Guide to 2023 Run And Walk Events in the Iowa City Area

With warmer weather making it’s way back to the midwest this spring, many are looking forward to spending more time outside. As a runner, this time of year usually involves enjoying more running (and walking) outdoors, and maybe even signing up for a few 5K (3.1 mile) races. Luckily, the Iowa City area has some great running and walking events going on this year that the whole family can participate in! Many are kid-friendly (and stroller-friendly), no pressure, lots of fun, include additional events before and/or after the actual running or walking part, while also benefiting local organizations by raising funds through the proceeds of each race.

Here are just some of the events going on this year:

Doc Dash 5K

When: April 15, 2023
Where: 375 Newton Road, Iowa City, IA
Events: The Docling Dash kids race (age 10 and under), 5K for runners, walkers, and adaptive participants
Sign up:

The Doc Dash is a 5K that helps support the Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic and University of Iowa Mobile Clinic. This event also has a separate race just for the kiddos – The Docling Dash – where kids can run in the Medical Education Research Facility courtyard. According to the race website, there MIGHT be a chance Herky the Hawkeye will be there… prepare for high fives and photo ops just in case.

NAMI Walk 

When: Saturday, May 6, 2023
Where: Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, 579 McCollister Blvd, Iowa City, IA
Events: A walking event for all ages, with entertainment in the morning and the walk starting at 10:00 a.m.
Sign up:

This one is a great opportunity to get outside and walk to support NAMI Johnson County and Linn County. This event helps to raise awareness of NAMI’s mission to educate, support, and advocate for those with mental illness. There is also an option to get a team together and fundraise to help NAMI be able to continue to offer free services and resources for the community.

Red Shoe Run & Walk

When: May 7th, 2023
Where: Lower City Park, 200 Park Road, Iowa City, IA
Events: Ronald’s Run for Kids kids race, 5K run/walk, and a virtual race option
Sign up:

This is truly a run/walk for the whole family. There is a separate kids race for the kids who want to run, followed by a 5K that is stroller-friendly for the kids who can’t (or don’t want to) run. This event also advertises a kids zone, treats, prizes – all in support of The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa & Western Illinois. They also have a race packet pick up option available a few days before the race, in case you want to pick up your bib/gear/get more info ahead of time (and have one less thing to worry about the morning of the event!)

Keep Moving Forward 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon

When: May 7th, 2023
Where: Liberty High School, 1400 Dubuque Street, North Liberty, IA
Events: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and a Virtual Race option
Sign up:

This is the first year for this event, offering the longer distance races of 10K (6.2 miles) and a half marathon (13.1 miles). Proceeds from this race support The Big O Foundation – a local organization created to spread awareness and support for mental health in honor of Owen Skelley. One thing to note: according to the race website, strollers are not allowed for this event.

4th Fest Coralville 5K

When: July 1, 2023
Where: 1506 8th St, Coralville, IA
Events: Kid’s Mini Marathon (26.2 yards), 5K run or walk
Sign up:

This 5K is part of the annual 4th Fest festivities in Coralville, set to take place July 1-4 this year. The start and finish line for the 5K is located at the Coralville Recreational Center, which is also where the kid’s “mini marathon” is held – a 26.2-yard race around the Rec Center parking lot for kids up to age 6. There are also lots of other family-friendly activities taking place during this weekend. Fair warning: the 5K is a hilly course. They tell you this ahead of time on the race website. Yet, that doesn’t stop some people (a.k.a. me) from doing things like complaining about the hills while running or walking up them!

Kick Off to Kinnick 5K

When:: September 24, 2022 (previous date) – 2023 not available yet.
Where: Hawkins Drive, across from the Ronald McDonald House and near Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Events: 5K run/walk 
Sign Up:

Another great event for the whole family. A stroller-friendly 5K that may be less of a race and more of a fun chance to get out in fall weather to support University of Iowa’s Dance Marathon and the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The best part of this 5K may be the finish line – which is the 50-yard line inside Kinnick Stadium! 

Bone Dash 5K and Mile Run

When: October 14 2023
Where: Lake McBride Trail, Timber Dome Lodge in Solon, IA
Events: 5K run/walk, 1 mile run/walk
Sign up:

Last year was the first year for this 5K and 1 Mile Run. They’re bringing this event back again for 2023, and it looks to be a lot of fun for the whole family – including face painting, crafts, lots of candy, as well as a dental table with free toothbrushes! It’s all about balance, right?

This event supports the Joining Hands Pediatric Rheumatology Support Group at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital to raise awareness for rheumatic cancer. And as this event takes place around Halloween, costumes are encouraged to add to the fun!

Run for the Schools

When: October 29, 2023
Where: Iowa City (see website for detailed locations)
Events: Half Mile Fun Run, Mile, 5K, and 10K
Sign up:

Run for the Schools is an annual run that benefits students from the Iowa City Community School District and Regina Catholic Education Center. It  involves several distances: half-mile, mile, 5K, and 10K.
Consider supporting this great family-friendly event by running or volunteering!

Miles in the Maize 

When: November 4, 2023
Where: Colony Pumpkin Patch, 2780 Front St NE, North Liberty, IA
Events: 5K and the Maize Mile
Sign up:

A great close-to-Halloween event that includes contests for the most creative, best group, and best overall costumes. The course is a unique one that takes you through a corn maze, pumpkin patch, and all things fall and wonderful this time of year. The race website notes that donations are being collected for No Foot Too Small to support their efforts to gift time, community, and celebration to families who have lost a pregnancy/infant. 

A few additional 5K tips and tricks:

  • Many of these races increase in price as it gets closer to race day. So if you’re thinking of signing up for an event, the earlier the better as it will save you a little bit on costs.
  • A lot of events also offer packet pickup a few days ahead of time. This can be a great time saver and stress reliever to pick up what you need early. Pick up is where you can ask questions – such as where to park, course map details, and maybe one of the most important questions: are there bathrooms available, and where are they located? You might have to be okay with port-a-potties being the only option. 
  • Remember to say THANK YOU to any volunteers you see at packet pick up, on the course, standing behind tables, answering questions, or just helping in general. Volunteers are a major reason these events can even happen and help make it a great experience.
  • We live in the days of social media, so the use of event #hashtags and mentions while participating in a run or walk can be a fun way to shout out your achievements, while also spreading the word about these events that get everyone moving and supporting great local causes!

Are there any events I missed that should be included on the list? Please add them below!



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