12 glorious autumn races for runners of every level

Runners can tackle the Falmouth Road Race course, which passes the Nobska Lighthouse in Woods Hole, during the fall. John Bohn / The Boston Globe

In Boston, running is more than a way to stay fit. It’s a lifestyle; it’s ingrained in the city’s spirit. But you don’t have to wait until Patriots’ Day to feel inspired to hit the pavement.

Cooler temperatures and picturesque foliage — and maybe a post-run reward of a tasty seasonal beer — makes autumn the perfect time to lace up your sneakers. Whether you’re looking to tackle your first 5K or your 15th marathon, here are a dozen races you should consider.


OysterFest 5K Road Race: October 13

Why settle for  a post-race beer when you could have post-race oysters as well? One of many activities hosted during the 16th annual OysterFest, Wellfleet kicks off the festival’s final day with a run from Cove Road to Indian Neck Beach. Registration is $25. (2393 US-6, Wellfleet)

The Great Pumpkin Dash 2017: October 15


This run along the beach is a great way for North Shore folks to be festive this fall. The race, which costs $30, starts and ends at Kelly’s Roast Beef, so you know what you’re getting for lunch that day. (410 Revere Beach Blvd., Revere)

Quincy Animal Shelter’s Cause for Paws: October 15

The ninth annual Cause 4 Paws 5K race ($40) and one-mile walk ($30) is a family- and pet-friendly event. The race, which benefits the shelter, also include a costume contest for owners and pets, a dog agility course, and more. (Squantum Point Park, Miwra Haul Road, Quincy)

Boston Costume Dash: October 28

Too old to trick-or-treat this Halloween? Dress up anyway with thousands of costumed runners at the second Boston Common Costume Dash 5K. The race is followed by after-parties at some of the city’s top watering holes, so you can kick off your Halloween celebrations. Entry fee is $35. (Boston Common, 139 Tremont St., Boston)

Powisset Farm Trail Run: October 29

Take a break from the busy city roads and try a run that takes you through Powisset Farm and the neighboring Noanet Woodlands. Runners can choose between three race distances: 8.3 miles ($40), 5.6 miles ($35), and 1.5 miles ($15). A portion of the proceeds are donated to the farm. (37 Powisset St., Dover)


Boston Firefighters Local 718 10K Memorial Road Race: October 15


This annual race was established 35 years ago to remember Boston firefighters who lost their lives in the line of service. Now, over 1,000 runners return for it year after year. This flat course has plenty of ocean views around Dorchester Bay, and doesn’t  lack crowd support, either— the start and finish areas are usually lined with firefighters. Registration costs $40. (Florian Hall, 55 Hallet St., Dorchester)

Falmouth in the Fall: November 5

Did you know you can run the same challenging and picturesque seven-mile Falmouth Road Race course with less traffic, cooler temperatures, and fewer runners each fall? Yeah, it’s as good as it sounds. Registration is $20 and benefits numerous charities. (Buses for runners at 113 Lakeview Ave., Falmouth)

Charles River Turkey Trot: November 18

This race stands out from the flock of “turkey trots” because you can choose between a three or five mile course ($30 and $35, respectively), both of which follow a picturesque, foliage-filled path. To give back, the race is also hosting a canned food drive. (Artesani Park, 1255 Soldiers Field Road, Boston)

Chatham in the Fall 10K: November 19

Benefitting Cape Cod Healthcare Health & Wellness programs and scholarships as well as the WCOD Stuff-A-Bus Annual Toy Drive, this race also follows a beautiful course along scenic Cape Cod. Registration is $30. (Monomoy Regional Middle School, 420 Crowell Road, Chatham)


New England Harvest Half Marathon: October 15


This half marathon takes runners through quaint neighborhoods in Swansea and Rehoboth, showing participants the appeal of small-town New England. After the race, runners can enjoy a Narragansett brew, plus apple cider, pumpkin pie, and apple cider doughnuts. Registration costs $79. (Specht Physical Therapy, 207 Swansea Mall Drive, Swansea)

Ocean State Road Races Marathon and Half Marathon: October 29

This fall, it looks like it’s time to check out the “cooler and warmer” side of Rhode Island, as well as its running community. The marathon ($100) and the half marathon ($75) courses showcase the Ocean State — farms, ocean views and backroads — with post-race festivities taking place at Narragansett Town Beach. (Narragansett Town Beach, Boston Neck Road, Narragansett, R.I.)

Manchester City Marathon: November 12

This Boston Marathon qualifier takes runners through the historic mill district of Manchester, which sits on the banks of the Merrimack River. And while this race may feel like a getaway, it’s just 45 minutes from Boston. Registration for the marathon is $110 and the half marathon is $95. The race also offers relay divisions for both distances. (Veteran’s Park, downtown Manchester, N.H.)