5 of the best 5K races in Harrisburg this summer

Six people in running bibs running a 5k race.

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By Stacy Rounds

June 3, 2024

Get ready, Harrisburg! Lace up your sneakers, set those alarms, and stretch those legs because this summer season, our beloved city is hosting some challenging and charitable 5K races. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or someone just looking to get some fresh air and support great causes, there’s an event for you. So, grab your running gear, bring your friends and family, and let’s dive into the exciting line-up of upcoming races in Harrisburg, PA.

A photo of Harrisburg's architecture in summer.

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1. Harrisburg 5K Run/Walk for PTSD Awareness

June 22, 2024

1500 N 2nd St, Harrisburg, PA 17102, USA

Start your summer by participating in the Harrisburg 5K Run/Walk for PTSD Awareness on June 22, 2024. For some, this race may inspire you to hit your personal best while others enjoy a leisurely walk. Whatever you choose, you can help raise awareness for PTSD and support those affected by it.

Although the main focus of this race is spreading awareness about PTSD and supporting veterans and civilians who struggle with this condition, this is a really cool and fun event that includes a post-run party with live music, local food vendors, and informative booths about PTSD. It’s a fantastic way to spend your Saturday morning while learning more about PTSD in the community.

The race will take place along the scenic Susquehanna River, offering stunning views to keep you motivated. Suppose you haven’t already joined a running group. In that case, this race is an excellent place to meet new runners to help cultivate a community of runners and walkers who are passionate about making a difference.

2. Squirrel 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon

June 29, 2024

11 Championship Way, Harrisburg, PA 17101

Are you nuts about running? The Squirrel 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon on June 29, 2024, is an ideal race for runners who like longer-distance options. Whether you’re looking to challenge yourself with a new distance record or stick with the classic 5K, this race has it all.

The race course is an out-and-back trail that weaves through Harrisburg’s beautiful Riverfront Park and over the Market Street Bridge and back, providing a picturesque backdrop for your run.

Participants will receive a squirrel-themed T-shirt to commemorate this event. Winners for each category will also receive a medal, granting them great bragging rights. But if you want to get in on the action, be sure to register before June 15 to secure your spot!

After you and your fellow runners finish the race, enjoy a festive atmosphere with live entertainment, refreshments, and an awards ceremony. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the event’s giant squirrel mascot and share it on Instagram!

3. Paxtang Lions Patriot Dash

July 4, 2024

Paxtang Park, Harrisburg, PA

Are you ready to showcase your star-spangled sprint? Celebrate Independence Day in style with the Paxtang Lions Patriot Dash on July 4, 2024. This patriotic race is the perfect way to kick off your Fourth of July festivities.

Runners of all ages and abilities can show off their American pride by donning red, white, and blue in this patriot-themed event. This family outing also features a 2-mile walk and the ultimate kids’ dash.

Stick around after the race for Paxtang’s famous Fourth of July fireworks display. All the runners can also win medals, snag door prizes, and participate in a raffle. Proceeds from the race and the raffle will benefit the Lions Club, the world’s largest service organization, assisting people with sight impairment both at home and worldwide.

Early registration ends on June 25th, but last-minute runners can sign up on the day of the event starting at 6:45 a.m. Trophies will be awarded to the fastest runner in each age category.

4. Harrisburg Family Fun Run

August 3, 2024

City Island, Harrisburg, PA

The Harrisburg Family Fun Run on August 3, 2024, is all about family, fun, and fitness. This event is designed for participants of all ages and fitness levels, making it the perfect summer run for everyone. Bring the whole family for a morning of exercise, sunshine, and entertainment.

The Harrisburg Family Fun Run includes a 1K kids’ run for ages 10 and under, making sure even the littlest legs get in on the running (and hopefully tire them out!). Post-race activities include a family picnic area, live entertainment, and plenty of prizes and surprises to keep everyone entertained.

Participants who raise at least $30 will receive a commemorative T-shirt, but there are plenty more prizes at the event for the largest donors and the fastest runners! All of the proceeds from this event benefit the Epilepsy Association of Western and Central PA. According to their website, the EAWCP offers summer camp programs, virtual support groups, workshops, and education events for people living with seizure disorders.

Beyond the run, there will be a kid’s zone with games, face painting, and more. Connect with other local families, bring your friends, and enjoy a day of wholesome fun. Register by July 20th to get the early bird discount.

5. Hershey Miracle 5K

September 21, 2024

Henry Hershey Field – 635 Brook Dr, Hershey, PA 17033

Rounding out our list and ending the summer season is the Hershey Miracle 5K in nearby Hershey, PA. This sweet race benefits the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and promises a one-of-a-kind, chocolate-themed running experience.

This annual 5K helps to raise funds for children’s healthcare. Your time and generous donations help supply vital items to Penn State Children’s Hospital such as sleep sacks for newborns, Stop the Bleed kits, type-1 diabetic training for youth afflicted with type-1 diabetes, board books for the hospital’s youngest patients, and more.

Racers may opt to participate in person or virtually. For those opting into the virtual race, you have from August 17 – September 21, 2024, to complete your 5K any way you wish — you may run, walk, bike, or kayak.

Did we mention the chocolate? Aside from receiving a t-shirt (for sponsored teams), you may enjoy Hershey’s famous treats at the finish line as a sweet reward for your efforts. Hershey mascots will also be around to capture a fun photo with the kids (or chocolate-loving adults)!

Besides the chocolate-themed goodies, this race includes a raffle with fabulous prizes, live music, and a carnival-like atmosphere that makes it fun for the whole family. Plus, who doesn’t love an excuse to visit Hershey? Your kids and your sweet tooth will thank you.


  • 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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