Whether you’re an avid runner or just starting out, summer is the ideal time to banish those snow and rain boots, lace up your jogging sneakers, and take to the track. Of course, you can’t just sign up for a 5k without preparing in advance. So, start training at home or at our Olathe gym right now, and you’ll be ready to tackle each mile at one of these five great races in the Kansas City area!

7th Annual Stars & Stripes 5k

Photo: starsandstripe5k.com

7th Annual Stars & Stripes 5k (& Lil’ Firecracker Fun Run)

When: July 4th @ 7:30 am
Where: Summit Fair Shopping Center (840 NW Blue Parkway, Lee’s Summit, MO)
Details: www.starsandstripes5k.com

Just a few miles west of Overland Park, Lee’s Summit’s Independence Day 5k race is on pace to start bright and early at the town’s shopping center. This 5k is partnering with Battle Buddy Service Dogs, and part of the registration fees will go to the nonprofit organization. The “Lil’ Firecracker Fun Run” will be held one hour after the start of the adult race, and kids under the age of 10 can participate. (Don’t worry—the distance of this kid-focused race is no more than 200 yards.)

Training tip: If you’ve never run a 5k before, start training now by jogging at least four times a week and incorporating cross-training activities at least once per day. If you’re relatively fit, two to three weeks of training should be a good start; if you need more time to get into running shape, you may want to shoot for a race later in July or August to improve your endurance.

2nd Annual Birthday Bash 5k

When: July 15th @ 7:30 am
Where: Corporate Woods (9401 Indian Creek Parkway, Overland Park, KS)
Details: Birthday Bash 5k Site

Lace your sneaks, load your playlist, and head to Overland Park on Saturday, July 15th for their second Birthday Bash 5k. In partnership with the American Cancer Society, this 3.1-mile race celebrates the lives taken by cancer, while also raising funds and awareness for further cancer research. The race is also family-friendly, and all registrants will receive a t-shirt.

Training tip: Before running the race, spend 10 to 15 minutes getting your heart rate up and engaging your muscle groups by performing “dynamic stretches,” such as lunges, high kicks, and leg crossovers. Save the static stretches, such as hamstring and quad stretches, for after the race.

2nd Annual Run for Raptors

Photo: runsignup.com

2nd Annual Run for Raptors (6.7-Mile Trail Run)

When: August 12th @ 7:30 am
Where: Camp Lake of the Woods in Swope Park (7304 Oakwood Dr, Kansas City, MO)
Details: Run for Raptors Site

Get in shape and help one of the largest wildlife rehabilitation centers in the state by signing up for this hybrid run-hike race! You’ll be led on a challenging 6.7-mile trek on a single dirt path through the wooded serenity of the park, past limestone clefts and around the bulging thousand-year-old Oak roots, before ending back at the entrance for your post-run stretch. This event is sponsored by numerous Kansas City organizations, and fees will go toward the center’s facility and animals.

Training tip: This race will go through rocky terrain and steep elevations, so be sure to don a pair of high-quality sneakers crafted for trail running; these shoes are stronger than standard running sneakers, and provide more stability around the heels and ankles. It’s also a great idea to walk or jog the trail before heading to the race, just to get a “lay of the land,” as it were.

2017 Parkville Chamber 10k River Run

When: August 20th @ 7 am
Where: English Landing & Platte Landing Park (8701 McAfee St, Parkville, MO)
Details: www.parkvillechamber.com

Travel north through KC and into the beautiful Parkville, MO, area on August 20th, and set your sights on the finish line of this 10k race. A 5k race is also on the agenda, but you’ve graduated to a 10k by now, haven’t you? Portions of all registrant fees will benefit Synergy Services, a local Kansas City nonprofit that provides resources and services to families, children, women and other victims of domestic abuse.

Training tip: If you can handle a 5k without agonizing shin splints—if that’s a common ailment, you should seek advice from our personal trainers about proper running strides, calcium and potassium supplements, or orthotic inserts—it may be time to work your way up to a 10k. First, start by timing your 5k runs and improving your finish time; if you can finish a 5k in under 30 minutes, you’re in the perfect place to start training for a 10k. Next, introduce more cross-fit sessions into your workout regimen, focusing on your core muscles. Lastly, improve your endurance by adding an extra 20-30 seconds of sprints at the end of every mile while you train.

14th Annual Kansas City Zoo Run

Photo: facebook.com

14th Annual Kansas City Zoo Run

When: September 23rd @ 8:30 am
Where: Kansas City Zoo (6800 Zoo Dr, Kansas City, MO)
Details: www.kansascityzoorun.org

Named the “Run for the Elephants,” this 4-mile race is also a wonderful local family event. After the race, you and the fam can enjoy live music, food, drinks, and a variety of fun animal-centric activities inside the zoo—oh, all registrants receive free zoo entry, too. What other perks come with your registration? How about an elephant-themed t-shirt and finisher’s medal? Sign up the family for an incredible Saturday afternoon at one of the Midwest’s best zoos, and celebrate the end of summer while you’re at it.

Training tip: Take your time! Although this race is timed, it’s also a family-friendly event. Still, if you’d like to make a respectable finish, start increasing your current 5k training by no more than 10% each week. In about 3 weeks, you should be able to handle the extra miles (0.9) without a problem.

Train Smarter, Faster & Better at SunPoint Fitness

Don’t sit back and let the summer race by! Keep pace with all the action Kansas City has on tap by starting your training sessions right now at SunPoint Fitness. Our personal trainers can build a one-on-one workout plan to get you the results you want, whether that’s a faster 5k time, improved endurance, or the simple task of crossing the finish line. No one’s here to judge—we’re only here to help you make a better version of yourself.

Contact our boutique gym today at 913-945-1661 to become a member!


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