12 Reasons + 12 Months of 5ks to Keep Olympia Runners Motivated in 2015

Photo courtesy: ontherunevents.com


By Anne Larsen

Rock FitnessI love 5ks! Really, I do. The first race I ever did was a 5k. It was slow and painful and I walked funny for days afterwards, but I did it. After that 5k I signed up for any race I could come across to keep me motivated. I drove to Longview to do a 5k and was beat by a guy pushing a double jogger and running with two yellow labs. But I did it. Something magical happens when you pin a race number on and you instantly become part of the local running community.

I’ve got twelve great reasons to walk, jog or run a 5k and twelve months of 5k races for you to participate in.

Ready, set, RUN!

olympia 5k
You can find a 5k race every month in Thurston County.
Photo courtesy: ontherunevents.com

Top Twelve Reasons to Participate in a 5k (in no particular order):

  1. Running 5ks will certainly increase your t-shirt collection.
  2. Running 5ks is achievable. Maybe you are super busy or maybe you’ve been super lazy (no judgment). You can train for a 5k by walk/running in just a few weeks.
  3. Running 5ks is convenient. You can run a 5k that starts at 9:00 a.m. and be home by 10:30 a.m. – no problem. In a world of competing weekend activities, this convenience is a huge bonus.
  4. Running 5ks is exhilarating. You are pinning on a number and you are racing. You can brag about that all day.
  5. Running 5ks will improve your fitness and race times. If you run a 5k a month and get hooked on it, most likely your times will improve, and that’s exciting.
  6. Running 5ks is motivating. Say you pin on a number and run your first 5k. Then you sign up for another 5k. Before you know it you’ve convinced yourself to do a 10k and beyond.
  7. Running 5ks is something the whole family can do. If the event has the term “fun run” included in the header then that means it’s geared for the whole family and participants of all speeds and ages. Get ready to be beat by a 10-year-old.
  8. Running 5ks will introduce you to a whole world of runners. You’ll see runners with different running group t-shirts on, runners with lots of gear and runners in cotton sweatshirts from 1988. There are a bunch of secret runners out there – I bet you’ll see someone you never knew ran.
  9. Running 5ks is WAY cheaper than running longer distances. Plus you get all the post-race goodies and you get them sooner.
  10. Running 5ks usually supports a good cause. You’ll feel good mentally and physically.
  11. Running 5ks will give you bragging rights at the office. That’s right. Lots of people say they will run or walk a race someday But you, you did it, and you’ve got the race shirt to prove it.
  12. Seriously, anyone can do anything for 3.2 miles. You may be slow, but you are moving a lot faster than those folks drinking Starbucks on the sidelines.
olympia 5k
The Elvis Dash is a 5k race that encourages costumes. Photo courtesy: ontherunevents.com

Are there really 5k’s every month in Thurston County? Of course! There are two local websites that I often check when I’m in the mood to run a race. The first is On the Run Events and the other is Run Oly. Check in with these websites often.  Typically races only start promoting three to four months before the event.

Twelve Months of 5ks – or distances close to that


Resolution Run Series, January 1, 5k & 5 mile option.


This is a race series, and the miles increase every event, but you can participate in just the first one. These races are not glamorous or scenic (you run along a lot of cyclone fencing near JBLM) but they have wonderful post-run refreshments hosted inside, which is nice in January. Many experienced runners use this series as training for a spring marathon or half marathon.

The Elvis Dash 5k, January 17, 5k


Come whoop it up as Elvis or Priscilla in this fun run hosted by The Strong Center located by South Puget Sound Community College. If you love Elvis, this is the run for you.


ROAD-odend-RUN, February 22, 2 runners x 1.5 miles x 2 legs apiece = 6 miles


Each two-person team will complete four laps around Capitol Lake starting at Heritage Park. Each team member runs two non-successive, flat and fast 1.5 mile laps (commemorative keepsake relay slap bracelet will be supplied). There is also a 6 mile solo option.

