Wake up early for this Friday's Houston Heights Annual Fun Run.
Wake up early for this Friday's Houston Heights Annual Fun Run.
Photo by RACESHOTS

Houston's Hottest Summer Fun Runs and Other Ways to Stay in Shape

Let’s face it: In the Texas heat, you’re going to work up a sweat this summer whether you’re actually trying to or not. So you may as well burn some extra calories while you’re at it. Enter these summer fun runs and activities, which will keep your #SummerBod on track all season long.

With a roster covering family-friendly charity run/walks, fun runs fueled by booze, beach volleyball tournaments, paddleboarding and group fitness activities like parkour, there are plenty of ways to work off those tacos and have some fun this summer.

The 21-and-up crowd can kick things off with the Vodka Trot, a 1.5-mile race that is serious about the fun. Dress to impress for the cocktail contest, participate in post-race dancing and lip-syncing and play giant vodka pong along the way. Beer lovers have a few race options too. No Label’s 1st Street 5K finishes with tasting at the brewery, and it just so happens to be the day before Father’s Day (if that’s not the perfect gift, we don’t know what is).

Or maybe you’re looking for something a little bit more inclusive of the entire family. The whole crew can enjoy the 32nd annual Houston Heights Fun Run and Walk, which offers a 5K, 10K and Kids 1K, complete with a post-race party and awards ceremony. And, on Father’s Day, the 18th annual Dad’s Day 5K, 3K and 1K Kid’s Run/Walk in downtown benefits prostate cancer education and support network Us Too International. June’s Pride Run and August’s Watermelon Run for the Fallen are two more ways to support great causes.

Not into running? Check out summer activities like the free fitness classes at Discovery Green, with offerings including yoga, zumba and Bollywood dancing. Or sign up for a league with Houston Sports & Social Club, because no one ever said dodgeball was just for kids.

Whatever you choose, here’s how to work up a sweat this summer:

June 3
Houston Heights Annual Fun Run
Marmion Park, 1800 Heights
houstonheights.org
Families are welcome to enjoy this 5K and 10K chip-timed course, plus a Kids 1K. After the race (which starts at 7:30 a.m. for the 5 and 10k run; 7:35 a.m. for the 5K walk; and 8:30 a.m. for the kids race), enjoy a party complete with entertainment, prizes and refreshments.

June 17
2017 Dad’s Day 5K, 3K and 1K Kid’s Run/Walk
Wortham Theatre Arch, 550 Prairie
dadsday5k.org
Celebrate dad and a great cause at this 18th annual event, hosted by the TexUs Too, the Houston chapter of the nonprofit prostate cancer education and support network, Us Too International. Registration runs from $10 to $35 and the opening ceremony beings at 7:30 a.m.

The 2017 Hot Undies Run takes to the streets of Rice Village on June 17.
The 2017 Hot Undies Run takes to the streets of Rice Village on June 17.
Photo by Gilbert Bernal

2017 Hot Undies Run
Gorgeous Gael Irish Pub, 5555 Morningside
thedriven.net/hot-undies-run
This two-mile pub run in skivvies raises money for Girls on the Run Greater Houston. This year, the fundraising goal is $25,000. Registration is $35 through May 31 and $40 after and the race starts at 11 a.m.

No Label Brewing 1st Street 5K
No Label Brewing Co., 5351-A 1st
runintexas.com/beerrun
With a date right before Father’s Day, this beer-fueled race day starts and finishes at No Label Brewery and runs the streets east of downtown Katy. Bonus for new parents: Strollers are welcome on the course. The race is $45 to $55 and begins at 7:30 a.m., with tastings available for runners and spectators, available until 10 a.m., at which time the 1st Street 5K is officially over. No Label will reopen from noon to 3 p.m. for its afternoon beer tasting.

June 24
Pride Run Houston 5K Run/Walk
thepriderun.org/Houston
Celebrate and support our diverse community at the Pride Run, Houston’s first intentionally LGBTQIA inclusive 5k walk and run dedicated to bringing Houston together to have fun and be active. This event is for everyone; people who want to walk or run, people of all ages, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. The race ($30) begins at 5:30 p.m., with the after-party at 6 p.m.

