If you’ve ever lived in or visited Reston, Virginia, you know how special it is. It’s a community with much more than meets the eye, and the Reston community likes to keep fit. That’s why Reston is home to some of the best running races and events in Northern Virginia. Whether you want to run long distances, on trails, or participate in a triathlon, this post will provide you with the information you need about the running races and related events in Reston so that you can start setting some running and fitness goals. No matter which events you choose to run, you will find an energetic spirit and welcoming community of runners in Reston.
Long-Distance Running Events
Reston has a number of long-distance running events that are sure to stretch the limit of your endurance. For our purposes, we’ve defined long-distance races as 10K or greater in length.
Runners Half Marathon of Reston
The Reston Half Marathon is an annual event that takes place in April. Organized by Reston Runners, it’s a fantastic way to start training for a full marathon later in the year. The race proceeds benefit the Reston Community Fund, which provides scholarships to area high schools and students.
The race begins and ends at South Lakes High School in Reston, VA, after 13.1 miles of running through the South Reston community. The course route through the Glade Stream Valley Park uses the extensive paved trail network for which Reston is famous. With only a few rolling hills, much of the course is shaded by the wooded trail, which makes this a great half-marathon event for both serious and casual runners alike. For those that are not yet ready to run 13.1 miles, a 5K race is held simultaneously.
Reston 10 Miler
Like Reston’s Half Marathon, the Reston 10 Miler also begins and ends at South Lakes High School. This annual race in March is part of a packed calendar of races organized by Potomac River Running, a Virginia-based running store with locations across Northern Virginia, with one of the stores located in the Reston Town Center. Unlike the half marathon, this race snakes through South Reston via the roads, which are partially closed to traffic during the race. However, this 10-mile race is not for the faint of heart, as you are expected to maintain a 13:30 mile/minute pace and finish in under 2 hours and 15 minutes.
For the Love of It 10K
Another classic Potomac River Running event hosted at South Lakes High School. The For the Love of It 10K is in February each year, and in 2023, it will be the 10th annual instance of the race. So, use this race as a stepping stone on your way to running the Reston Half Marathon and “get your run on for the love of it.”
South Lakes 10K
This early Fall race, held in late August, follows the same course as the For the Love of It 10K held earlier in the year. The South Lakes 10K, organized by (who else?) Potomac River Running, is billed as a race for those trying their first ever 10K or to benchmark your training ahead of the Fall running season.
5Ks and Fun Runs
There are a number of 5Ks peppered across the calendar in Reston. Most races coincide with a holiday and are fun for the whole family. Potomac River Running is the organizer of each of these fabulous events and hosts other race events across Northern Virginia.
New Year’s Day 5K
Kick off the New Year with your new-found resolution to get yourself fit with the NYD 5K. Fortunately for you, this race begins at 10 am so you can recover from all that Champagne you drank the night before. It launches from the Reston Town Center and is always a good time.
Lucky Leprechaun 5K
If you’re feeling lucky, you’ll want to join in the fun at the Lucky Leprechaun 5K each year in mid-March. This race kicks off from the Reston Town Center and is a great early spring race to keep the momentum toward your New Year resolution.
Mother’s Day 4 Miler and 1 Mile
Show your love and celebrate Mom and all the ladies in your life at the Mother’s Day 4 Miler & 1 Mile race in May. With two events that nearly everyone can enjoy, no matter their fitness level, this is the rare running event that takes place in North Reston. The course begins in Browns Chapel Park across from Lake Newport and includes a few hills. Good luck trying to keep up with Mom kiddos, as she conquers this epic course. Proceeds from this event benefit Devotion to Children, a non-profit with a mission to break the cycle of poverty through access to education.
Run with Dad 5K and 1 Mile
Did you notice how the Mother’s day run is a 4 miler and the Run with Dad 5K and 1 Mile is back down to a 5K? Come on, Dads, you can do better than this, right? This June race is back in South Reston at South Lakes High School with a route that takes you onto the wooded paths of the Glade Stream Valley Park.
Firecracker 5K for the Troops
Rounding out a Summer of 5Ks is the Fourth of July Firecracker 5K for the Troops. This race, presented by Leidos, begins in the Reston Town Center and benefits the USO National Capital District to help deliver critical programs and services to active-duty service members worldwide. What a great way to kick off the Independence Day festivities by staying fit and doing some good at the same time.
