Running has a reputation as a solitary sport filled with long miles and quiet stretches of road and trail. Running groups can help quell the loneliness, but for those who are looking for opportunities to get friends and family involved, couples races are the cure!
All over the country, runners have opportunities to set and complete goals together — as friends, lovers or both! From races made with mothers and daughters in mind to ones that tether you to your mate, there is truly a race perfect for every relationship and fitness goal. So grab your mother, son, best friend or significant other and get ready to put your relationship on the start line.
1. Couples Triathlon (July)
With the slogan "It Takes Two," this team triathlon in Austin, Texas, proves that things are better in pairs. With a range of divisions — from friends to more than friends to spouses to siblings and more — there is a category for every team that wants to participate. All individuals compete in the same distance, including a 500-meter swim, 11.2-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run.
After completion, awards are determined based on the division and combined age of the team. Age-group awards are given to individual competitors as well. This unique triathlon format and staggered start times based on relationship status and combined age makes the Couples Triathlon the perfect race for couples — whether friends or family — to add to their race schedule.
2. Savannah’s Mother Daughter 5K (May)
Mothers and daughters share a special bond, and it's one that can only be made stronger by the memories created together. In Savannah, Georgia, mothers and daughters can make memories while training for and completing the annual Mother Daughter 5K. Grandmothers and great-grandmothers are invited to celebrate their one-of-a-kind bond as well completing a goal together.
Strollers are allowed, and daughters age 9 and younger participate for free. Teams participate as combined age groups, and there is an award for the highest cumulative age. (In the past, this has been more than 400 years old!) Take advantage of the quality time that training and racing brings, and get or give motherly love while on the run.
3. The Couples Relay (February)
This year, runners in Novato, California, can take part in the 35th Annual Couples Relay. This event isn't just for couples, though. There are divisions for mothers and sons, fathers and daughters and more. If you don't have a partner but still would like to register, race-day officials will try to pair you with a teammate. The Couples Relay takes place on a four-mile course on which teammates take turns running a one-mile loop twice, tagging off relay-style after their leg. So grab a partner and get ready to run wild!
4. TC Urban Dash (August)
Twin Cities in Motion presents the TC Urban Dash, a scavenger-hunt-style race for couples who are looking for a more unique race day. Though you can compete as an individual, teams of two or four are encouraged for double and quadruple the brainpower.
Great for runners of all levels, participants get to explore the city of Minneapolis on foot by collecting points in this adventurous race. Solve clues and complete physical and mental challenges to move along the course, then be the first to arrive back to win! Team up and get ready to explore the North Loop neighborhood and see the city in a new light.
5. The Glacier Challenge (July)
The Glacier Challenge gives participants the opportunity for a truly memorable race experience. Bike, paddle and run just over 50 miles of Montana terrain starting in the city of Whitefish. Though you can enter as an individual, partners and teams of up to seven participants are allowed and encouraged.
There are six legs to the event that all take place over the course of one day, and there is a triathlon option in which participants complete the first three legs of the course only. Couples, families and even organizations can come together and engage in some friendly competition — whether racing seriously or just for fun. The kayak, canoe, road-bike and mountain-bike legs all let racers branch out of their comfort zones and participate in a one-of-a-kind challenge.
6. Atlanta Dog Jog (May)
This race is for those who consider their dogs to be their better halves. In Atlanta, runners and their dogs hit the road to compete in a 5K or one-mile run/walk. One of the few races that allows dogs on the course, the Atlanta Dog Jog is also an official qualifying race for the famed Peachtree Road Race.
The race is presented by VetHeart of Georgia, and proceeds go to supporting their mission of developing animal-welfare programs and supporting veterinary-care awareness and education. Dogs must be on a leash at all times (and dogs competing must be on a leash no longer than six feet). Grab your furry friend and partner up for a race to remember.
7. Valentine’s Two-Mile Labor of Love Run (February)
The campus of Northern Kentucky University is the backdrop for this Valentine's Day-themed race, which takes place the week before Cupid's holiday. The two-mile course is the perfect distance to race with a loved one — romantically or otherwise — to have a fun-filled day celebrating your love of each other and running.
What makes this race stand out for couples is the specialty categories: including Ball and Chain, in which teammates are tethered together during the run; Blind Date, in which you are paired with an unknown partner; and Odd Couple, made up of a male-male "Felix and Oscar" or female-female "Thelma and Louise" teams.