10 Jolly Old Christmas-Themed Running Races and Events around the USA!

Welcome to the festive season of running! When the winter air gets crisp and the holiday lights start to sparkle, it’s not just sleighs that take to the streets—runners do too, donning festive attire for holiday-themed races.

These events blend the joyous atmosphere of the holidays with the inclusive spirit of the running community, offering a merry way to keep fit during the most indulgent time of the year. From Santa sprints to frosty frolics, these races are a potpourri of costumes, carols, and cheer. No matter your pace or passion, there’s a holiday race out there to add some jingle to your step.

So, pull on your Santa hat, tie the laces of your most reliable running shoes, and let’s dash through the snow (or streets) with some of the most enchanting Christmas-themed races around the globe.

1. Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run 5K & 10K

The Festive Beachside Tradition

Race Overview:

  • Established: 1977
  • Location: Santa Monica and Venice, California
  • Distances: 5K and 10K
  • Scenery: Ocean views, iconic beachside communities

A Costume Extravaganza: Imagine a sea of Santas, a parade of prancing reindeer, and a lineup of lively elves, all racing along the sun-kissed California coast. The Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run is not just a race; it’s a holiday spectacle. Participants are encouraged to get creative with their costumes, adding a vibrant splash of reds, greens, and golds to the already picturesque route.

Community and Charity: The heart of this event beats to the drum of community spirit and charitable giving. Each year, the race partners with local charities, ensuring that the season of giving is felt by all, not just the runners. Post-race, the festivities continue with a variety of holiday-themed activities that bring smiles to faces and warmth to hearts.

Why Run Here? If you’re looking to blend a competitive race with a hearty dose of holiday cheer, the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run is the place to be. It’s a chance to set a personal record with Santa watching and to enjoy a well-earned celebration afterward, all while contributing to a good cause.

2. Santa Hustle

The Nationwide Jolly Jog

Race Overview:

  • Event Type: Race Series
  • Locations: Various cities across the USA
  • Theme: Full-on Santa

Santa Suits and Goodies: When you sign up for the Santa Hustle, you’re not just signing up for a race; you’re signing up for a full Santa experience. Each participant receives a Santa hat, beard, and performance hoodie, ensuring that everyone looks the part as they dash down the streets. And it’s not just the attire that’s festive—the courses are decked out with holiday decorations, candy and cookies stations, and even giant inflatable Santas.

Post-Race Festivities: After crossing the finish line, the holiday spirit continues with an epic after-party. Runners can enjoy holiday music, a festive environment, and a well-deserved feast of milk and cookies. It’s a perfect way to celebrate your running achievement and get into the holiday mood.

Why Run Here? The Santa Hustle is more than a race; it’s a holiday happening. It’s where the joy of running meets the heart of the holiday season. Whether you’re in it for the fitness or the fun, this event promises a ho-ho-whole lot of both. Plus, the series’ involvement with local charities means you’re spreading cheer both on and off the course.

3. Detroit Santa Speedo Run

The Cheeky Chilly Challenge

Race Overview:

  • Location: Detroit, Michigan
  • Event Style: Fun Run
  • Dress Code: Speedos and Santa hats
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A Dash of Daring: The Detroit Santa Speedo Run is a test of both speed and courage. Braving the cold in nothing but Speedos and Santa hats, runners show off their festive—and athletic—sides. This quirky event has become a highlight of the holiday season, with participants embracing the chill for a thrillingly unique run through the heart of Detroit.

Party Atmosphere: Despite the minimal attire, the atmosphere is anything but bare. The streets buzz with energy as spectators cheer on the brave souls sprinting in their festive garb. The run culminates in a lively post-race party where runners can warm up, celebrate their frosty feat, and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow participants.

Why Run Here? If you’re looking for an unconventional way to celebrate the season, the Detroit Santa Speedo Run is for you. It’s a chance to be bold, be merry, and make some unforgettable holiday memories. Plus, the event raises funds for local charities, so your daring dash supports a good cause.

