People love to pack their running and walking gear when they visit the Gulf Coast, but too often, they are missing the party.
Our mild and flexible winter and spring climates, along with our gorgeous coastal and historic scenery, make Pensacola a run-happy place. Besides, we love to see fresh faces and to have an excuse to celebrate before lunch.
So here’s a look at some runs you can plan for in Pensacola. And don’t worry, you don’t need to be an Olympian or extreme athlete to enjoy all these runs.
Pensacola Beach Run Half Marathon & 10K/5K
Half Marathon & 5k/10k
Many of our New Year’s resolutions are forgotten by mid-January, but the Pensacola Beach Run is your first chance for redemption.
Photo by PNJ
Dial up your run distance; the PBR has you covered. The PBR Half Marathon & 10k/5k, hosted by the Pensacola Runners Association, features a half marathon and a “pick your distance” 10k/5k. Ever start a run and feel so good that you don’t want to stop? Or plan on 10k and decide, “not today?” You can make up your mind on the flat, coastal road course for the 5K or 10K.
The Pensacola Double Bridge Run
For locals, there is something special about the road to the beach – crossing over both bridges to the sugar white sandy paradise is a trip many have done since childhood. Running that route elevates the expectation.
The Pensacola Sports Association calls it the Race to the Beach – but we call it the DBR. Some 3,000 runners will be lining up at Wahoo stadium along Pensacola’s downtown waterfront and amble across Pensacola Bay and Gulf Breeze to finish on Pensacola Beach. It’s gorgeous, with water along most of the route.
The weather can be anywhere from the 30s to the 70s so pack all your gear. The last hurdle, crossing the high-arching Bob Sikes Bridge that spans Santa Rosa Sound at mile 8, when you’re kicking for the line, it’s a Sherpa climb of 75 feet.
The after-party rocks, with food, shelter and refreshments. 15k not your bag? There is a 5K option that starts in Gulf Breeze. We won’t judge!
I Pink I Can Run 4 Mile
Flora Bama Lounge – Perdido Key
The Krewe du Ya Yas fundraiser run helps fight breast cancer. You might not think of the Flora-Bama Lounge when it comes to fun runs, but this one is certainly worth the effort. It’s a simple out and back, as runners invade Alabama along the beach road and return to celebrate in Florida. Is there a Mardi Gras-style post-race party? With music and all the fixins!
Photo by Bradley Walborn
McGuire’s St. Patrick’s Day 5K Prediction Run
Pensacola aka “Little Dublin”
It’s hard to tell where the race ends and the Irish street party begins at this spectacle held annually at McGuire’s Irish Pub. The racing speedsters start at the front of this green-clad groundswell, where thousands dress up in outrageous costumes to run a little and drink a lot. There are prizes for speed division winners and, of course, prediction times. I always wonder, “why the rush?” It’s a rolling festival that winds through Downtown Pensacola and ends at a full-blown bash led by a musical fusion of rocking Irish Pub crooners and the McGuire’s Irish Pub Bagpipe Band.
Blue Angel Rock N’ Fly Half Marathon
Pensacola Naval Air Station
The Rock N Fly Half Marathon has soared since it started in 2012. A fighter jet flyby launches the runners on a course that rolls through scenic Pensacola NAS, with plenty of rock n’ roll music at water stations along the route.
Photo by @blueangelsrunrocknfly
Gulf Coast Half Marathon, 10-miler & 5K
The annual Gulf Coast Half Marathon at Pensacola Beach is a beautiful, flat, out-and-back certified half-marathon along Pensacola Beach roads. Themed water stations and scenic white sand and Gulf views will make you want some beach music on your playlist. You can take the 10-mile or 5K option and enjoy the post-race party sooner!
Photo by Run Pensacola
The Grand-daddy race for Pensacola, the Fiesta 10K run is a one-way run that starts at Pensacola State College and finishes in historic downtown. It’s a mostly downhill route with one steep climb near mile 2. Runners then dash downhill through the 12th Avenue Tree Tunnel — Napoleonic live oaks draping the roadway. The 5K option starts farther downhill and finishes at the same line. The final sprint through Pensacola’s historic downtown is heralded by bagpipes and an after-race party in Seville Square. The bonus: free entry into the Fiesta of Five Flags Crawfish Festival.
Photo by Fiesta of Five Flags
For the more extreme types, don’t just stop at running. Pack your bike and swimsuit too as the Pensacola Bay Area hosts two triathlons in Spring you won’t want to miss:
Mullet Man Triathlon
Perdido Key, Flora-Bama Lounge
A week before the world-famous/low-brow Flora-Bama Interstate Mullet Toss, the Flora Bama Mullet Man Triathlon features a quarter-mile swim in the Gulf of Mexico, a 17-mile bike ride into Alabama and back and a 4.2-mile run, again crossing the state line and returning from Alabama.
Maritime Park, Pensacola
This second-year event launched by Running Wild is one of the first races on the Gulf Coast’s calendar.
Start your race with a swim in Pensacola Bay, bike along the scenic out-and-back course, and run through historic Pensacola neighborhoods. Race Headquarters is held at Maritime Park, next to the Blue Wahoo Stadium. The USA Triathlon-sanctioned race offers both International (1.5K Swim, 40K Bike, 10K Run) and Sprint (600M Swim, 20K Bike, 5K Run).
Make us your run destination this year, we'll see you at the finish line!