Whether you’re a veteran or novice runner, lacing up your shoes for a destination 5k is a great way to tackle your wanderlust as well as your fitness goals — and it helps you stay healthy while you explore a new locale, too. With this shorter distance, enthusiasts and trained athletes can take advantage of a great course and get a feel for a new area — without the constant worry of overexerting their legs or staying hydrated and fueled for race day. Plus, you can play it either way depending on your fitness level. As Chris Heuisler, Westin Hotels RunWestin Concierge, points out: “They’re a lot of fun and, at the same time, can be incredibly grueling if you’re running them for speed.” Here, five 5ks worth training — and traveling — for.
For Scenic Vistas: The Big Sur 5k (April 2017)
The Big Sur 5k is one of eight events during the Big Sur International Marathon weekend for runners looking to catch glimpses of the coastline. The course traverses parts what Runner’s World Magazine calls the most scenic marathon course — without as many of the demanding inclines. When you’re done swooning over vistas of the Pacific Ocean, cheer on marathoners at the finish line before you spend the day along Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf or the charming village of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
For Laid-Back Running: The Sunshine Insurance 5k in the Bahamas (January 14-15, 2017)
The Sunshine Insurance 5k in the Bahamas offers the perfect antidote to cold winter days. Caribbean breezes propel runners from the start at Montague Beach, all the way over the Paradise Island Bridge to the finish. After, head to the beach and feast on freshly caught seafood, then relax with a fruity beverage for the rest of the day.
For Chocolate Lovers: Hot Chocolate 5k Chicago (October 30, 2016)
Chocolate and exercise? Sign us up. The Hot Chocolate 5k Chicago serves up tasty celebrations after a jaunt from Millennium Park through the city to Chicago’s iconic Michigan Avenue. The finish line chocolate fondue provides the perfect fuel for spending the rest of the day admiring the city’s architecture on a boat tour or feeding your curiosity at the Field Museum.
For a Non-Stop Party: Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas 5k (November 12-13, 2016)
Skip the casino for the evening for a 5k unlike anything you’ve probably imagined. The Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas 5k races down the strip at night with a stream of live entertainment and a headliner concert. And where else but Sin City can you run past a pyramid, Venetian canals, and the Eiffel Tower without a passport in hand?
For National Park Enthusiasts: Moab 5k Adventure Run (November 5-6, 2016)
For an epic trip to Arches and Canyonlands National Park, the Moab 5k appeals to runners who want more than a typical race. Set aside your speed goals for a journey through natural and manmade obstacles — expect to run through an arch and cave, over a rock maze, and cross two creeks. While you’re there, leave plenty of time for hiking, white water rafting, or even ballooning over the vast outdoor playground that surrounds you.