Lace-up your sneakers for these can’t-miss 5K races in Erie

Women running a 5k race.


By Stacy Rounds

June 3, 2024

Erie, Pennsylvania might be famous for its stunning lake views, delicious local cuisine, and old-school community spirit, but this charming little city also knows how to host a great 5K. Whether you’re an avid runner, a casual jogger, a brisk walker, or even a first-timer, Erie has a variety of 5Ks this summer that will not only challenge you but also entertain and inspire you. Here’s a rundown of five must-attend 5K races happening this year. Get your running shoes ready!

A lighthouse at Presque Isle State Park.

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1. Get Lost 5K with Northwest PA Search and Rescue

Jun 8, 2024

Harborcreek Community Park – Clark Road Erie, PA 16510

Ready to run with the dogs? The Get Lost 5K with Northwest PA Search and Rescue is not your typical run. This race, held at the Harborcreek Community Park, is designed to get the whole family (including Rover) up and moving, making this charity event as photo-friendly as it is challenging.

Participants can choose whether to race, run casually, walk, or participate in kid or canine-friendly events. While you can run solo, this race is great for groups. Grab a few friends and the kids, leash up your furry friends, and even meet (and pet) some of the K9 crew at Northwest PA Search and Rescue.

Tickets for the race range from $0-$25; kids and dogs can participate for free. T-shirts for the event cost an additional $10. There are several prizes and several prize brackets so you can add some friendly competition into a fun day out. Proceeds from the race go directly to the Northwest PA Search and Rescue, helping them continue their vital work in the community.

2. The Erie Runners Dog Days of Summer Race

Jun 22, 2024

Harborcreek Community Park – Clark Road Erie, PA 16510

Who let the dogs out? Apparently, the Erie Runners did… The Dog Days of Summer Race is an annual 5K that’s all about celebrating our furry friends. Harborcreek Community Park transforms into a haven for dog lovers and their canine companions. There are even special bibs for the four-legged participants! If your pooch can’t handle the 5K, there’s a special .7-mile loop for your best bud to enjoy.

It’s important to pack bottled water for yourself and your furry friend as there is no course support available. However, once you and your dog cross the finish line, you can lap up some provided treats. T-shirts are also available, and all proceeds from the race and swag sales are donated directly to the Anna Shelter.

This race is as much about socializing as it is about running. Meet fellow dog enthusiasts and maybe even set up some playdates. But remember, leashes need to remain on! This is the perfect race to show off your dog’s running skills (greyhound owners, you can really show off!). Just make sure Fido doesn’t get distracted by all the squirrels along the way.

3. The Warrior 5K to Support Local Veterans

June 29, 2024

Presque Isle State Park – Beach 1

The Warrior 5K Walk/Run is a tribute to the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces. Held at Presque Isle, this event is a powerful blend of patriotism, community spirit, and fitness. In the past ten years, over $63,000 has been raised for local veterans services because each and every penny spent on the event goes directly to charity. Organizers are hoping for the best year ever in year 11!

The race route has previously been decorated with military vehicles, flags, and photos of local veterans, making each step a moving tribute. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to participate in wheelchair races in this event, making it an inclusive community celebration.

Rain or shine, plan to show up at the event bright and early (before 7:30 a.m.) to get a good spot! You may also pre-register online.

4. New Blossoms New Life 5K

July 13, 2024

Penn State Behrend Track & Field Complex – 4712 College Dr, Erie, PA 16510

Midsummer in Erie is truly magical, and there’s no better way to celebrate the season than by supporting New Blossoms New Life at their annual charity 5K. This race winds around the track at Penn State Behrend, making it an easy run (no ruts or potholes) for people of all ability levels.

This event is perfect for runners of all ages. Bring the whole family and enjoy a morning of healthy fun! Kids’ tickets include a T-shirt and admission to one of two age-appropriate fun runs. Plus, the kids’ tickets are only half-price.

Proceeds support the New Blossoms New Life Foundation, which helps couples struggling with infertility. There will also be a special basket raffle during the event, so if you choose to purchase raffle tickets, you can win some great prizes donated by local businesses. Tickets for the raffle will be available before the start of the first race.

After the run, relax with a picnic by the gorge. Bring a blanket, pack some snacks, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. And just remeber — your participation is helping a local couple on their way to parenthood!

5. Dan Rice Days 5K

August 3, 2024

36 Mechanic St. Girard, PA US 16417

Step right up to the Dan Rice Days 5K, part of the larger Dan Rice Days festival in Girard Borough. This race is a lively kickoff to a weekend filled with history, entertainment, and community spirit in the center of Girard. Not only is this dubbed the fastest 5K in town, it’s also surrounded by street fair events including food vendors, live music, craft stalls, games, and a parade for the whole family to enjoy.

Named after the famous 19th-century circus impresario, Dan Rice, this festival and its annual race embraces its quirky heritage with fun, circus-themed elements. The race is a beloved local tradition in its 45th year, drawing participants from all over who come to celebrate Girard’s rich history.

Participants can register on the morning of the event, beginning at 7 a.m. at the Girard Borough Hall on Main St., or online prior to the event. Runners who register before August 1 will receive their commemorative T-shirt for free. Prize plaques will be awarded for each age group, by gender.

Want to make the event extra fun? Embrace the circus theme by dressing up in your best carnival attire. This is your chance to unleash your inner Ringling Brother (or Dan Rice, rather). Whether you dress as a ringmaster or a clown, make sure your outfit is both festive and functional for running.

READ MORE: 8 things you might not know about Erie


  • Stacy Rounds

    Stacy Rounds is a writer and growth producer for The Keystone. Prior to joining the team, Stacy has worked as a writer, editor, and engagement specialist covering topics ranging from local history, disability advocacy, recreation, and food hotspots to relationships and mental health.

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