Unique Races to Run With Fido

Posted by Billy Francis

Running a race with your dog is a great way to spend quality time together and exercise outside. While certain mutts can run marathons with little training, others might be tired on a trot around the block. Whichever category Fido fits into, it’s important to train appropriately, warm up on race day, drink plenty of water and, of course, have fun. Here’s a selection of unique pet-friendly races across the country that will appeal to runners of all levels.

Canine Classic at The Resort at Paws Up

Greenough, MT
“We’re blazing ahead!” Photo by Resort at Paws Up

Canine Classic at The Resort at Paws Up transforms the all-inclusive pet-friendly resort into a 37,000-acre dog park for one day only. Roam with your running mate through the long grass and woodlands along the scenic trails of Paws Up. “Paw-ticipants” can mosey on a two-mile walk, join in the five-mile run or challenge themselves on the half-marathon course. All proceeds go to Working Dogs for Conservation, an organization that trains detection dogs to protect wildlife and wild places.

Canine Classic at The Resort at Paws Up will be held on August 25, 2024.

Arrive a day early for the Wine & Bitch Dinner at The Resort at Paws Up. Then, stay an extra night for your tired pooch to curl up in a plush dog bed and nap in a luxurious room.

DogGone 5K-3K-1K Treat Hunt

Mechanicsville, VA
“Let’s skip the race and concentrate on the treats.” Photo by Hanover County Parks and Recreation

The DogGone 5K-3K-1K Treat Hunt in Mechanicsville, VA is an annual event that brings dogs and dog lovers together on the outskirts of the state’s capital, Richmond. Canines can run, walk and sniff out treats during a fun-filled day of races, activities and prizes. This year, every pooch who enters the 5K or 3K race gets free entry into the treat hunt. Racers receive a goodie bag with a shirt, medal and a free canine caricature of their dog on race day. Your pooch is also invited to swing by the painting station to try her paw at crafting.

DogGone 5K-3K-1K Treat Hunt will be held on April 13, 2024.

Fido can carry his treat haul back to his room at Hampton Inn Richmond Mechanicsville, where four-legged guests are assigned rooms on the ground floor for easy access to the relief area.

The Columbia Gorge Half Marathon Dog Leg

Hood River, OR
“Stop dragging your feet back there!” Photo by Facebook.com/cgmarathon

Enjoy gorgeous views of Mt. Hood, fruit orchards, mountain creeks and waterfalls on the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon Dog Leg. The race covers the same ground as the humans-only half marathon, with canine runners departing in the final wave. Dogs and their owners are each equipped with individually registered timing chips so you can see where you both rank. The Dog Leg takes place in October when the fall foliage presents a rich tapestry of oranges and yellows, which is why it’s known as the most scenic marathon in America.

The Columbia Gorge Half Marathon Dog Leg will be held on October 20, 2024.

Reserve a room early at Best Western Plus Hood River Inn. This pet-friendly hotel will be full of canine athletes around race day. After his run, Fido can refuel with a treat at check-in and cool down on the pretty river path outside.

Coureurs de Bois Trail Run

Elkhorn, WI
“Paws up if you’re ready to run!” Photo by Facebook.com/KenoshaRunningCompany

Bring your pup along to race up and down the slopes at Alpine Valley Resort on the Coureurs de Bois Trail Run in Elkhorn, WI. Sponsored by Kenosha Running Company, this race is a great place to start or grow your love of Canicross, the sport of cross-country running with dogs. Slip on your hands-free leash and get ready to run, walk or hobble at your pup’s pace along a five- or 10-mile route, or go even further and try to complete the 20-mile route together.

Coureurs de Bois Trail Run will be held on October 12, 2024.

If you’re traveling to the race with other runners with dogs, book this cabin on a lake nearby.

Will Run For Cookies! A Dakin Humane Society 5K

Westfield, MA
“I will literally do anything for cookies.” Photo by Facebook.com/DakinHumaneSociety

Will Run For Cookies! A Dakin Humane Society 5K is a “pawsome” event that centers around two of Fido’s favorite things in the world, cookies and running. Okay, the second one might be debatable for some pups, but dogs who do love to dash will love the 5K course through Stanley Park. Pups who prefer to cheer on their canine pals can scoff down plenty of cookies while they wait at the finish line of this fun event that raises money for pups in need at Dakin Humane Society.

Will Run For Cookies! A Dakin Humane Society 5K will be held on May 18, 2024.

Spend a long weekend in the area at Naomi's Inn Bed & Breakfast in nearby Springfield. Four-legged guests receive treats, beds and bowls upon arrival.

Doggie Dash Nashville

Nashville, TN
“If we lose, it’s on you two.” Photo by Rock ‘n’ Running Series

Fido needs to channel his inner running back to stand a chance at the Doggie Dash Nashville at Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans. The dog-friendly leg of the Rock 'n' Roll Running Series is part of a weekend full of races that includes a marathon, half-marathon, 10K and 5K. People and pups who sign up are invited to walk, jog or run along a half-mile track together. The dog-friendly race benefits the Nashville Humane Association.