Thanksgiving Turkey Day 5K and 1 Mile Walk/Run
You’re guaranteed not to feel guilty about that extra Turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce sandwich you’ll put down your gullet later in the day if you run in Reston’s Turkey Day 5K. The good news is you can bring the whole family out, and all able bodies can at least participate in the accompanying 1-mile walk/run. This event takes off from South Lakes High School.
Run with Santa 5K
One of the more popular 5Ks on the Reston calendar, the Run with Santa 5K is a fitting end to the year and one that should find you with a personal record if you’ve been keeping up your training. This event is based in the Reston Town Center, so you can pick up some last-minute Christmas gifts before you head out of town to visit your extended family.
Trail Runs in Lake Fairfax Park
We are so fortunate to have an amazing public resource like Lake Fairfax Park in the heart of Reston. We have two trail running events for those that prefer a bit more adventure when they run.
EOD Warrior 5K & 10K
This unique trail-running race is dedicated to Active-Duty, Reserve and National Guard, and Veterans who served as Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians. The EOD Warrior 5K & 10K has two race options on the trails of Lake Fairfax Park. You’ll be racing on rooted and rocky singletrack and can gain points as part of the Back of the Pack series. This race is held in late July.
Fall Backyard Burn Trail Running Series in Lake Fairfax
With options to race 5 miles or 10 miles, the Fall Backyard Burn at Lake Fairfax is part of a trail-running series hosted by EX2Adventures. This trail run also traverses the twisty singletrack of Lake Fairfax Park and is popular with the Northern Virginia adventure racing crowd. There’s also a free kids’ race for those ages 2 -11, so take the whole family to the park and enjoy.
Triathlons for Beginners to Experts
While not strictly running events, Reston has a number of triathlons for children, beginners, and experts. All three Reston triathlon events are organized and hosted by Core Foundations, an organization that supports charitable projects in and around the Reston area.
Reston Sprint Triathlon
This long-running event is a Reston favorite and is held in early June each year. The Reston Sprint Triathlon begins with a 400-meter swim in Lake Newport Pool, a 12-mile bike ride on the streets of Reston, and a 5K run on the nearby pathways. The event is super-fun; you can even team up to participate as a relay team. Make sure to visit the beer garden afterward to celebrate your success.
Reston Superhero Youth Triathlon
The Reston Superhero Youth Triathlon is an amazing event for children ages 6 – 14. In this event held in July, children ages 6-8 will swim 50 meters, bike 1 mile, and run 0.6 miles. 9-11-year-olds will swim 100 meters, bike 2 miles, and run for one mile. 12-14-year-olds will swim 200 meters, bike 4 miles, and run 1.4 miles. The event focuses on participation rather than competition; parents are asked to dress as their child’s favorite superhero to cheer their kids on. The event begins and ends at the Ridge Heights pool near Lake Anne in central Reston.
This pinnacle Reston Triathlon event has been an annual tradition for almost 40 years. In 2021 the previous organizer announced that they could no longer afford to host the event. Luckily Core Foundations stepped in to take over the traditional Olympic distance triathlon, which will be back in full swing beginning in 2023. The race opens with an open water swim in Lake Audubon located in South Reston. It’s followed by a 25-mile bike ride and a 10K run on area pathways. It is held annually on the first Sunday after Labor Day in September.
Running Clubs and Groups
If you are excited by all of the opportunities Reston provides in the way of running races and events, you may not want to train alone. Reston has a number of running clubs and groups where you can get coaching and find like-minded companions to keep you on track (see what I did there?).
Reston Runners is a large and active running club with activities and programs for people at all levels of their running journey. The organization is non-profit and annual dues are only $35 a year. The club has a number of experienced volunteers that host run/walks, couch to 5K or 10K programs, and races like the annual Reston Half Marathon. Great friendships are formed and the club also hosts regular social events.
Potomac River Running
Potomac River Running is far from just a local running store. They actively contribute to building community through their many races, fun runs, and training programs for runners at all levels. The store offers a number of training programs to gain speed, build endurance, or focus on a particular type of event. While there is a cost involved for each training program, they are run by professionals and come with perks like free swag and store gear discounts.
Formal and Informal Running Groups at Reston Fitness Gyms
In addition to the running groups above, there are likely to be groups that form at one of the many fitness gyms in the area. The Reston YMCA has a very active running group, as does Lifetime Fitness, and other clubs and gyms.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for a unique place to live and have an active lifestyle, then Reston is the perfect city. There are many races and triathlons that take place here every year, so there is always something going on in town. Whether you want to run a half marathon or participate in an exciting triathlon competition with your friends or family members, there are plenty of opportunities available!
Learn more about what’s happening in Reston, VA.