4. Christmas City Classic 5-Miler & Candy Cane 5K

Historic Holiday Hustle

Race Overview:

  • Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania—”The Christmas City”
  • Distances: 5-Miler & 5K
  • Setting: Historic downtown with festive decorations

A Bethlehem Tradition: Running through the heart of Bethlehem during the Christmas season is like stepping into a living holiday card. The Christmas City Classic 5-Miler and Candy Cane 5K are staples of the local holiday calendar, taking runners on a scenic tour of this historic city adorned with beautiful Christmas decor.

Festive Features: The race isn’t just about the distance; it’s about the experience. Carolers serenade runners along the course, and the smell of holiday treats fills the air, providing an extra boost to get to the finish line. Participants often dress in holiday attire, adding to the communal festive flair.

Why Run Here? The Christmas City Classic is a chance to experience the warmth of a community that truly embraces the holiday spirit. It’s a race that supports local charities and brings runners together in a celebration of fitness, fun, and yuletide joy. Whether you’re racing the 5-Miler or walking the 5K, you’re part of a tradition that’s as much about community as it is about competition.

5. Hot Chocolate Run

The Sweetest Race of the Season

Race Overview:

  • Event Type: Race Series
  • Locations: Various cities across the USA
  • Theme: Chocolate indulgence

Chocolate Treats and Holiday Beats: The Hot Chocolate Run series is a celebration of all things cozy and sweet. As you take on the 5K or 15K distances, you’re treated to a course lined with chocolate stations offering marshmallows, chocolate chips, and M&M’s. The indulgence doesn’t stop at the finish line—there’s a post-race party where runners can enjoy music, hot cocoa, and fondue.

A Medal Worth Running For: Each finisher receives a medal that’s as delightful as the race itself—often shaped like a chocolate bar or a mug of hot cocoa. It’s a memento that’s both a reward for your physical feat and a symbol of the season’s sweetness.

Why Run Here? The Hot Chocolate Run is perfect for those who love to pair their miles with a bit of indulgence. It’s a family-friendly event that celebrates the joy of running and the pleasure of chocolate, all while supporting local charities. Whether you’re a competitive runner or a chocolate-loving walker, this race promises a deliciously good time.

6. Christmas Jingle All the Way Run 5K/10K/13.1

The Merrymaking Metroplex Marathon

Race Overview:

  • Location: Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  • Distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon
  • Theme: Spreading Christmas joy through every step

Jingle Bells and Running Shoes: The Christmas Jingle All the Way Run is a Texas-sized celebration of the holiday season. Participants are encouraged to jingle all the way to the finish line with bells on their shoes, making for a melodious ensemble as the crowd moves together. With distances ranging from the family-friendly 5K to the more challenging half marathon, there’s a race for every level of runner looking to celebrate the season.

Festive Swag and Cheer: Every racer is greeted with not just a course filled with holiday spirit but also with festive swag that includes themed medals, T-shirts, and other goodies. The event fosters a joyful community vibe, with many runners and supporters dressed in their most cheerful Christmas attire.

Why Run Here? The Christmas Jingle All the Way Run is more than just a race; it’s a holiday party on the move. It’s a chance to experience the warmth of the Texan holiday spirit and to contribute to the season’s joy. Whether you’re aiming for a personal best or just want to enjoy a run with a side of holiday cheer, this event is sure to leave you with a heart as full as your stockings.

7. 12Ks of Christmas

The Dozen Distances of December

Race Overview:

  • Location: Various locations across the USA
  • Distance: 12K
  • Theme: The 12 days of Christmas come to life

Twelve Kilometers of Tradition: The 12Ks of Christmas is a unique event that brings the classic carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” into a running reality. This 12K (approximately 7.45 miles) offers a festive twist on the traditional race distance, challenging runners to go the extra kilometer for holiday fun.

Holiday Entertainment En Route: As runners tackle the 12K course, they’re treated to holiday entertainment that reflects the theme of the twelve days. From drummers drumming to pipers piping, the sights and sounds of Christmas are a constant companion along the route, providing motivation and merriment.

Why Run Here? For those looking to add a dash of holiday tradition to their running regimen, the 12Ks of Christmas is the perfect event. It’s a fun way to test your endurance while soaking up the festive atmosphere. Plus, participating in this race is a novel way to count down the days to Christmas, making each kilometer a celebration of the season.

