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Here at the Halle Heart Children’s Museum, we educate kids on three important practices to keep their hearts healthy:

  • Never smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get plenty of exercise!

We may mostly be teaching kids about these crucial principles, but they apply to adults, too! Of these three activities that keep up our cardiovascular health, getting daily exercise may be the biggest challenge for us adults. Thirty minutes a day, five days a week is a proven rule of thumb for lowering blood pressure and risk of heart attack or stroke. But unlike kids, who typically have some physical activity built into their day through P.E. and recess, grown-ups have to work a bit harder to make it happen.

With the weather getting ready to cool down, fall is a great time to get outside for some of those 150 minutes per week of moderate activity recommended by the American Heart Association. What about challenging yourself to run a 5k? Even if you’ve never been a runner, there are numerous “couch to 5k” programs available online that offer a clear-cut path from non-runner to race finisher. Scheduling an event to look forward to is a great motivator for working in some cardio on a regular basis.

There’s no shortage of options for 5k races coming up in the Valley this fall! With tons of fun choices–from goofy themed runs to races that benefit a worthy cause–there’s a 5k for everyone. Here are ten upcoming 5ks around town to get you excited about hitting the pavement for your heart.

1. T-Rex Run – September 23rd

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What do you do if a T-rex is chasing you? You RUN! And in this case, you run for a good cause, since the T-Rex Run benefits Team RWB, a veterans’ support group. Check it out September 23rd at Mesa Riverview Park.

2. Run FORE Cancer – September 23rd

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Make a difference for cancer patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and Barrow Neurological Institute by participating in this race at the Scottsdale Silverado Golf Course.

3. Phoenix Children’s Hospital 5k – October 7th

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CityScape in downtown Phoenix is the site of this run that raises funds for some of the neediest among us: the children served by Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

4. Thin Mint Sprint – October 7th

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Got a Girl Scout in your life? Show her your support by registering for the Thin Mint Sprint in Tempe. (Or, for beginners, there’s even a 1-mile Samosa Stroll.)

5. Hip Hop Run – October 8th

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DJs playing upbeat tunes all along the course are a sure thing to get you moving and grooving at this fun race! Join the party at Kiwanis Park.

6. A Race for Maggie’s Place – October 8th

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Maggie’s Place provides housing and assistance to pregnant and parenting moms in need. Give them a hand (or a foot) by signing up for one of the courses in this multi-distance race.

7. Das Frank Kush Foot Race – October 14th

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Why the “das” in “Das Frank Kush Foot Race”? This local classic is a part of Tempe’s annual Oktoberfest. Extra points for running in your lederhosen.

8. Mountain Park Health Center 5k – October 14th

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Head over to Kiwanis Park to raise funds for a new medical clinic in Tempe at the 2nd annual Mountain Park Health Center race. Dog owners will be happy to know that pets are welcome!

9. The Mummy Run – October 30th

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Prepare to get spooky at this family-friendly run at Mesa Riverview Park.

10. Fat Turkey Trail Run – November 25th

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What Thanksgiving Day couldn’t use a little extra activity? Counterbalance holiday indulgence with this race that starts at Tempe Town Lake and winds through Papago Park.