to complete the course. With just over 350 runners allowed on the start line, an entry here is highly coveted. If you weren’t lucky enough to qualify and be drawn in the lottery for 2024, you can still head there to join in the festivities or watch the race online. 

Mount Marathon — Seward, Alaska

Dubbed as one of the toughest 5ks, the Mount Marathon is truly unique and not to be missed. Taking place on July 4th every year, it is one of the oldest organized running events in the country. Despite its name, Mount Marathon is not a marathon at all but a 5k with just shy of 3,000 feet of vertical gain. Racers start in the small town of Seward, right on the ocean and run, hike, claw their way up the incredibly steep and rocky slopes of Mount Marathon. At the top, they round a flag pole and begin a sliding, almost free-falling, scree descent back down and into town. This is an amazing spectator event, so add Alaska to your July travel plans for 2024. This race is particularly near and dear to my heart, and despite being an ultrarunner, it remains one of my favorite experiences of all time. 

Hopefully, this 2024 running events calendar inspired you to sign up for a race, or at least book a vacation to go join the festivities. Running might not seem like a spectator sport, but in the right context, witnessing people running can be a lot of fun, and it may even make you want to try your hand at a 5k, 10k, and beyond. 

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