woman stretching against lifeguard stand on beach at sunrise/sunset-southwest Florida run scene

A Southwest Florida Run will kick off your new year health goals! Signing up helps with your wellness goals because you commit to the event, and things to do after the race!

Have you considered a Southwest Florida Run to kick off your new year health goal? Maybe you run already, maybe you walk, or maybe you do something in between. Either way, running and walking may be one of the easiest ways to stay consistent with your health and wellness goals this year. Especially in a place where the sun shines almost every day of the year…Florida!

Signing up for a southwest Florida run helps you with your goal of improved wellness because you are committed to the event. The good news is there are many 5K, 10K, Half-Marathons and Marathons to choose from throughout the year. In sunny and beautiful places from the tip of the state in Key West up to the white sandy beaches in the panhandle, running and training for your next race is part of the fun.

I don’t know about you, but I always enjoyed exploring the area after the finish line. It was like mixing travel and health at the same time. The perfect combination.

Here are some upcoming Half Marathon, 10k, and 5k Runs in Florida this Spring. Why not choose one, sign up, and commit to your lifetime wellness goals this year!?

In this article, we share a few races taking place January-March, 2024 in Sarasota, Venice, Punta Gorda, Fort Myers, and Naples, Florida. Let’s check them out!

5K, 10K, and Half Marathons to Kick off 2024

woman with orange running shoes stretching on a trail lined with trees - southwest florida run scene

One benefit of traveling to a Southwest Florida city for your run is that you get to stick around afterwards and explore the city and beaches!

Sarasota, Florida

What: Get Your Mutt Movin’ 5K Fun Run, Walk and Festival 2024
Location: Payne Park
When: February 24, 2024
Begins: 8:30am
The Run: This Southwest Florida Run leads through the park with your pup and supports Satchel’s Last Resort Animal Shelter and Sanctuary and Sarasota City YMCA.
Race Details and Signup: Registration Link

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What: Superhero 5K and Fun Run
Location: Nathan Benderson Park
When: February 10, 2024
Begins: 8:30am
The Run: This is a Foster Care Awareness Event and superhero costumes are encouraged!
Race Details and Signup: Registration Link

5 Things to Do in Sarasota After the Race

Eat: Check out the local restaurants..there are so many to choose from! Why not try one from the Sarasota-Manatee Originals community which includes more than 60 locally owned restaurants. Find a local restaurant here.

Farmers Market: There’s many markets and working farms to choose from. Take the time after your run to indulge in some fresh produce and local products! Click through for a list of Farmers Markets in Sarasota County.

The Ringling: The John and Mable Ringling Museum: If you haven’t seen this yet, you should go. The grounds around the Ringling’s former winter home are stunning and right on the water. The views alone are worth the stop. Then, indulge in as much or as little culture as you like. You set the pace. Learn more here.

Loaded Cannon Distillery: This local distillery has a tasting room and tours most days. They make high quality spirits, grain to glass and copper kissed. Learn more here.

The Bay Park near Downtown: Explore Sarasota’s newest waterfront park at Boulevard of the Arts. “The Bay” was designed to be open, accessible, free and welcoming for everyone. A true “One Park for All.” Learn more about what to do at The Bay here.

Venice, Florida

What: Venice Half Marathon and 5k
Location: Maxine Barritt Park
When: February 17, 2024
Begins: 6:30am
The Run: Starting at the park, runners will experience a portion of the Legacy Trail, a beautiful paved trail that stretches from Venice to Sarasota. Much of the trail is shaded or follows the water where you get a glimpse of Florida history.
Race Details and Signup: Registration Link

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What: Wellen Park Half Marathon & 5k
Location: Downtown area of Wellen Park, Solis Hall
When: March 16, 2024
Begins: 7:30am
The Run: The 2nd Annual event starts and finishes in the downtown area of Wellen Park, Venice Florida. This planned community has a beautiful setting with spots to eat and chill by the lake before and after the event.
Race Details and Signup: Registration Link

5 Things to Do in Venice After the Race

Eat in Historic Downtown: There are many restaurants to choose from including excellent Italian restaurants, American fare, and Mediterranean food. The main street in Downtown Venice is Venice Avenue; be sure to check out your dining options along Miami Avenue W. and Tampa Avenue W. too (one street off the main road on either side).

Beach Day: With miles of beach to choose from, you’ll have plenty of sand to enjoy as you soak up Southwest Florida sun! If your pup is with you, head to South Brohard Beach Paw Park – your four-legged fur baby will thank you for it!

Heritage Park Trail: Stroll through this mile or so greenbelt on W. Venice Avenue between downtown and the Beach. There are trail markers throughout the park that celebrate Venice Heritage from its earliest inhabitants. The banyan trees with their interesting root structure are marvels to behold and make a great photo opp!

Shop at Venice Mercato, On the Island: This curated collection of vintage and unique items will satisfy your shopper’s bug. Most days you will find Parise’s mobile coffee cafe to enjoy some your beverage of choice and a cannoli.

Historic Spanish Point: Drive a little north to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Spanish Point Campus in Osprey. Visit the gardens, learn about the area, and on select Saturdays, you can take a boat tour from the Osprey location to the Sarasota Gardens.

