Your guide to fall races with unique distances, experiences and causes

Photo by Jeff Wilhelm/Charlotte Observer

Labor Day is in the rear view mirror and the heat and humidity will begin to drop off as Charlotte transitions into its best season. With the emergence of fall, the running calendar in Charlotte will be packed with a variety of races. Here are some events to check out in September and October that range from very competitive to very fun, and from easy to extreme.

Unique distances

Hit the Brixx

This September staple in Uptown gives competitors the option of running a 15K, but with a twist. You can run the early morning 10K, the 5K later in the morning, or take the plunge and run both races back-to-back. Afterwards, enjoy the post-race festivities in Uptown and grab some breakfast in the 7th Street Public Market.

Distance: 10K, 5K, or 10K AND 5K

When: Sept. 15, 7:45 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Where: Brixx Pizza – Uptown, 225 E 6th St.

Race 13.1

This half marathon takes place primarily on the scenic Lower McAlpine Creek, McMullen Creek, and Four Mile Creek greenways that are hidden from the hustle and bustle of Ballantyne and other southern parts of Charlotte. Though moderately challenging, this race avoids the calf-burning hills featured in February’s Charlotte 10 Miler that uses the same parts of the greenways.

Distance: Half Marathon, 8K

When: Sept. 22, 7 a.m.

Where: Toringdon office park, 3420 Toringdon Way

Novant Health 15K/5K

This is a traditional 15K race along one of my favorite courses. As somebody who does not venture to Lake Norman very often, I fully appreciate this dawn race in a calm setting by the lake. This competitive 15K race is tough enough to give your body an awkward feeling, battling the quickness of a 10K and the steady pace set of a half marathon.

Distance: 15K, 5K

When: Sept. 30, 7:45 a.m.

Where: Jetton Village Shoppes, 19818 N. Cove Road, Cornelius 

WC 50

Races on the Whitewater Center trails are never easy. Running an ultramarathon on those trails is arguably the hardest race within the Charlotte city limits. You’ll have to be trained and ready for a long day to compete in this one.

Distance: 50 miles, 50K

When: Oct. 13, 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.

Rocktoberfest Half Marathon & 5 Miler

The toughest road half marathon in Charlotte will push even the most experienced runner to the edge. A steady stream of hills of varying difficulty in Belmont, Plaza Midwood, and Elizabeth will welcome competitors in this Charlotte Marathon tune-up. Come for the challenging race and stay for the music. BONUS: Earn the prestigious mega Double Medal if you complete Rocktoberfest and either the full or half Charlotte Marathon two weeks later.

Distance: Half marathon, 5 miles

When: Oct. 20, 7:40 a.m.

Where: 1224 E 7th St.

Unique experiences

South End Shuffle

Breweries and South End are like peas and carrots. I’m sure that’s what Forrest Gump had in mind when saying that line. This is a quick course that shows off the exploding neighborhood and you can enjoy a Good Morning Vietnam at the finish line.

Distance: 5K

When: Sept. 8, 9:30 a.m.

Where: Wooden Robot Brewery, 1440 S Tryon St., #110

Stonewall Sports Rainbow Run

This “LGBTQ and Ally” race is making its debut in 2018 at an emerging hotspot in Charlotte for what should be as festive of a night run Charlotte has to offer. Proceeds from the race and after party will go to PFLAG Charlotte, Veterans Bridge Home, and CMPD Animal Care and Control.

Distance: 5K

When: Sept. 8, 7:24 p.m.

Where: The Shed Amphitheater at The Station House, 600 E Sugar Creek Road

Knights Uptown Rundown

It won’t be your usual Saturday night in Uptown. It also won’t be your usual trip to BB&T Ballpark. Yes, Homer will be there, traditional ballpark food and drink will be served (included in race entry fee), and there will be festivities in the concourse and on the field (kids can run the bases). But instead of baseball game, there will be a 5K race. Proceeds from the race will go to the Charlotte Knights Charities.

Distance: 5K

When: Sept. 29, 5:30 p.m.

Where: BB&T Ballpark, 324 S. Mint St.

Troutman Wicked Fast 5K

The town that sounds like a rejected Marvel villain knows how to celebrate Halloween in style. This family-friendly run on the Richardson Greenway will feature costumes, glow sticks, fall food and drink, pumpkin medals, and fun activities.

Distance: 5K

When: Oct. 20, 6 p.m.

Where: Troutman Parks and Recreation, 338 North Ave., Troutman

Running Scared 5 Miler & Monster Mile

The first race in the Charlotte Holiday Series will include a competitive five-mile race through Uptown and Wesley Heights, with a potentially more competitive Halloween costume contest after the race. Potential cold weather will quickly be forgotten as the hills on this course, especially in the last mile heading up 4th Street, will warm up any runner.

Distance: 5 miles

When: Oct. 27,9 a.m.

Where: Romare Bearden Park, 300 S. Church St.

Charity-focused races

PurpleStride Charlotte

The sea of purple running and walking by Bank of America Stadium in mid-September won’t be supporting the Minnesota Vikings or Baltimore Ravens. Instead, this vibrant group will be celebrating a successful fundraiser in support of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Distance: 5K

When: Sept. 15, 8:30 a.m.

Where: Romare Bearden Park, 300 S. Church St.

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

This behemoth of an event will return to Charlotte in early October. Join thousands of your friends and neighbors to raise money that helps the Susan G. Komen Foundation address breast cancer research, care, and community advocacy.

Distance: 5K

When: Oct. 6, 7:45 a.m.

Where: Bank of America Stadium, 800 S Mint St.

Rescue Me 5K

Dogs aren’t allowed on many road race courses, but the opposite is the case at the Rescue Me 5K. Runners and four-legged friends are welcome to take part in this fundraiser. Head out to McAlpine Creek Park to spend time with some very good dogs and help the American Pit Bull Foundation raise money for Operation Sidekick, a program that matches rescued service dogs with veterans battling PTSD.

Distance: 5K

When: Oct. 13, 9 a.m.

Where: McAlpine Creek Park, 8711 Monroe Road

Noah Graham Foundation 4 Miler

The private grief a parent goes through after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss often goes unnoticed. The Noah Graham Foundation has been working to change that and fundraising through this four-mile race is a big part of that change. The foundation and KinderMourn are the beneficiaries of this scenic race.

Distance: 4 miles

When: Oct. 21, 9 a.m.

Where: McAlpine Creek Park, 8711 Monroe Road

CPCC Skyline Runfest

This quick, competitive race with a downhill finish will streak through the streets of Elizabeth in late October. The proceeds from this race will go to the student scholarship fund at the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation.

Distance: 5K

When: Oct. 27, 8 a.m.

Where: CPCC Overcash Building, 1201 Elizabeth Ave.




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