There are some fast local middle school and high school runners at this race. I believe I got beat by a sixth grader a few years back, but it’s super fun and Jesse and Jenny Stevick do a wonderful job.


olympia 5k
Your reward for finishing the Donut Dash is, of course, a donut. Photo courtesy: ontherunevents.com

Donut Dash, March 8, 5k


Did someone say donut? Your donut waits at the finish line of this fun run! Club Oly Running and South Sound Running in cooperation with Hands On Children’s Museum and Crime Stoppers host the Donut Dash.

Friends of Mia St. Patrick’s Day Gold Run, March 14, 5k


Sponsored by O’Blarney’s, this 5k offers two waves, one timed for faster runners and one untimed for participants just looking to have fun. Friends of Mia know how to have fun and they love good swag, so it’s guaranteed to bring smiles to every participant.

Friendship Run, March 15, 5k & 10k


Starting and ending at McLane Elementary School, this fun run is great for walkers and runners alike. Plus they typically have great homemade treats and fun raffle prizes!


Run Like a Fool, April 4, 5k


A super-fast and friendly 5k around Capitol Lake makes this a great race to set a personal record.


Capital City 5 Miler, May 17, 5 miles


Be a part of the excitement. The Capital City Marathon weekend is a great time to run in Olympia. The race includes fun pre- and post-race activities and you can finish alongside half-marathon and marathon runners. Lots of great “go runner” signs on this course will keep you motivated.

Tortoise and the Hare Prediction Run, May 30, 5k


olympia 5k
The Run for Rett is a family friendly race slated for June. Photo courtesy: ontherunevents.com

Leave the watches and the Garmins at home. This race is all about predicting your finish time. The winners are the participants that finish closest to their predicted time. It’s a fun run with great raffle prizes.


Run for Rett, June 6, 5k


The Run for Rett is all about family. Race director Lauren Cramer is a mom of three and knows what kids like. I think this is a great cause, fantastic run and Lauren always orders nice shirts and rounds up awesome prizes.


Lakefair, July 18, 8k


Lakefair weekend is a tradition in Olympia, and you can run one of the fastest and flattest 8ks during it.

olympia 5k
Most 5k races have a kid-friendly component. Grab the whole family. Photo courtesy: ontherunevents.com


Run Like a Dog, 5k (check back for date)

This race starts and ends at South Bay Veterinary Hospital, traveling 5k along the Chehalis-Western Trail. Tons of dogs, really I’m not joking, tons of dogs. They also have great swag bags and a fun raffle afterwards with a bunch of vendors and sponsors.


9/11 Memorial Run, 5k

The 9/11 Memorial Run starts and ends at Top Rung Brewery and benefits local fire fighter benevolent funds, hosted by Fit Life Studio.

Brighter Futures Run, 5k (check back for date)

This event is a fun color run that benefits Community Youth Services. Racers start with a white shirt and end with a color splashed shirt. Kids love this event.


I believe I saw at least five zombie and Halloween dashes in town. With options of night or day 5ks that are family friendly or spooky, you can choose.


Turn Back the Clock, November 1, 5k

You get an extra hour in the day, why not spend it running? A flat and fast 5k course that starts and ends at Rainier Vista Park in Lacey hosted by Club Oly Running. It includes a 10k, half-marathon and kids run option.

olympia 5k
At least four options are listed in December for a 5k race. Photo courtesy: ontherunevents.com

Oly Trot, Thanksgiving Day, 4 mile


Starts at Capitol Lake and runs through the Capitol Campus. A Thanksgiving tradition that benefits the Thurston County Food Bank,  Oly Trot starts at Capitol Lake and runs through the Capitol Campus. The race is hosted by Guerrilla Running.


Take your pick in December – Jingle Bell Run (Saint Martin’s University), Reindeer Run (Hands On Children’s Muesum), Run Olympia Relay (Capitol Lake) and White Elephant Run (South Sound Running). There are multiple races throughout Thurston County.

So there you have it. Twelve reasons to run a 5k and twelve months of races. Make 2015 the year that you run, walk or jog a 5k or two. Fast or slow, old or young, 5ks are a race distance for everyone. Happy running!

All photos courtesy of ontherunevents.com.

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