Punta Gorda, Florida

What: Twins Tot Run/Walk 5K
Location: Gilchrist Park
When: March 2, 2024
Begins: 7:00 am
The Run: Your participation supports the missing of Just Against Children Drowning. All proceeds from the event contribute to free swimming lessons for children and more. From Gilchrist Park, runners will have a dedicated lane over the US 41 Bridge and through to Punta Gorda’s Harbor Walk.
Race Details and Signup: Registration Link

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What: Punta Gorda Half Marathon and 5k
Location: Laishley Park
When: May 5, 2024
Begins: 6:00am
The Run: Wind through Laishley Park and Punta Gorda’s scenic Harborwalk. Witness the beauty of Peace river and Charlotte Harbor.
Race Details and Signup: Registration Link

5 Things to Do in Punta Gorda After the Race

Tour the Murals: Grab a map and discover the 30+ murals throughout the city that tell the story of Punta Gorda. Each mural has a QR code to scan and learn more about the history the artwork captures.

Explore Punta Gorda History: Stories from the past are all around you and many modern shops and restaurants are located in historic buildings. Discover where is Punta Gorda historical sites and things to do here.

Sightseeing Cruises: View the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor from the water. Cruise to Cabbage Key, Cayo Costa, and Boca Grande with Kingfisher Fleet.

Visit Alligator Creek Preserve: Explore Florida’s wild side! The Alligator Creek Preserve is adjacent to the 45,000+ acre Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. Both give you an opportunity to get into nature from butterflies, to gardens, and maybe even some wild hogs and alligators (of course!)

Eat: There are so many waterfront, rooftop, hometown, and upscale restaurants to choose from in Punta Gorda. If you’re hungry, the culinary talent in Southwest Florida is ready to serve you something special.

woman in running clothes stretching by the water - southwest florida run

Fort Myers, Florida

What: Edison Festival of Light 5k Run
Location: Downtown Fort Myers River District
When: February 17, 2024
Begins: 6:30am
The Run: This Southwest Florida Run race boasts over 1400 participants and thousands of spectators as they run through the downtown River District. After the race, enjoy the Grand Parade!
Race Details and Signup: Registration Link

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What: Fort Myers Half Marathon & 5k Run
Location: Florida Gulf Coast University
When: March 2, 2024
Begins: 6:30am
The Run: Runners enjoy scenes through the University campus, winding through lush greenery, pristine lakes, and serene walkways. Views of Lake Como await runners as they cross the finish line.
Race Details and Signup: Registration Link

5 Things to Do in Fort Myers After the Race

Public Artworks: Stroll downtown and appreciate the public art on display throughout the city. Download the Otocast app for information about this self-guided tour.

Rooftop Sculpture Garden: Experience the rooftop sculpture garden and bar at Sidney & Berne. Wednesday & Friday nights at Sidney’s are fun for everyone. You’ll enjoy a panoramic view of Fort Myers and the sunset over the Caloosahatchee River!

Sanibel Island: Drive about 35 minutes west to the Gulf of Mexico for a unique beach day. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to a tropical oasis. Be aware that some businesses on the island may still be rebuilding after Hurricane Ian.

Edison and Ford Winter Estates: Visit the 21 acres shared by American historical icons. The property has the former homes of Edison and Ford, a research lab, botanical gardens, and museum.

Bar Hopping: You can head downtown for the restaurants and bars all within walking distance of one another. Or, join a bar hopping, or pub crawl tour. There are several to choose from.

Naples, Florida

What: Barron Collier Companies Naples Half Marathon
Location: Cambier Park
When: January 14, 2024
Begins: 7:00 am
The Run: This out and back course begins and ends at Cambier Park. Runners will pass both natural and man-made scenery along the Gulf of Mexico and multi-million dollar homes and have the opportunity to be blessed by holy water.
Race Details and Signup: Registration Link

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What: Distance Classic Naples Half Marathon, 10k, and 5k run by Elite Events
Location: Eagle Lakes Community Park
When: February 3, 2024
Begins: 6:30am
The Run: Celebrate the spirit of running on this scenic course that winds through Eagle Lakes Community Park and the Lely Resort. Run and enjoy the neutral beauty and tropical landscapes.
Race Details and Signup: Registration Link

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What: Naples Paradise Coast Half Marathon and 5k
Location: North Collier Regional Park
When: April 6, 2024
Begins: 6:30am
The Run: This scenic and challenging course winds through the wildlife and nature of North Collier Regional Park. Why not experience your run in Naples
Race Details and Signup: Registration Link

 

5 Things to Do in Naples After the Race

Naples Botanical Garden: In addition to events held at the gardens throughout the year, visitors can take a tour, bring their pets on designated mornings for their Dogs in the Garden program (Currently on Tuesdays and Sundays from 9am – 11am), and learn about their conservation efforts.

Laugh it Off: Check the schedule at Off the Hook Comedy Club for an evening of laughs after enjoying dinner in Naples.

Sip Craft Beer: Enjoy one of the many Naples, Florida breweries where you gather with new friends to sample local craft beers. Some local favorites include Riptide Brewing Company, Ankrolab Brewing Company, Bone Hook Brewing Company, and Brookside Market.

Marco Island: With so much coastline to enjoy, the Paradise Coast is certain to have a beach you will love. Spend the day, and then stay for the nightly show in the sky – that would be sunset over the Gulf!

Play Golf: Tee up after the run in one of the award-winning golf courses including Greenlinks Golf Villas at Lely Resort, Lely Resort Golf & Country Club, JW Marriott’s the Rookery at Marco, and Tiburon Golf Club.