It's a new year, a new you—and a new 5K. The more detailed you are with your intentions, the more likely you'll see them to fruition—and a racing PR (that's personal record, ICYMI) is far more rewarding than being able to wash laundry off your abdominals (IMHO).
Here are nine Bay Area races in 2020 to set your fitness goals upon. Remember, summer bodies are made in the winter.
Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon
Race Date: February 2nd, 2020
Still put on in partnership with Pamakid Runners, this feel-good-race is complete with scenic views, post-race treats, and free massages when you cross the finish line. In addition to the half marathon, they have a 5K and 10K race. A word to the wise: This half marathon is incredibly popular with elite athletes, so be sure to get to the starting line early to claim your place.
Starting Point: Golden Gate Park
Editor's tip: All three courses are certified by USA Track and Field, with a 3.1-mile marker (5K) to help racers push for new PRs (the sloping course doesn't hurt either).
// For more info, go to getfitkpsf.com.
Cupid's Undie Run
Race Date: February 15th, 2020
No shirt, no pants? No problem! Cupid's is a mile-ish fun run where minimalism takes on a whole new meaning. It's a completely body-positive, for-charity experience that's maybe not for the whole family (it's 21+). Benefiting neurofibromatosis (NF) research, your registration fee goes toward an important cause. Bring out your bedroom best for the sake of science and philanthropy.
Starting Point: Make Westing, 1741 Telegraph Ave. (Oakland)
Editor's Tip: Bring a coat or something warm to slip into after the race for booze and snacks.
// For more info, go to cupidsundierun.org.
Golden Gate Relay
Race Date: May 2nd-3rd, 2020
Now in its 25th year, this relay race touts itself as "California's longest party," spanning Napa all the way down to the Santa Cruz shore. On the most competitive courses, each runner in a team is expected to run three legs of the course, but there are several options for course difficulty and length.
Editor's Tip: Most runners run two or three legs each, with each team consisting of up to 11 participants.
// Starting point in Napa Valley; for more info, go to therelay.com.
Bay to Breakers
Race Date: May 31st, 2020
You either love it or love to hate it: Bay to Breakers, the costumed 12K full of merriment and boozy beverages that began in 1912 returns this May. Starting near the Embarcadero and snaking all the way to Ocean Beach, it's one of the longest-running foot races in the US. And, if you're feeling your proverbial oats, you can now add an extra 3K to your run to make it a 15K outing, courtesy of the Breaker's Bonus route along the Great Highway. Registration still sits at a reasonable $60 per runner if you plan ahead; tack on an extra $20 for bonus route.
Starting Point: Howard and Main streets (SoMa)
Editor's Tip: Body paint is cool, but never race with it on. Because of how the paint clogs pores, you can easily overheat. (Gross.)
// For more info, go to baytobreakers.com.
San Francisco's FrontRunners Pride Run
Race Date: June 27th, 2020
The Bay Area's LGBT running club, San Francisco's FrontRunners, hosts its annual 5K and 10K Pride Run every year, celebrating all things wonderful, weird, and wild about running and inclusivity. Be bold, be brave. Run like Beyonce's watching.
Editor's tip: The Pride Run is a chip-timed race—a great opportunity to gauge how well you've trained.
// Starting point is at Golden Gate Park Polo Fields; for more info, go to sffr.org.
The San Francisco Marathon
Race Date: July 26th, 2020
The big mamma-jamma, the San Francisco Marathon brings thousands of runners to the Bay Area from all over the globe. This year's 43rd anniversary run will push runners through 26.2 miles of the city's most challenging inclines (miles 14 through 17 are rough)—but the views of the Presidio and GGB are spectacular. Not marathon-ready? Sign up for the 5K or one of two half marathons.
Starting Point: Mission Street at The Embarcadero (SoMa)
Editor's tip: Complex carbs are your best friend for endurance endeavors. Be sure to have the ubiquitous "carb-loaded pasta meal" prior to race day.
// For more info, go to thesfmarathon.com.
10K on the Bay
Race date: August 30th, 2020
It's just got a nice ring to it, doesn't it? This moderate race is a favorite among Bay Area runners for its relatively level course and breathtaking views of the Hayward Shoreline. This course is probably one of your best bets for setting a 5K or 10K PR.
Starting Point: Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, 4901 Breakwater Ave. (Hayward)
Editor's tip: 5Ks and 10Ks are great precursor runs for the longer, more difficult half- and full-marathon races. Get a few of these under your belt before attempting those longer runs.
// For more info, go to 10konthebay.org.
Race Date: September 4th-6th, 2020
They had us at after-race drinks at Oracle Park. But this half marathon is truly a race geared toward all age groups and skill levels, with post-race activities and a virtual 5K or 10K option that allows you to do the run on your own terms. Race-day swag and goodies included.
Starting point: Oracle Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza (SoMa)
Editor's tip: Running high-mileage weeks at 12- or 13-years-old is generally considered OK for girls and boys. That said, really young kiddos should never attempt such feats.
// For more info, go to race-sfgiants.com.
Golden Gate Half Marathon
Race Date: November 1st, 2020
The GGHM series spans 13.1 miles across the most scenic, awe-inspiring (and encouraging) vistas in the seven-by-seven. This run is still a long-running favorite among serial ultra runners—and there's free beer afterward with post-race treats and a 5K option. Kick things off with the Lifestyle Expo (and pick up your packets) on October 31st at Ghirardelli Square.
Start Point: Van Ness Ave. (Aquatic Park)
Editor's Tip: The GGHM marathons are known to be packed tighter than tuna in a can—line up early.
// For more info, go to motivrunning.com/golden-gate-halfmarathon.