spring running events toronto

The top 15 spring running events in Toronto for 2014

Spring running events in Toronto tend include some of the finest organized runs the city has to offer, not to mention this is the only time you're guaranteed to avoid blizzards or sweltering Summer saunas. Embrace the limited weather variables and set your shoes to gallop, trot, or jog (or is it yog? I think it might be a soft j).

Before you start carb-loading, read up on what run suits you best. Most are affiliated with some type of charity and have varying lengths of agony. And, hey, once you hit the finish line, you'll feel mentally euphoric even if you're physically fading.

Here are the top spring running events in Toronto.

Harry's Spring Run Off - Saturday April 5th
A perennial early spring favourite, Harry's Spring Run-Off benefits Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation's quest to conquer prostate cancer with an 5K or 8K run through the pedestrian-friendly roads of High Park. Kids are welcome.

Lovely Spring 5K Run/Walk - Sunday April 6th
Another great early option, the Lovely Spring Run/Walk is a swift 5K through the soon to be demolished Ontario Place in support of mental wellness. The run is a tie-in for Wayne Cho's recent run across Canada to raise awareness on the stigma associated withy anxiety and depression. A kids run and 5k and 1k options make this run a walk in the park.

Toronto Yonge Street 10K - Sunday April 13th
This fan favourite starts uptown, just north of Eglinton and finishes up on Fort York Boulevard by Bathurst. This run has been bounced around with different sponsors and charities for the past 26 years but always makes for a fun and fast route through the streets of downtown, and with the winners from last year running the 10K in a blistering 30 minutes, this downhill course is a great way to feel good about your early season form.

RUN Wild- George Brown College & Start2Finish - Saturday April 12th
Run Wild is a fundraising run (or walk) organized by George Brown students promoting both Start2Finish (child poverty) and a scholarship for George Brown College's Special Events program. Kicking off near Queens Park, this easy 5K or 2.5K is a slam dunk, with free food at the finish line and face painting for those looking to 'Tyson' up.

MEC Race One - April 13th
If you're looking for something a bit more challenging, Mountain Equipment Co-op offers a waterfront run in 5, 10 and 15K lengths the very next day. Starting at Coronation Park and looping along the Martin Goodman Trail, it could be a chilly affair if the weather doesn't cooperate. On the contrary, a jaunt by the lake could be the perfect spring activity if the sun is out. Cost is $15.

Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women - Saturday April 26th
Looking for a local run outside of the concrete corridor? Well you won't have to worry about falling condo glass up here in scenic Unionville, home to the Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women in support of mental wellness. Starting and finishing on Main Street in Unionville, lady runners can choose from the 1, 5, or 10K run/walks.

3rd Annual Bum Run - Sunday April 27th
Corporate sponsor Bio K+ has organized this cheekily named run with proceeds benefiting and raising awareness on the silent but deadly colon cancer. With a lovely 5K track around Queens Park, this timed run includes some swanky prizes and all runners receive a medal.

10th Annual Cadillac Fairview 5K - Sunday April 27th
This charity run through the beautiful Sunnybrook Park grounds is in its 10th year, with proceeds going to POGO (Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario). CF is hoping to raise $250,000 to help kids with cancer receive state of the art care and treatment. With an easy 5K run, or 1K run for the kiddies, this feel good event is family friendly, even your pooch can tag along.

CMCC 10K and 5K Run/Walk - Sunday April 27th
Starting at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, near Leslie and Sheppard, this 5K run/walk or 10K run supports Canadian Chiropractic's clinical and research program and chiropractic education. The route combines scenic off road terrain as well as city streets for a lethal combo of hills and hikes. Runners get cool swag, t-shirts as well as a free crack (for your back) at the finish line.

Spring into Action for Diabetes - Saturday May 3rd
Leaside's annual Spring into Action for Diabetes with Insideout Health & Fitness is hosting its 9th Annual walk or run for Diabetes at Sunnybrook Park in support of diabetes related research and support. 2KM, 5KM, 10KM routes will take you through the gravel dusted paths of the park. Come early for some sugar free fun including a morning yoga session and breakfast with a BBQ lunch after the race.

Mississauga Marathon - May 3rd and 4th
This major marathon is a mostly downhill course starting at Mississauga's City Hall, and makes its way across the Credit River meandering through Mississauga before winding along the scenic Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail, finishing at Lakefront Promenade Park. This two day event is a serious run with a cash prize for top finishers maxing out at $2500 and a qualifier for the prestigious Boston Marathon. Routes go from 2K, 5K, 10K, relay, half marathon and marathon.

Goodlife Toronto Marathon - Sunday May 4th
This is the big one, with marathon runners and newbs alike descending on the closed streets of downtown like running from the zombie apocalypse. With distances starting at 5K up to half and full marathons and juicy cash prizes this marathon is not to be missed. Starting out at North York City Centre (or Mel Lastman Square) this intense marathon ends at Ontario Place, or until your knees give out, whichever first. Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation is the marquee charity, though a host of others benefiting as well.

Sporting Life 10K - Sunday, May 11th
The Sporting Life 10K Run barrels down the Yonge Street corridor all in support of Camp OOCH, a great charity that sends kids with cancer to camp. Starting uptown and heading south, this mainly downhill race finishes at Fort York near Bathurst.

Colour me Rad - Saturday May 31st
This fun run is as close to a bad trip as you can get, with a 5K in and around Downsview Park and a liberal dousing of coloured corn starch. Already almost sold out, this psychedelic trip is will leave you a colourful mess, but is also a modest physical challenge. The run benefits the Big Brothers and Sisters of Toronto.

Runway Run - June 14
This one won't let you go long, but the setting is sure to intrigue. Taking place at Pearson International Airport, as the name suggests, this 5K run takes place right on the tarmac. You can pretend you're in a James Bond movie chasing after a villain who's about to blow up a plane. Or you can fret about the noise of plane traffic overhead. Either way, it'll be tough to get bored.

Photo by PLTam in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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