July 8
Christmas in July 5K
The Salvation Army Greater Houston, 1500 Austin
christmasinjuly5k.com
’Tis the season to run and raise money for The Salvation Army of Greater Houston.

Make sure you wear a white shirt for September's Blacklight Run.
Make sure you wear a white shirt for September's Blacklight Run.
Photo by Justin Muir for Blacklight Run

July 22
2017 Hot Mistletoe Pub Run
Fuego’s Saloon, 817 Durham
washingtonavepubruns.com
A beer is included at each stop of this Washington Ave pub run. The tentative race route hops from Fuego’s Saloon to Kung Fu Saloon, then Underdogs Sports Pub and Porch Swing Pub before heading back to Fuego’s Saloon for the after party. Registration is $35 to $50 and the run starts at 11 a.m.

August 12
Galveston Sand Crab 5/10K/Kid’s Beach Mile
Apfel Park, 1923 Boddeke
runintexas.com
Benefiting the Galveston Island Humane Society and run entirely on sand, Sand Crab is a great way to get a little exercise under the stars. Run or walk the beach, enjoy barbecue and have a few beers while listening to great music with other runners on a summer night. All races are chip-timed, including the Kid’s Mile, which begins at 8 pm. The 5K/10K starts at 8:30 p.m. Registration ranges from $20 to $65.

August 19
Watermelon Run for the Fallen
1015 11th, Hempstead
watermelonrftf.org
Over in Hempstead, the Watermelon Run for the Fallen is the nation’s largest 5k run/walk/roll dedicated to recognizing the sacrifices made by our military members who have been lost as a result of our current conflicts. Every participant who donates $30 for entry will receive a shirt tag with the name of the military member for whom that individual will be walking/running/rolling for.

September 2
Blacklight Run
Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West
blacklightrun.com/houstontx
Wear a white shirt for this nighttime 5K fun run, because by the end you’ll be covered in UV glow powder. The race begins at 8:30 p.m., followed by the Neon Sky celebration and dance party. Registration is $50.

If it's the last Friday of the month, it must be Critical Mass.
If it's the last Friday of the month, it must be Critical Mass.
Photo courtesy of Downtown District

ONGOING

Critical Mass
Market Square Park, 301 Milam
criticalmasshouston.com
On the last Friday of every month, thousands of cycling enthusiasts meet for this all-are-welcome, casual ride. The group gathers at Market Square Park around 6:30 and rolls out around 7:15 p.m., with the rides finishing between 9:30 and 10 p.m.

Group Fitness at Discovery Green
Discovery Green/Avenida Plaza
discoverygreen.com
Work out the mind, body and soul with hatha yoga (Saturdays through June 24); hit Bollywood Fun and Fit (Mondays through June 26); move it and lose it with Zumba (Wednesdays through June 28); and learn to dance along the Avenida at Dancing in the Streets or try parkour at the Sarofim Picnic Lawn (both on Thursdays through June 29).

Galveston Paddleboard Center
Southern Spears Surf Shop, 6026 Seawall
galveston.com/paddleboard
Get free delivery on all paddleboard and kayak rentals to anywhere on the Island, with rates set at $25/hour or $45/day. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Gulf Coast Volleyball Association — Beach Tournaments
Stewart Beach, 201 Seawall
gcva.net
This volleyball association hosts sand tournaments throughout the summer. Check its schedule online.

Houston Sports & Social Club Leagues
houstonssc.com
Sign yourself up or join fun and competitive leagues with a team of friends. The roster of sports includes everything from bowling and dodgeball to sand volleyball and soccer.

Topgolf Summer Academy
Katy, 1030 Memorial Brook; Spring, 560 Spring Park Center; Webster, 21401 Gulf Freeway
topgolf.com
This half-day golf clinic for kids and teens is offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, with dates available through August ($249 per week). The program includes all of the components that make up the great game of golf, from chipping, putting and full swing to the rules and etiquette.

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