Boston Marathon

10 spring races for runners of every ability

Just because you're not running the marathon doesn't mean you can't get in on a race.

Participants run along Seaport Boulevard during the annual Run To Remember on May 24, 2015. Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

The Boston Marathon may be the headliner road race in Boston each spring, but it’s certainly not the only event for running enthusiasts. To celebrate the thawing of the city, here are 10 road races for which runners of every ability should consider dusting off their sneakers.

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Boston Marine Corps Honor Run 5K on May 5
This South Boston 5K’s electric energy comes from its participants, which include active duty officers, vets, and elite athletes, as well as everyday runners and walkers. An added bonus: You get to warm up with Marine Corp cadets before running along the waterfront. (DCR’s Carson Beach, 125 Day Blvd., South Boston)

Newburyport River Run on May 6
The Charles is beautiful, but in New England, nothing beats the draw of a seaside escape. This Newburyport run follows the Merrimack River to its opening at the ocean. The entry fee for the scenic 5K is $35. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, the half marathon option is $75. (Cashman Park, Pop Crowley Way, Newburyport)


Esplanade 5K Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts on May 20
Starting at Fiedler Field and looping the Boston side of the Charles River, this course allows for great photos as you pass sailboats. Entry will cost you $45; proceeds from the event go to the Esplanade Association to improve the park. Furry friends are welcome. (Fiedler Field, Charles River Esplanade, Boston)

El Pelón 5K and Taco Mile on June 10
What’s better than running? Running for tacos, that’s what. El Pelon considers this 5K its spring kickoff. This year, the restaurant also will introduce the “Inaugural Taco Mile,” meaning that after the one mile time trial, the first place finishers for both women and men will each receive a dozen tacos. (Chestnut Hill Reservoir, 355 Chestnut Hill Ave., Boston)


Stairs 4 Troops on April 29
This walk, climb, or run is a little different than the rest of the races on the list. For it, you climb 40 sections of stairs — with 72 stairs per section — at the home of the New England Patriots. Head to Gillette Stadium for music, videos, and exercise while supporting veterans. The cost is $35 per adult and $20 for children under 18. (Gillette Stadium, 1 Patriot Place, Foxborough)


Cape Cod Canal Mother’s Day 10K on May 13
Spend Mother’s Day working out with mom this year — and treat her to some beautiful views while you’re at it. This Bourne 10K takes runners along the Cape Cod Canal. Registration is $35 — just $70 if you grab the bill for Mom, too. (370 Scenic Highway, Bourne)


Portsmouth Half Marathon on April 22
This half marathon gives participants views of the Great Bay Estuary, the Great Bay National Wildlife, and quaint New England homes throughout historic Newington, New Hampshire. In the serene silence of the suburbs, there’s no way 13.1 could be that challenging. (Right?) The entry fee is $75. (309 Portsmouth Ave., Greenland, New Hampshire)

26.2 Challenge on April 28
A marathon may sound daunting by yourself, but 26.2 isn’t quite as bad with a team, and this event is a six-person marathon relay. While one teammate is out running a four-mile stint, you and the rest of your team will cheer on runners at the transition area while a DJ keeps you motivated with some tunes. Post-race, fill your cup with beer, included in the entry fee. Registration is $240 per team. (36 Cordage Park Circle # 111, Plymouth)​

Martha’s Vineyard Marathon and Half Marathon on May 19
Movie buffs and “Jaws” fans are in luck with this race: Both the marathon and half marathon routes pass by classic landmarks like the famous “Jaws” bridge. Entry is $119 for the full and $99 for the half until May 15, at which point prices become $129 and $109, respectively. (100 Edgartown Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs)


Run to Remember Boston on May 27
Run to Remember is a popular Memorial Day weekend event that includes both a five-mile run and a half marathon to honor fallen first responders. The entry fee for five miles is $50; for the half, it’s $105. Prices go up as race day nears. (Seaport World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Blvd., Boston)



Photos: The Boston Marathon through the years:

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