Whether you’re a habitual marathon runner or you’ve never laced up a pair of running shoes, this could be a great year to hit the pavement or the trails of Pierce County. You could go it alone, but one of the best ways to get fit or stay fit is to sign up for a race. There’s nothing like the camaraderie of doing a fun run, a 5K or training for a longer race.

Fortunately, Pierce County cities from Tacoma to Gig Harbor have all kinds of races for all kinds of runners.

On Going

Free Saturday 5K: Run often and run for free! This 5K takes place every Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. in Point Defiance Park. All ages and abilities are welcome, but run organizers do request that you be able to finish in an hour or less.


January 6: Run the GreensThis cross-country-style 5K takes to Meadow Park Golf Course. Run or walk, all ages welcome.

January 20: No Sun Fun Run What better name could there be for a run in January! With two lengths to choose from – a one-mile course and a 5K – this is a great run for runners who aren’t quite ready to tackle the 5K. The course for the 5K is on the Nathan Chapman Memorial Trail in Puyallup, while the one-mile course starts at the Heritage Recreation Center. This is one of three races in the Pierce County Race Series.

Valentines Day Run
Run with your significant other or run with the family on Valentine’s Day. Photo courtesy: Metro Parks Tacoma


February 10: Valentines 5K – Metro Parks offers this family-friendly run as the perfect way to get Valentine’s Day started “on the right foot” with an out-and-back course along Ruston Way. The event includes both a 5K and a Kids Dash, and the Kids Dash participants are well supervised if parents want to run the 5K while their kids run the dash on their own (or parents are welcome to run with kids in the kids dash too).  


March 3: Foothills Dash – Another of the three-race Pierce County Race Series. This one takes to the Foothills Trail in Orting and includes a one-mile youth run, a 5K and a 10K fun run that benefits youth programs.

March 17: St. Paddy’s Day Run – What finer way could there be to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day that to go on a run? This race has options for the whole family, including a kids 1K, and then a 5K, 10K and a half marathon.

March 18: Just Tri – The first in a series of seven seven-mile races, the Just Tri series is unique. Runners will receive a medal each race. Those who complete all seven races will be able to assemble a dragon out of the individual medals, which all will fit together. Not all races are located in Pierce County. The rest of the series includes Dragon #2 on April 22 in Dupont, Dragon #3 on May 13 in Lacey, Dragon #4 on August 19 in Tacoma, Dragon #5 back at Fort Steilacoom Park on September 16, Dragon #6 at Chambers Bay on November 25, and Dragon #8 at Fort Steilacoom Park on December 8. 

Swan Creek Mud Run
Be prepared to get a little dirty for the Swan Creek Mud Run. Photo credit: Russ Carmack

March 24: Mud Run – A run not for the faint of heart, this one involves mud (obviously) and obstacles that range from fire jumping to belly crawling. All obstacles are optional, but the mud is not! The race takes place at Swan Creek Park.


April 1: Sporty Diva’s 6.55M, half marathon and marathon – This non-competitive run benefits the Orting Food Bank. 

April 5: Opening Day 5kRun a 5K along the flat, paved Scott Pierson Trail and then watch a Rainiers game at Cheney Stadium after.

April 8: Daffodil 5K Challenge –The Daffodil 5K Challenge has races in Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner and Orting. Choose one or run all four as the start times are staggered.

April 28-29: Tacoma City Marathon – This weekend of running includes several races. On April 28, run a 5K, or the Ghost of Tacoma half or full marathon. On April 29, run in the Tacoma City Marathon, half marathon or ultra marathon. The Tacoma City Marathon is an out-and-back course that crosses the Narrows Bridge.


May 5: Hunger Walk & 5K Run – Walk or run this 5K to support the Emergency Food Network. The course travels around Waughop Lake in Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood for both runners and walkers. 

May 5: MetroParks Cinco de Mayo 5K – Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a 5K or kids one-mile run through Wright Park. The course is cross-country style with three loops around the park.


June 3: You Matter Movement 5K & Half Marathon Walk/Run – Run or walk around Waughop Lake in Lakewood’s Fort Steilacoom Park. Along with the race, other activities include a bounce house for kids, and some warm-up Zumba for runners.

