Running Races in Rochester MN

Running has been a popular sport for as long as anyone can remember. Some people like to run to relieve stress, some do it to stay in shape and for other health benefits, and some do it in order to help other people. In Rochester, MN, there are a number of races offered throughout the year in order to raise funds for various non-profit organizations. In no particular order, a few of these types of races are listed below.


-5K, 3K Run/Walk
-This event provides activity for both individuals and families with the 5K run and a shorter 3K walk/run. The proceeds go towards the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester and towards Brighter Tomorrows, which is an outreach group to families who have been touched by childhood cancer. Incentive prizes are given to the top fundraisers. 2009 will mark the 19th year this event has taken place.

Lace Up For Leaders

-Formally known as the Minnesota MILE 5K run, this event is a fund raising event for Minnesota MILE (Motivating and Inspiring Leadership & Excellence). MILE was formed to identify and encourage outstanding high school sophomores. Students who are responsible citizens in their community and school are encouraged and given the opportunity to recognize their leadership potential. Sophomore year is a critical time in a teenager’s life, and results have shown that a MILE experience can affect the rest of their high school experience.

Gift of Life Transplant House Run/Walk

-Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K, 1K
-This is a fundraising event for the Gift of Life Transplant House. The house provides high-quality yet affordable housing for Mayo Clinic patients undergoing a solid organ transplant. The funds from this event will go towards an expansion project to accommodate more patients.

Med-City Marathon

-Marathon, Half Marathon, Kids’ Marathon,
-All proceeds from this event go towards the Rochester Area Family Y’s Strong Kids Campaign. The Y is devoted to building strong kids, families, and communities. This event offers opportunities for whole families to participate in together.

Harvest Classic

-5K, 1mile Kids’ Run
-The Harvest Classic is an event run by the Mayo Medical School students and the associated AMA student chapter. Dedicated to helping those that are hungry in our community, all proceeds from the race are donated to the Channel One Food Bank and Food Shelf, which helps to serve communities throughout southeastern MN and western WI.

Frozen Goose Run

-10K, 5K Run/Walk
-An event during Winterfest, this race is sponsored by the Optimist Club, a group dedicated to serving youth of the community. The funds from this event are used locally for childhood cancer research at the Mayo Clinic. The Optimists are sponsors of the Childhood Cancer Campaign, an international campaign to deal with cancer on a variety of service levels. They assist in providing support to children with cancer, to cancer patients’ families and care partners, to healthcare providers, and for childhood cancer research.

Race for Research

-5K Run/Walk
-In 1989, a fundraising effort by physical therapy students at Marquette University was started to support physical therapy research through the American Physical Therapy Association’s Foundation for Physical Therapy. This has become known as the Marquette Challenge. Students in Physical Therapy at the Mayo School of Health Sciences will join the Challenge again to raise money for PT research through a 5K run/walk. All proceeds are donated to the Foundation for Physical Therapy. In other years, students have raised over $200,000 annually.

MMCF 5K Run/Walk

-5K Run/Walk
-Founded in August 2004, MMCF (Multiple Myeloma Charitable Foundation) is a public charity dedicated to helping blood cancer patients. This event will help support the mission of this group, which includes raising funds for research of multiple myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancers, raising awareness of these cancers, and providing assistance to other non-profit groups that support cancer patients as well.

Rochester Regional Equestrian Center Run

-5 mile Trail Run/Walk
-New in 2009, this race is provided to benefit the Rochester Regional Equestrian Center. The RREC is a non-profit organization designed to enrich the community through equine science, education, and recreation. In order to do this, the group also wishes to develop a state of the art equestrian campus.

HyVee Rochesterfest Triathlon

-Olypmic (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run) and Sprint (1/4mi swim, 10mi bike, 5K run) courses
-One of the few triathlons offered in Rochester, this event is for those looking to try a triathlon as well as for experienced athletes. For 2009, proceeds from the event will be used to support the Channel One Food Bank & Food Shelf.

Lace Up Against Breast Cancer

-Half marathon, 5K Run/Walk
-This event is help in order to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. All proceeds are donated to the Mayo Clinic for research purposes.

Resolution Run

-This is another event to help support the Rochester Family Y Strong Kids Campaign. The event is held on January 1st, allowing people to celebrate the dawn of a new year with fellow runners and walkers, and by getting an early jump on New Year’s resolutions of getting in shape.

This list does not include all of the races in Rochester, but provides a glimpse of some of the events and groups that have been dedicated to helping non-profit organizations. Giving money is good, but backing up a donation with the effort required to run 5K, 10K, or even a full marathon, that is great. These types of events can give a sense of accomplishment unlike anything else, and participation in at least one of them is strongly encouraged.

There are a number of other fun runs, competitive events, and kids’ events offered throughout the year in both Rochester and the surrounding area. So if one is looking for a competitive race, a chance to help out a non-profit organization, or to just get some exercise, there are many options from which to choose.

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