Red, white and run: Races for Independence Day

Two patriotically dressed runners finish the Pitman Freedom 4 Mile race on July 4, 2013. (Photo via Facebook)

Before you hit the barbecue buffet table hard this Independence Day, start the day off with some sweat and an appetite worth satiating. These patriotic races will leave you feeling some kind of Revolutionary way (or at least ready for a shower and a nap).

Run in the presence of wild animals. The course of the Red, White and Zoo 5k loops through Philadelphia Zoo in West Fairmount Park starting at 6:30 p.m. and wraps up with awards in the Big Cat Beer garden on Thursday, July 3. Registration opens at 5 p.m. and also includes a free day at the zoo.

Another independence eve race takes runners through Swarthmore College’s campus and the surrounding community at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 3. This race includes an 8k run and a two-and-a-half mile walk, starting at the Swarthmore Public Library with registration beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The rest of these feats of strength take place on Friday, July 4.

Why participate in one sport when you can do three? The Birchwood Lakes Triathlon is a low-key affair in Medford, NJ. So low key in fact, that you’ll have to keep your own splits (so wear a watch). You’ll swim in Birchwood Lakes’ fresh water first, hop on your bike for a fairly flat ride and finish out with a shady run. Parking is available at Saint Mary of the Lakes Church (40 Jackson Road) and registration opens at 7 a.m. Stay after the race for a post-workout barbecue.

If you can run a mile or can run six miles, there’s a race for you at Washington Crossing, PA’s Revolutionary Run. Registration opens at 6 a.m. in Washington Crossing Historic Park where you’ll be able to register for a one mile fun run, 5k race or 10k race. The one mile run starts at 8 a.m. with the following races beginning 15 minutes later.

If you’re feeling something less competitive, City Running Tours are giving groups of runners a 5k historical tour of Philadelphia. Leaving the Liberty Bell Center in Old City at 8 a.m., runners will see Washington and Headhouse Squares, the Delaware River waterfront, Race Street Pier, Christ Church burial ground and more quintessential sights.

For a boardwalk and beach run, Wildwood, NJ is holding a patriotic 5k and one mile fun run. Registration begins at 7 a.m. at the Wildwoods Convention Center on the boardwalk and the run will start at 8 a.m. at the Wildwood Vietnam Wall. Racers—and non racers—are encouraged to wear their best red, white and blue.

Wilmington, DE’s Rockford Park holds their Firecracker 5k—don’t get your hopes up too high, no firecrackers included. Registration opens at the park at 7:30 a.m. with the start of the run an hour following. Note that running with strollers is not permitted, but you can surely walk with them.

A challenging, yet picturesque four mile run is held in Pitman, NJ. Their Freedom 4 miler starts outside of the Broadway Theatre at 8:45 a.m. and features some hills and circles through residential neighborhoods, where homeowners graciously set up sprinklers and hoses for runners. Registration opens at 7 a.m. at Borough Hall.

Be a part of a parade while you run! The Broomall Rotary is sponsoring a 5k that starts at the Broomall Fire Station at 9:25 a.m. (also where registration will open at 8 a.m.). By participating in this race, you’ll also lead the town’s parade as it heads back to the Broomall, PA fire house.

In a race that honors the men and women that protect our country, the Long Beach Island Freedomfest 5k’s registration opens at 8 a.m. just outside of Bayview Park in Harvey Cedars, NJ. The race begins at 9:30 a.m. and aside from the typical awards (top finishers in each age group), this race awards the person who wears the most patriotic outfit.