8. A Charlie Brown Christmas 5K/10K

The Peanuts-Themed Holiday Hustle

Race Overview:

  • Location: Various locations across the USA
  • Distances: 5K, 10K
  • Theme: Celebrating the classic holiday special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Good Grief, It’s a Run: The A Charlie Brown Christmas 5K/10K captures the heartwarming essence of the beloved Peanuts holiday special. Runners and fans of all ages come together to celebrate the season with a nod to Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang. The event often includes themed decorations and music from the iconic soundtrack, creating a nostalgic and joyful race atmosphere.

Festive Fun for the Family: This event is perfect for families and runners looking to add a touch of whimsy to their holiday festivities. With distances suitable for all ages and abilities, it’s an inclusive way to share in the holiday spirit. Participants might even receive Peanuts-themed race swag, adding to the charm of the event.

Why Run Here? If you’re a fan of the Peanuts characters or just love the idea of a lighthearted, festive run, the A Charlie Brown Christmas 5K/10K is an ideal choice. It’s a sweet way to celebrate the season’s traditions while making new memories. Plus, the cheerful vibe is sure to keep spirits high, even on the coldest of winter race days.

9. Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler

The Coastal Christmas Classic

Race Overview:

  • Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Distance: 5 Miler
  • Theme: Surf meets Santa in a beachside holiday celebration

Ride the Holiday Wave: The Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler brings the beach to the holiday season, offering a unique twist on the typical winter race. Runners trade snowflakes for sand as they take on a flat, fast course along the Virginia Beach oceanfront, often decked out in their best surf-themed Santa outfits.

Post-Race Party on the Pier: The holiday fun doesn’t stop at the finish line. The event is famous for its post-race festivities, which include a Santa’s Workshop themed party complete with live entertainment, a costume contest, and plenty of holiday cheer. Runners can warm up with hot cocoa or celebrate with a frosty beer from the local brewery sponsor.

Why Run Here? The Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler is an ideal race for those looking to mix their love of running with a beach party vibe. It’s a chance to escape the winter chill and enjoy a different kind of holiday celebration. Whether you’re racing to win or just there for the fun, this event promises a memorable experience with a splash of holiday spirit.

10. Reindeer Romp 5K

Run, Run Rudolph: The Reindeer Race

Race Overview:

  • Location: Various locations across the USA
  • Distance: 5K
  • Theme: Reindeer-themed run to kick off the festive season

Dashing Through the Streets: The Reindeer Romp 5K is a holiday celebration where participants are encouraged to channel their inner Rudolph. With antlers atop their heads and red noses leading the way, runners of all ages take to the streets to spread holiday cheer. This event is often accompanied by a festive soundtrack of holiday tunes, ensuring every step is taken in stride with the season’s joy.

Family-Friendly Festivities: This event is designed for the whole family, with a special focus on fun and togetherness. A kids’ race often precedes the main event, allowing little ones to partake in the reindeer games. Post-race activities typically include holiday crafts, photo opportunities with Santa, and other family-oriented entertainment.

Why Run Here? The Reindeer Romp 5K is the perfect opportunity to make holiday memories while staying active. It’s a race that embraces the fun aspect of running, encouraging participants to dress up and enjoy the season’s festivities. Whether you’re a competitive runner looking for a light-hearted race or a family seeking a holiday outing, this event promises a jolly good time.


As the holiday season approaches, these top 10 holiday-themed races offer runners the chance to indulge in the festive spirit while pursuing their passion for running. From the sunny shores of the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run to the jingle-jogging fun of the Reindeer Romp 5K, there’s a race out there to suit every runner’s holiday wish list.

These events are not just about the miles logged or the finish lines crossed; they’re about creating joyous moments and cherished memories during the most wonderful time of the year.

So lace up your sneakers, don your most festive attire, and hit the ground running at one of these merry and bright races. Whether you’re looking to set a new personal record or simply enjoy a leisurely run with family and friends, each event offers a unique way to celebrate the season’s cheer. Happy holidays, and may your runs be merry and light!

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