5 Types of Running Races

It's time to try something new with your running.


By Zoe


Whether you are a well seasoned runner or a beginner, taking part in a race may be something you’ve already done or are contemplating doing for the first time.

Running a race is a great way to both challenge and to motivate yourself in your training. There are a lot of different types of races to get involved in-- it isn’t just about running on the road.

Here are some different types of races that you can take part in.

1. Trail Racing

Trail racing is similar to cross country racing and usually takes places on mountains and hiking locations on grassy/trail type terrain.

Trail running and racing has become very popular and it has some great benefits such as not having to run on hard surfaces, which can increase wear and tear on the joints. Running on trails also means there is generally no need to dodge traffic.

Check out America’s best trail races.

2. Triathlons

Triathlons have become increasingly popular with many runners feeling the need to do more than just running a race.

A triathlon consists of a swim, cycle, and a run to the finish. If you want to set yourself a challenge that is more than just running - a triathlon is a great challenge. Most triathlons consist of a 1500m swim (just under a mile), a 40km mile bike ride (24.85 miles), and a 10k (6.2 mile) run at the end.

3. Fun Runs

Fun runs are a great way to dip your toe into the world of racing or to build up your experience and give yourself a challenge. They tend to be 5-10km in distance and often appeal to beginner runners.

There are hundreds of fun runs around to take part in either for fun and/or to raise money for charity at the same time.

The general distances for a lot of fun runs are 3.1 miles (5 km) and 6.21 miles (10 km). They are great to run with friends. Many charities support events and encourage their supporters to run for them to raise money. The charities are there on the event day to support their runners making it a fun and worthwhile event for all involved.

In addition to the fun runs above, there are a lot of themed running events now such as the Disney races, which are very popular and lots of fun. If wine is your thing, then there are fancy dress themed events around the world such as the French Marathon du Medoc where runners run in costumes and drink wine at each mile marker.

4. Team Obstacle Racing

Imagine running through a series of completely dark tunnels, through ice cold water and dangling electrical wires! If that makes you say, “where do I sign up?” then perhaps obstacle racing is for you.

It has become a major trend in the last few years with events such as Tough Mudder and Spartan races springing up all across the world. They are army style races and not for the faint hearted or for those with long term injuries, but if you think it sounds like fun then there are plenty to get involved in.

5. Ultra Racing

If a 5 mile race or even a marathon (26.25 miles) doesn’t seem far enough for you and you are interested in long distance, then perhaps ultrarunning races are for you.

Ultra marathons are generally races longer than 26.25 miles. Today there are many events across the world now ranging from 50 miles to 200+ miles with some very famous races such as the toughest ultras in the world, the Marathon Des Sables in the Sahara and the Comrades Marathon in South Africa.

If you’re interested in more ultra races, check out Runner’s World’s recommendations.

Finding the race that fits you or trying something new is a great way to stay motivated in your running and to take your running to the next level - Good Luck!

UK born and based currently in Australia, Zoe has a passion for running as evident by her participation in excess of 30 running events, including five marathons, over the past 14 years. Wanting to share her enthusiasm for running, five years ago Zoe started a blog for the everyday runner “The Girl That Runs“. This blog has quickly built up a strong following amongst runners of all ages and experience levels looking for advice with easily relatable content.

Main Photo Credit & Second Photo Credit: Pavel1964/; Third Photo Credit: Maridav/; Fourth Photo Credit: lzf/

Mar 26, 2016

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