Best 2017 races for runners this fall in Columbia, SC

Posted on


You can jog all year long in Columbia, but for runners, fall in the capital city is like photography’s golden hour: perfect. In fact, it’s so perfect that it can be hard to choose from the dozens of 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, full marathons and other races timed to take advantage of the city’s runner-friendly fall weather.

To help you choose, we’ve created a cheat sheet of local races, ranking them by course interest, time of day, what sets the race apart from the others and, of course, the coolness factor of the T-shirt. All you need to do is register.

Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers

WHEN: Friday, Sept. 15


START TIME: 6:30 p.m.

COURSE INTEREST: This run packs a lot into a short distance – you’ll run over both the Gervais Street and Blossom Street bridges – at sunset, no less.

LOCATION: Race begins and ends on Lincoln Street in the Vista.

T-SHIRT COOLNESS FACTOR: Patriotic plus modern earns it four sneakers.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Talk about convenience: Not only does this race offer drive-through packet pickup, but a 6:30 p.m. start means you can sleep in and still participate. Even better, founded to honor Stephen Siller, a New York City fireman killed on 9/11 (after running through gridlocked traffic from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers), the race honors and supports first responders and service members.


Lake Murray Dam Run

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 16

DISTANCE: 10K run, plus a 5K wilderness run

START TIME: 7:30 a.m. for the 10K; 7:50 a.m. for the 5K

COURSE INTEREST: You won’t have a chance to see much of the 10K course – it’s been re-routed to be super fast, with fewer turns and hills. The 5K runs through the shady paths of Saluda Shoals Park.

LOCATION: Race begins at the dam and ends at Saluda Shoals Park.

T-SHIRT COOLNESS FACTOR: A stylish new logo replaces a design that had been around since the ’80s, earning this T-shirt five sneakers.

WHY WE LIKE IT: The speedy 10K course will give serious runners bragging rights on a new personal best time; the wilderness run’s gravel paths are easy on older joints. The race supports the Rotary Club of St. Andrews-Columbia.


Walk for Life and Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 14

DISTANCE: Half-marathon, 10K, 5K

START TIME: 7:15 a.m. for the half-marathon; 7:45 a.m. for the 10K, 5K and walks

COURSE INTEREST: If you’ve wanted to check out the new Spirit Communications Park, now’s your chance: The race begins and ends there. Along the way, you’ll pass through some of Columbia’s notable landmarks and parks – and the tunnel at Spirit Communications Park!

LOCATION: Race begins and ends at Spirit Communications Park.

T-SHIRT COOLNESS FACTOR: Palmetto Health Foundation partnered with ByFarr Graphic Design to create a shirt that symbolized the support of thousands of Columbia-area women (and men) who are fighting breast cancer. They succeeded; five sneakers.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Besides the fact that this run raises funds for Palmetto Health Breast Center, we like that the half-marathon (as well as the shorter races) is open to walkers as well as runners.


Ray Tanner Home Run

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 21

DISTANCE: 12K, 5K, 1-mile fun run

START TIME:7:45 a.m. for the 12K; 8 a.m. for the 5K; 8:15 a.m. for the fun run.

COURSE INTEREST: The 12K is literally a “Tour de Columbia” covering both bridges, West Columbia, Cayce and the Vista.

LOCATION: Race begins and ends at Founders Park – the Carolina baseball stadium.

T-SHIRT COOLNESS FACTOR: The logo is small, understated and printed in one color; still; each race has its own Under Armour shirt, and the 12K women’s shirt has a V-neck; four sneakers.

WHY WE LIKE IT: At right around 7.5 miles, 12 kilometers will challenge 10K-ers and give half-marathoners a chance to go for a new personal best. The Ray Tanner Foundation supports all sorts of family-related projects in Columbia like providing free bikes for kids and opening a Columbia-area location of the Miracle League, a fall baseball league for kids and adults with unique abilities.


Run for our Troops

WHEN: Postponed from Monday, Sept. 11; watch for a new date to be announced


COURSE INTEREST: If you haven’t seen what’s going on in West Columbia, this is your chance.

LOCATION: Race begins and ends on State Street in West Columbia, near the Riverwalk Amphitheater.

T-SHIRT COOLNESS FACTOR: Patriotic plus modern earns it four sneakers.

WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re gone for the weekend, you can still participate: Run for our Troops will be on a Monday. It’s after work, too. Proceeds support Battle Buddies (, which provides therapy dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD.



Source link