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Do you have an October race on your calendar yet? October tends to be a full month: There are pumpkin patches, corn mazes, haunted houses, fall breaks, and Halloween parties to enjoy. But it’s also a fantastic month for running.
This year, we get to enjoy the Chicago Marathon and postponed Boston Marathon for some back-to-back racing action. But on the recreational side, the weather tends to be cool and pleasant and the hard work you put in during the summer starts showing itself in your fitness.
If you don’t already have a race on your calendar for this month, consider one of the following to challenge yourself. We’ve found virtual and in-person races that raise money for migraine research, youth sports, trail maintenance, and LGBTQ support services.
September 29–October 26; Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Virtual
Approximately 39 million people in the United States suffer from migraine headaches. To raise money for various local migraine researchers, hospitals, and headache specialists, Miles for Migraine has set a goal to move all the way around the world—24,901 miles. Contribute your miles by running, walking, or even relaxing. That’s right, every photo you share practicing self-care counts as a mile in the challenge. Registration is $35.
September 30–December 13, Virtual
Eyewear brand Method Seven has put together a large, free virtual event for trail runners this fall, consisting of 8 distance challenges: 5K, 5 miles, 10K, 15K, 20K, 25K, 30K, and 50K. Run any distance (except for the 50K, which is only unlocked after completing the other distances) on any trail near you.
Even if you’re not putting in any cash, your miles serve multiple purposes in this event, the first being giving back to the trail community. M7 plans to donate one penny per mile for the first 500,000 miles (equaling $5,000) to the Silverton Singletrack Society.
The other purpose for your miles in this challenge series is to help develop new sun protective technology to benefit a community that spends so much time in the sun. Partnering with PWR Labs, M7 intends to use shared run data (“including latitude, longitude, elevation, time, mileage, UV exposure”) to design a lens specific to trail runners who are frequently exposed to the elements and UV radiation. Participants also have an opportunity to beta-test the product. Gear junkies, this one’s for you.
October 1–11, Virtual
The mile is a whole different animal. The goal of this virtual challenge is to try (and try again) to smash your mile PR. Put together a team and see how you rank against runners worldwide. Cash prizes will be awarded to fastest overall male and female and the fastest male and female teams of four.
The three largest teams will earn $15,000; $7,000; and $3,000, donated to a youth sports charity of their choice, in an effort to make sports accessible to all kids. According to the event page, 78 percent of low-income children miss out on youth sports “due to the ever growing list of barriers.”
October 9–17, Virtual
Celebrate National Coming Out Day (October 11) by getting out and moving your body. Sign up for a 5K or 10K distance to complete on your own in that week for a $20 registration fee. Proceeds will benefit The Pacific Center of Berkeley, the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, and the East Bay Front Runners and Walkers, all of which provide connection and support to the local LGBTQ community.
October 30, Rhode Island + Virtual
Raising money for a local youth sports organization, this cross-country 5K organized by Molly Huddle is not one to miss if you’re in the Rhode Island area. The course goes through Providence’s Roger Williams Park and includes a combination of road and park trails. For $25 you can join the fun in person or race virtually.
After a virtual year, Huddle is glad the race is returning in-person. “I always like seeing so many different runners from the community come enjoy a race they may not get to run very often—from kids running their first 5K to college club teams vying for the team titles to runners who haven’t run a cross-country course since their school days. Cross-country in the fall just feels right, so I’m glad to be able to get that back on the racing calendar for whoever wants to show up and check out beautiful Roger Williams Park,” she says.
Multiple Dates, Multiple States
Like the rest of us, kids were forced to slow down during the pandemic, with no (or extremely modified) physical education and sports programs for over a year. If you’re looking for a gateway to get them back involved in physical activity, running a race could be exactly what you all need. The Healthy Kids Running Series is a 5-week program starting in October across the nation for preschoolers (who run a 50 yard dash) through middle school aged kids (who race the mile). Each week your kid has the chance to earn points which can translate into trophies.