Asheville has many running races throughout the year that range from 5K fun runs to marathons to full-on ultras! With so much to take in, it’s the perfect headquarters or hub for running one or more of the races in the area.
On our running tours, we often hear from some guests about the wonderful experiences they’ve had about the races in the area as well as those guests that are curious about what races happen in Asheville. We thought it would be fun (running nerd) to compile a list of some of the area’s favorites and less known, more local Asheville running races.
Main Asheville Running Races
Date: 26 August 2023
Start Time: 7:00 AM
This is the quintessential running race in Asheville! The Asheville Half Marathon is an amazing and diverse route of rolling hills, the flat section along the French Broad River, and finally a climb back into the city before rolling it out to the finish line right back where you started. Local bands and spectators along the way keep you going and there are plenty of aid stations to boot!
The run this year will be capped at 3,000 and there is no registering on the day of… Better register early! Once you are finished with this one, don’t hang around at the finish line but keep it moving on over to the finisher party held in beautiful Pack Square. There will be plenty of food, drinks, nutrition, and beer for all of the runners. In addition, there is live music and springtime in Asheville is a great place to be.
Date: 18 March 2023
Start Time: 7:30 AM
USATF certified and is a Boston Qualifying event.
It’s not often you get to enjoy the entire grounds of the infamous Biltmore Estate, America’s largest backyard. The Asheville Marathon is special and has gained international attention due to its location inside the Biltmore. This year will mark the 8th year of this special, scenic event.
While this is a big race, the limit is 1,525 runners per day for their respective races. This is one you want to get your tickets for early. There is no course preview or opportunities to run this course until race day, which makes it all the more unique. You will have full access to the gardens, hardwood forests, meadows, and spectacular views of the estate along your way.
This year there are also options for you to run both events on back-to-back days or a special half-marathon event that takes place each day. There are a ton of amenities to pick up to energize you after your victorious finish! This one is always on my radar but I have not run it, yet!
Smaller and Club Races
If you’re fond of mixing up your runs and trying those lesser-knowns, here you can find some fun and quirky Asheville running races;
Date: 23 November 2023
Start Time: 9:15 AM
This is one of the locals’ favorite Asheville running races! Each year racers come out to celebrate Thanksgiving in the Turkey Trot 5K. It is organized by the Citizen-Times and Jus’ Running and this coming year will mark its 20th year. The course begins and ends at Pack Square and the runners will work their way through the streets and hills just north of downtown for the majority of the race. There is also a Gobble Wobble 1-mile fun run.
What’s more, this race has grown in popularity and this year’s past event had the most participants to date. Additionally, not only is this good for runners, but it is good for Manna Food Bank. All proceeds from the race go to Manna which this year equated to 18,000 meals for western North Carolina families in need.
Beer City 5K
Explore the beer landscape on this guided run that will take you around the best of Asheville’s brewery scene.
Date: 15 April 2023
Start Time: 9:00 AM
If you love mountain views and some amazing single-track, then look no further. Although it’s not a long race overall, this course is one of my favorites and it is a classic in North Carolina. The stunning 7 Sisters sets the gorgeous backdrop of Black Mountain, NC, and the mountain tops hold some of the best views of the Black Mountains.
Two of my favorite viewpoints are part of this race. Lookout and Greybeard Mountain. I’m not gonna lie, this race is a haul, but so worth the views and the experience. If this is your first trail running experience then you might want to look in another direction for now. While the rewards are plenty, the technical course can be unforgiving if you don’t keep a close eye on your feet!
Date: 18 March 2023 (TBC)
Start Time: 11:00 AM
The Race to the Taps is a series race that has gained a whole lot of popularity! As so, while there are several races, the event at Archetype Brewing is not to be missed. This is where I run a lot so I’m a little biased towards the course. Running through the River Arts District and West Asheville is not to be missed. I’ve done this one before, at Sierra Nevada and encourage all runners and beer enthusiasts to give this one a try.
Date: 12 May 2023
Start Time: 4:30 AM
ITRA approved race with 6 qualifying points towards UTMB races.
Finally, the Hellbender 100 Miler. Just to be honest, I haven’t run this race…or 100 miles ever! However, the sheer thought of being able to experience the trails of the Black Mountains, summiting Mt. Mitchell, and everything in-between sounds amazing. There is some serious scenery happening along this course. Certainly, this is one beast of a race and if you have this kind of mileage and experience in your back pocket, it’s not to be missed.
There are tons of different Asheville running races, and hopefully, this article has given you some ideas on which races suit you! For more information on running in Asheville, check out our complete guide here.
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