Doggie Dash Nashville will be held on April 24, 2024.

Hilton Nashville Downtown welcomes runners to relax after the sprint. Four-legged guests receive a welcome gift with organic treats at check-in.

Furgo Dog Run at the Fargo Marathon

Fargo, ND
“Hurry up! I’m on for a PB.” Photo by Fargo Moorhead

Furgo Dog Run isn’t as strenuous as the full Fargo Marathon, so casual runners with two legs and four will find it a lot more fun. Sprinting Spaniels are invited to dash, trot or stroll alongside their owners on the 1.5-mile course with more than 400 other runners and their canine companions. If your pup is in it for the swag, she’ll get to take home a doggy goody bag and a finisher’s medal, while human racers receive a finisher’s shirt and medal, too. Dogs are welcome at the post-run party with live music, food and cold beer. This popular event fills up fast, so be sure to book your furry running partner’s spot early.

Furgo Dog Run at the Fargo Marathon will be held on May 29, 2024.

Best Western Plus Kelly Inn & Suites Fargo is top of the podium for pet-friendly hotels near the race. Pups who come here to relax and recuperate receive treats at check-in and have easy access to relief areas outside.

BFGoodrich Rocky Dog Fun Run

Vail, CO
“Even in race mode I can strike a pose!” Photo by Facebook.com/RealtorKarenSeitz

The GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, CO is a pet-friendly annual festival of fun devoted to adventure sports, art and music. Dogs are welcome throughout and will find water bowls and waste bags, plus an invitation to a Yappy Hour every day BFGoodrich Rocky Dog Fun Run is your pup’s chance to get involved with the festivities. Fido can join fellow furry adrenaline junkies at Nature Valley Mountain Plaza, which acts as the start and finish line for this 5K fun run or walk. Dogs and people of all shapes, sizes and athletic abilities are encouraged to sign up and get panting at their own pace along the course which incorporates a variety of terrains.

BFGoodrich Rocky Dog Fun Run will be held on June 6, 2024.

Dogs with tired legs will appreciate the plush beds at Antlers at Vail after the race. Fido can admire the view from the balcony and join you for a walk around the grassy area outside.

Lucky Dog 5K

Indianapolis, IN
“What race? I was told we were going to breakfast.” Photo by Lucky Dog 5K

Lucky Dog 5K starts at Military Park and winds through White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis, IN. Along the way, you’ll be treated to scenic views of the river and the downtown skyline. Pups who sign up will feel like they’ve hit the jackpot when they slip on the doggy hoodie and finisher’s medal from the My Lucky Dog Swag goody bag. Meanwhile, humans will be stoked for their own takeaways like a race tee and finisher’s medal. All racers can replenish lost calories with tasty treats after the finish line.

Lucky Dog 5K will be held on March 16, 2024.

Stay at Westin Indianapolis, one of 2023’s top pet-friendly hotel chains, located within a warm-up walk of White River State Park. The grassy area next door to the hotel is a great place to cool down after the race.

Muddy Paws 5 & 10 Miler and 2 Mile Dog Run

Peninsula, OH
“Do I get a hug?” Photo by Facebook.com/westernreserveracing

Four-legged travelers planning a trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, one of the most dog-friendly national parks in America's Heartland, should aim to arrive in time for Muddy Paws 5- & 10-Miler and 2-Mile Dog Run. While the park is home to a whopping 110 miles of pet-friendly trails, this picturesque race highlights the gorgeous trails in the Kendall Lake area. Galloping Goldens can drag their owners behind them as they whip around a specially designed two-mile course that begins on a lush carpet of green grass leading to a wildflower meadow and through the woods. Why should Fido’s time be recorded as the same as yours when he’s clearly a wet nose ahead of you? For this reason, dogs receive their own chipped time during this “pawsome” race and receive their own finisher’s medal, too.

Muddy Paws 5- & 10-Miler and 2-Mile Dog Run will be held on June 8, 2024.

La Quinta by Wyndham Cleveland Macedonia receives a lot of love from the BringFido community for its sizable relief area, great location and welcoming pet policy. Book a longer stay here and check out even more trails at Cuyahoga Valley.

Trails4Tails Fest

Titusville, NJ
“We’re runnin’ wild!” Photo by Facebook.com/trails4tailsfest

Trails4Tails Fest manages to cram three pet-friendly races and a fantastic festival into one day of fun. Running partners with experience can tackle the 15K race together or sign up for the 5K or 1-mile race instead. Fido will be focused on his time when the announcer calls “on your marks, get so, go,” but don’t forget to take in the serene surroundings of historic Washington Crossing State Park as you trot through it. The 5K race is a true trail course and racers are reminded to practice with pups beforehand to get used to the terrain. Proceeds from the festivities benefit It's A Ruff Life Rescue.

Trails4Tails Fest will be held on October 19, 2024.

Book this charming and whimsical historic river home to enjoy for a few days after race day. The fenced backyard is the ideal place for Fido to do some recovery runs with a tennis ball.

Have you raced with Fido? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by Facebook.com/TheResortatPawsUp.