RaceRaves features race distances for every runner, from one-mile events to ultramarathons as well as team relays and multi-stage challenges (when a single day isn’t enough!). We’re dedicated to helping runners find the best races of any distance, across the country and around the world. Because the best race distance is the one that motivates you to get off the couch, run strong and challenge yourself.
Keep in mind — while these are a few of the most popular race distances, there are hundreds more. We’ve even profiled several unconventional races on our blog, to give you an appreciation for the breadth of distances available.
Click on a distance below to see a list of upcoming races for that distance, but be careful — today’s 5K can quickly become tomorrow’s marathon!
Most popular race distances
- 5K – The 5K (3.1 miles) is the most popular race distance in the United States, accounting for nearly half of all paid registrants in 2017. Which comes as no surprise — whether as a local fundraiser with friends or as part of a larger event, the 5K is the ideal introduction to timed, organized racing. Don’t let its diminutive distance fool you, though; challenging yourself to run a 5K at top speed is one of the most gratifyingly painful experiences you can have as a runner.
- 10K – Representing over 14% of all running events and 7% of all finishers in 2017, the 10K (6.2 miles) distance is a logical stepping stone from the 5K to longer distances such as the half marathon. Though often overlooked and underappreciated by more seasoned runners who prefer longer distances, the 10K is long enough to enable the occasional runner to stretch their comfort zone, while serving as a handy measuring stick for the serious runner training to race their best marathon or half marathon.
- 10 Miler – The 10 mile (16.1K) distance is a convenient number not only when it comes to calculating per-mile pacing, but as a gauge of fitness for runners training for longer distances. Though not nearly as prevalent among US running events as other distances listed here, 10 miles in recent years has become increasingly popular as a “tweener” distance, longer than a 10K but shorter than a half marathon.
- Half Marathon – Widely considered the sweet spot of distance running, the half marathon (13.1 mile) distance — sometimes referred to as a “Pikermi” — is the threshold at which some enthusiasts consider themselves “serious” runners. For many it’s the ideal balance of speed and stamina — long enough to feel like a legitimate effort, but short enough to run hard without limping for the next three days. In 2016 the half marathon enjoyed the second-highest participation rate among US finishers (11%) behind only the 5K.
- Marathon – Inspired by the Greek herald Pheidippides’ run from Marathon to Athens in 490 BC to announce victory over the Persians in the Battle of Marathon, the present-day marathon race (26.2 miles) is the gold standard of race distances and a bucket-list event for many runners. Consistent with the focused training and mental fortitude required to successfully complete the distance, along with its bucket-list status, marathon finishers represented only 3% of all US race finishers in 2016.
- 50K – For hardcore runners who want to peek behind the ultramarathon curtain but who aren’t ready to commit to a full 50 miles, the 50K (31.1 mile) is the most popular introductory distance. At just five miles more than a marathon, the 50K is an excellent option to test the limits of your comfort zone while still being able to proclaim yourself an ultramarathoner at the end of the day. (Note: Most 50K races and longer are run on unpaved trails, and so some familiarity with trail running is recommended.)
- 50 Miler – For hardcore running enthusiasts or trail aficionados in search of their next endorphin high, the 50 mile (80K) distance represents a legitimate ultramarathon experience. Compared to the marathon or even the 50K, 50 miles poses a unique set of challenges in terms of pacing and nutrition (not to mention chafing!). The nation’s oldest and largest 50 mile race, the JFK 50 Mile in Maryland, was created in 1963 in response to President John F. Kennedy’s renewed emphasis on physical fitness.
- 100K – The 100K (62 miles) distance represents the “gateway” distance to 100 miles for many ultramarathon runners. At the same time, it’s a frequently celebrated milestone in its own right. Because let’s face it: as the more accessible of the triple-digit distances, 100K is a beautifully round number that still sounds awfully impressive. And some of the world’s most challenging 100K races double as qualifying events for the prestigious Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run.
- 100 Miler – As ultramarathons continue to increase in popularity, it has been remarked — somewhat tongue-in-cheek — that 100 miles (161K) may be the new marathon. Which is true in one regard, because just as the marathon is the gold standard among road runners, the 100 mile distance is the Holy Grail among ultramarathoners and endorphin junkies. To reach its finish line, though, participants must dig deep to muster up physical and mental fortitude they may not know they possess.