It may not be polite to eat and run, but it’s de rigueur at these events for foodie foot racers.
Hershey Half Marathon
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Run “Chocolate Town, USA” at the Hershey Half Marathon in Hershey, PA. Runners tour the Sweetest Place on Earth, including Hersheypark, Hershey Chocolate World, and Chocolate Avenue with its Hershey’s Kisses-shaped streetlights. Life size Reese’s, Kisses, and other candy characters cheer on racers and volunteers dish out mini-candy bars along the course. Finishers earn a medal, tech shirt, post-race chocolate, and two tickets to Hersheypark in the Dark, a Halloween bash inside the theme park.
Speaking of after dark, The 10 Best Night Races are definitely ones to add to your list!
Photo: Hershey Entertainment & Resorts
The Great American Bacon Race
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The Great American Bacon Race in Orlando and South Florida is hog heaven. The timed 5K run serves up sizzling slices along the course with a Bacon Bash finish festival featuring bacon, bacon-themed food trucks, and local vendors dishing up bacon goodies. Runners earn a medal and T-shirt, while award winners take home the bacon: trophies shaped like pigs. An untimed Kids 1 Mile Bacon Dash also rations rashers along the way.
Photo: The Great American Bacon Race
Corndog Classic 5K Run
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Part of the Tulsa State Fair in Oklahoma, the Corndog Classic 5K celebrates food on a stick. Choose from a timed 5K Run/Walk, untimed Fun Run, or the Corndog Challenge, where runners must chow on a mini corndog, mini caramel apple, and lemonade or beer during the 5K. Registration includes admission to the Tulsa State Fair, a souvenir cup, T-shirt, and other goodies. Eating extra corndogs is optional.
Photo: Tulsa State Fair
Krispy Kreme Challenge
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The Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh, NC is a feeding frenzy: Runners devour a dozen glazed doughnuts totaling 2,400 calories halfway through a 5-mile course. The time limit? One hour. Not up for the challenge? Register in the Casual category to enjoy the race—and doughnuts—at your leisure. In 2014, more than 8,000 runners accepted the challenge, raising $200,000 for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital.
Photo: Krispy Kreme Challenge
NYC Pizza Run and Cupcake Run
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Master the art of the fold at the NYC Pizza Run in Manhattan. Runners tackle a two-mile, four-lap course around Tompkins Square Park in the East Village, scarfing a slice of pie between each lap. Finishers take home a pizza gift bag, pizza T-shirt, and a free drink at the bar bash that follows. If you prefer sweet over savory, try the NYC Cupcake Run in Queens’ Astoria Park and chomp on three cupcakes over 3.1 miles. After dessert, feast on a free BBQ lunch at the post-race party.
(If you're interested in more fun races like this, check out The 10 Best Costume Races in the U.S.!)
Photo: NYC Pizza Run
April Fool’s Day Twinkie Run
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It might be held on April Fool’s Day, but the Twinkie Run in Michigan is no joke. Started as a fundraiser for Ann Arbor Active Against ALS, the five-year old timed 5K encourages optional Twinkie tasting at the start, half-way mark, and finish. The event even includes a homemade Twinkie contest if you just can’t get enough of the spongy snack cake.
Photo: Ann Arbor Active Against ALS
International Pancake Race
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Mardi Gras may be more famous, but the International Pancake Race on Shrove Tuesday has been pitting the folks of Liberal, KS and Olney, England against each other since 1950 in a 400-meter dash down the street— while flipping flapjacks in a frying pan. The tradition dates to 1445 in England when lore has it a woman cooking pancakes ran late to church in her apron, headscarf, and pan in hand when she heard the Shrove Tuesday church bells. Women still wear aprons and kerchiefs, and Kansas leads England 36 to 28. The Kansas event has even spawned International Pancake Day, a week of flapjack festivities including eating, flipping, and cooking contests along with a talent show, beauty pageant, and parade.
Photo: Chris Linebroker/International Pancake Race
New York Hot Dog Challenge
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New York City is famous for its sidewalk carts selling sizzling sausages, and the New York Hot Dog Challenge asks runners to stop at each and every one of the 10 they’ll encounter on the 3- to 5-mile route. The course map is released the night before the race so competitors can’t do a dry run beforehand. Racers buy their own franks, top them however they please, and wash them down with any beverage of choice. They’ve got to eat the entire red-hot and bun before moving to the next location. And vomiting? That’s grounds for disqualification. Keep your dogs down to win the cash prize.
Photo: New York Rogue Runners
The Chocolate Race
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The Chocolate Race near Niagara Falls is a cocoa craver’s paradise. The Mother’s Day 10K, 5K, 2.5K, and 1K races follow the Lake Ontario shoreline and dish out chocolate covered strawberries and marshmallows on course. The finish brings chocolate milk followed by post-race chocolate truffles, chocolate croissants, and chocolate fudge. Forget caramel apples; you’ll find chocolate-dipped apples awaiting you, too, not to mention a chocolate martini for runners 19 and older (this is Canada, after all).
Photo: The Chocolate Race
Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins Run
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America runs on Dunkin’—literally—at the Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins Run in Virginia. The event promises thousands of doughnut holes and doughnuts during the timed 5K race. Afterward, stick around for the Dunkin’ Donuts Post-Race Breakfast with more doughy treats, bagels, coffee, hot chocolate, bananas, granola bars, and more. The feast doesn’t end there: participants also earn free doughnuts and a drink at area stores, plus a travel coffee cup and race T-shirt. The event benefits the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation: fundraisers earn the chance to win free Dunkin’ Donuts for a year.
Photo: Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins Run