Themed October Running Events in Northern California

October. The month that brings us pumpkin spice latte’s (er, PSL’s for you die-hards), much appreciated cooler weather, Halloween, Oktoberfest, apple and pumpkin picking, and of course, the changing leaves that make our photos so pretty and which we will eventually crunch under our shoes. 

It’s also one of the best months for outdoor running and walking in Northern California, given the mild temperatures. While on any given weekend, one can easily find half a dozen run/walks within a reasonable drive, today we’ve chosen to focus on the incredible range of thematic events that make October in Northern California particularly unique for runners and walkers. 

Theme: Beer

Our own event, Rocktobrewfest, is a spin off on our prior event (Oktobrewfest, which was based on the Oktoberfest celebrations). This event is centered around ‘brew’ and  good old ‘rock’ and roll. Hence, the name Rocktobrewfest. This event takes place at 5 o’clock – cause as you all know (even though Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet reminded us) it is always 5 o’clock somewhere. The event includes post-race music and beer, unique medals, and for those who don’t consume alcohol, are’t yet 21, or who are the designated driver, sno cones are also offered.

Featured Event: Rocktobrewfest

Theme: Beer and music, evening event
2019 Date: Saturday night, October 19
Location: Davis
Distances: 5K and 5 Mile
More Info: Link

Other  Oktoberfest/beer themed events in October 2019:

Theme: Halloween. 

With Halloween taking place at the end of the month, naturally there are some Halloween events! Find a costume, grab some friends, and take a whole album of selfies at a Halloween themed races this year.

We’ll be out at the longstanding tradition known as Pleasanton Rotary Spirit Run, which has moved from June to October and is embracing a Halloween theme this year. 

Featured Event: Pleasanton Rotary Halloween Spirit Run

Theme: Halloween
2019 Date: Sunday, October 27
Location: Downtown Pleasanton
Distances: 10K, 5K, Kids Runs
More Info: Link

Other Halloween themed events:

Theme: The Full Moon. 

Night races aren’t particularly common but they are so much fun! The Palo Alto Moonlight Run is a longstanding tradition of running or walking under the full moon, dating back all the way to 1985!! Entry includes a cotton long sleeve t-shirt, courses travel along the baylands (bring a headlamp!) and there are always tons of post-race snacks and samples from sponsors. 


Event: Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run

Theme: Full Moon
2019 Date: Friday night, October 11
Location: Palo Alto Baylands Athletic Center
Distances: Half Marathon, 10K, 5K Run, 5K Walk
More Info: Link



Theme: Cows.

Cows might not be your first thought when it comes to October, but the Urban Cow Half Marathon (formerly the Sacramento Cowtown Marathon, formerly the Sacramento Marathon) is a longstanding staple event for the running community at Sacramento’s William Land Park, dating back to 1976. 

You can earn that iconic cowbell medal this year on Sunday, October 6th.

Event: Urban Cow Half Marathon

urban cow 2019 logoTheme: Cows, cows and more cows 
2019 Date: Sunday, October 6
Location: Land Park, Sacramento
Distances: Half Marathon, Half Relay, 5K, Kids Runs
More Info: Link

Theme: Johnny Cash.

The Folsom Blues Breakout Half Marathon/5K is based on the existence of the Folsom State Prison and themed around Johnny Cash. Don your favorite black and white striped outfit and enjoy the hills along the American River on Sunday, October 20.


Event: Folsom Blues Breakout

Theme: Johnny Cash
2019 Date: Sunday, October 20
Location: Downtown Folsom
Distances: Half Marathon, Half Relay, 5K, Free Kids 1K
More Info: Link

Theme: Tarantulas.

This might be your only chance all year to run or walk a race that is tarantula themed. 

Held at the Los Vaqueros Reservoir, this fall tradition has been running on eight legs since 2006. 


Event: Tarantula Run

Theme: all things arachnid
2019 Date: Saturday, October 12
Location: Los Vaqueros Reservoir, near Brentwood
Distances: Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, Free Kids Spider Scramble
More Info: Link

Theme: Mermaids.

This all-women’s event offers 5K, 10K and the Sirena 10 Mile, held in San Francisco. Mermaid dashes are held for kids. All finishers of the timed races receive a unique mermaid finisher necklace AND medal.


Event: Mermaid Run SF

Theme: Mermaids
2019 Date: Sunday, October 20
Location: Downtown San Francisco
Distances: 10 Mile, 10K, 5K
More Info: Link



Theme: The Goonies.

Goonies never say die. Enough said.

Event: Brazen Goonies Trail Adventure Run

Theme: The Goonies, skulls, treasures, all that good goonie stuff
2019 Date: Saturday, October 19
Location: Lagoon Valley Reservoir, Vacaville
Distances: Half Marathon, 10K (single track trails)
More Info: Link



Featured Upcoming Events

  1. Sacramento Santa Run

    December 21 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am
  2. Davis Stampede

    February 23, 2020

Coming Soon:


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It was a wet afternoon at the inaugural Running of the Elves tonight in Elk Grove, but that didn’t dampen these runners spirits. Love to see the smiles. 😊 👍 Race Results: #runningoftheelves @CityofElkGrove @district56eg

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