Race to the Finish: Metro Detroit 5Ks with Your Kids


When my son was really little, I decided I want to try running. I did and would slowly run about one 5K a month (well, excluding most winter months…I wasn’t that dedicated!). I eventually bought a jogger stroller and attempted to run with my son. Again though, still not a runner.

Once my son was old enough, we tried to run mile-long races and eventually 5Ks together. This has been a fun little tradition for us. There are a few runs we don’t miss every year, like The Color Run, Run Scream Run, and numerous ones in Downtown Plymouth.

What makes this a fun experience for us?

We love a good theme. Any chance we have to dress up, be silly, or get super messy, we are there. The Color Run involves getting super messy, sporting face tattoos, and wearing a tutu. (Any excuse to wear a tutu, and I am there!). Also, since we always have extra costumes laying around, we often do Halloween runs or The Super Run where you can dress like your favorite superhero. Not afraid of mud? Mud runs, like Mud Factor, is perfect for families.

Know your limits (well, actually, know your child’s limit!).

My son is 10 and still sometimes is “over it” halfway through a 5K. There is nothing wrong with opting for the mile run over the full 5K. Maybe you need to take breaks along the way? Maybe you take advantage of the walk option for the 5K? That is OK! I have found the hardest part is keeping my son going. We run, then walk, then set a goal to run until the next corner, then we walk a bit, and start it all over, all while encouraging each other the whole time.

Be prepared.

My son would often complain that his feet hurt when we ran. As a result, I went ahead and invested in a pair of “workout” shoes for him. I make sure my feet are supported and comfy for workouts, so he should feel the same way. I always make sure we have a light breakfast or snack on the way to the race. I learned the hard way that a hungry child is not fun to run with. At all. While 5Ks will have water stations usually at the halfway mark, we will bring our own small water bottles to carry and toss as needed.

Have fun!

Just have fun with your kids. At theme runs, like The Color Run, stop and take pictures (just watch out for those running without kids…do not get in their way!). I have learned to not stress. Yes, it is super frustrating to have to stop for the 95th time in mile one, but take a deep breath and encourage yourself and your little runner to keep going. As Elle Woods taught us, exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. Enjoy the fresh air and exercise, not to mention the pride your child will feel upon crossing that finish line and earning a medal!

Some of our favorite metro Detroit mile and 5K races for the year are listed below. These races have multiple running options, ranging from mile runs to full marathons:


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