June 9: Sound to NarrowsThe course offers a pretty solid tour of the North End, weaving through neighborhoods and through Point Defiance, and features three different courses – the 12K, 5K and a 2K junior shuffle.

June 30: Orting Marathon/Half Marathon/5K Run/Kid Color Run – If you seek a pretty straight forward and mostly flat USATF marathon, half marathon or 5K, this is the race for you. The races follow the Foothills Trail in Orting.


July 4: Point Ruston Independence 5K – Celebrate Independence Day in style on a flat, easy course that ends at Point Ruston. There’s also a 1K for kids.

July 4: Fort Steilacoom Running Club’s 30th Annual Four on the Fourth – Pair your running with a party! Start with either the four-mile course or sign the kids up for the kids one mile, then enjoy a street fair, parade and fireworks after.

July 14: Chambers Bay Challenge – This 5K offers up some of Pierce County’s best scenery at the waterfront Chambers Bay Golf Course, but also one of the best workouts in town as you’ll face a long, steady uphill climb. If you don’t want the climb, there’s also a flat 1K.

July 14: Color in Motion 5K – This color run allows you to throw color on your friends (or strangers too, if you want) and run through scenic Swan Creek Park. DJs and music at color stations keep this race fun and lively.

July 21: Swan Creek 5K – Enjoy a scenic trail run through Swan Creek Park in East Tacoma. While much of the park is unpaved and sometimes muddy, the course is along paved roads.


August 11: Galloping Gertie Half Marathon – Sign up for the half marathon, the 5K or 10K. All three courses end at the Narrows Bridge and help raise money for local causes.

August 18: Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon & Relay – This course is a great way to see plenty of Tacoma, including the Narrows Bridge, parts of the Scott Pierson Trail and downtown Tacoma.

August 22: Thirsty Summer Nights 5KRun the course through Titlow Park and then sip on root beer and Orange Crush floats after the race.


September 1: Bonney Lake Triathlon – If a simple run is just not enough, then this triathlon might foot the bill. Combine a swim in Lake Tapps with a stretch on your bike and finish it off with a run with views of Lake Tapps and Mount Rainier.

September 8: The Dog Gone Run 2-Mile – A two-mile course designed for dog owners and their favorite Fido ends with a Pooch Pool Party. Sign up for the run only, the swim only or both.

September 16: Race for a Soldier – Enjoy some scenery and help raise money for the Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation, which raises funds to help soldiers with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries get help when they need it.

Black Cat Run
Run in the dark with light sticks or other light-up gear for the Black Cat Run at Point Defiance. Photo credit: Russ Carmack


October 8: Stein Dash 5K – Register for the 3.1-mile race at the Washington State Fair Events Center and get your very own commemorative stein. Stop for pit stops along the way and chug some beer while you’re at it. When the race is done, enjoy more beer, wiener dog races, food and fun. For little runners, there’s also a root beer run.

October 13: Defiance 50K, 30K, 15K – If a marathon is just not enough, then the Defiance 50K has got your back. The course for all three races loops through Point Defiance Park – the 15K goes around once, 30K goes around twice, and 50K goes three times.

October 27: Black Cat – Dress up in costume and make sure to bring glow sticks, strobe lights or other lights for this five-mile, two-mile or kids race through Point Defiance.

Norpoint Turkey Trot
Burn off some Turkey Day calories with the Turkey Trot. Photo credit: Russ Carmack.


TBD in November: Gig Harbor Turkey Trot – Burn some calories to support the inevitable feasting later in the day with a 5K or 10K through downtown Gig Harbor.

November 22: Tacoma Turkey Trot – Take a 5K run or walk through Tacoma’s lovely Proctor District, or sign your kids up for the 1K.

November 22: Turkey Trot – Ensuring that turkey trots are evenly distributed, this trot is in Northeast Tacoma and features both a 5K and 2K as well as a kids dash.


December 8: Santa Run – Get into the holiday spirit with a 5K, 10K or half marathon. New in 2018 are three-person relay race teams on the half marathon.

December 24: Jingle Bell Run – If you don’t want to be stuck indoors on Christmas Eve, join in the Jingle Bell Run 5K that starts at Tacoma’s Wright Park.


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