Plans for July Fourth typically include the following: sun, barbecue, beer, and fireworks—then more beer. But what if we told you that you could start the celebrations super early with free food and massages? The following races take place the morning of July Fourth, so not only will you get in a good workout before the heat sets in, but you’ll have plenty of hours to chow down on good eats sans guilt for the rest of the day.
Run for Independence 8K
601 Catoctin Circ., NE, Leesburg
For those who want to keep July Fourth a day of barbecue and fireworks, you can still race a few days earlier at Potomac River Running’s Run for Independence 8K on June 30. The course runs through Leesburg and will end with music, food, and awards. Breakfast will also be provided. $30 to register. Race begins at 8 AM.
Let Freedom Run 5K
11901 Grand Commons Ave., Fairfax
Now in its second year, the Let Freedom Run 5K starts at Fairfax Corner Shopping Center and loops around to end at Grand Commons Avenue. Overall first, second, and third place prizes will be awarded, as will age group awards. All runners will receive a T-shirt. Children can race in the kids dash. $25 to register until June 30. $30 afterwards until race day. Race begins at 9 AM.
Reston Firecracker 5K
11911 Democracy Dr., Reston
Potomac River Running’s Firecracker 5K race starts and finishes at Reston Town Center. The big perks of registering are free massages after the race by Fast Track Physical Therapy and a breakfast spread by Mon Ami Gabi. All preregistered runners will receive a technical race T-shirt. But be sure to pick up your packet early since the first 800 people will receive commemorative 5K pint glasses—perfect for celebrations later that afternoon. $30 to register through July 3 or $35 on race day. Race begins at 8 AM.
Autism Speaks 5K
10101 Glenolden Dr., Potomac
To run for a great cause, register for the Autism Speaks 12th annual 5K run or one-mile walk. One in 88 US children is autistic, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The course goes through neighborhood streets and ends with a downhill finish. Note: While wheelchairs, strollers, and pets are not allowed on the 5K course, they are permitted on the one-mile walk. $35 to register. Race begins at 8 AM.
PVTC Go Fourth 8K Run/Racewalk
325 N. Manchester St., Arlington
Potomac Valley Track Club will host this Arlington race, which starts at Bluemont Park. Awards will be given to the top three finishers in ten-year age groups, plus racewalkers. The race is limited to 250 participants, so sign up now if you want a spot. $8 for nonmembers of the PVTC. Race begins at 8:30 AM.