Holiday Charity Running Events in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

Run for a cause this year! Southeast Michigan is packed with tons of fun running events in 2022 that support charities and nonprofit organizations.

The holiday season is fast closing in, and you might be looking for a good way to spend time with the family, give back to the community and avoid packing on a few extra holiday pounds.

Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties are packed with holiday charity running events that fill all three of these goals.

From Thanksgiving-themed 5Ks for beginners, to 10Ks through rough wooded terrain and mile races just for fun, there’s a run for everyone in southeast Michigan. And, they all raise money for some great charity organizations.

Check this list and find the right distance, charity and overall event for you and your family.

Lightfest 8K

Nov. 16, 2022

Walk or run this 8K through the longest holiday light display in the Midwest. All proceeds go to support Wayne County Parks.

Blitzen the Dotte

Nov. 19, 2022

  • Address: Downtown Wyandotte area
  • Cost: $42-plus/5K Run/Walk, $20-plus/Kids 5K Run/Walk, Free/Little Reindeer Run (1/4 Mile)

This 14th annual fundraiser offers a 5K walk/run to support the youth rowing club at the Wyandotte Boat Club.

Jingle Bell Run

Nov. 19, 2022

  • Address: M1 Concourse, 1 Concourse Drive, Pontiac
  • Cost: $35-$50/5K timed run, $30-$45/5K untimed fun run, $24-$30/festivities only

Wear your favorite holiday costume and run to support arthritis research for better treatments and a cure. Registration includes jingle bells and shirt. Free activities include visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, live music, food, human snow globe, kids activities and more.

Guernsey Chocolate Run

Nov. 20, 2022

This race offers a 10K, 5K and a half-mile race for runners and walkers of all ages. It will feature a make your own hot chocolate, tea or coffee and of course, Guernsey’s chocolate cookie, chocolate milk, candies, pastries and more. This race is dog and stroller friendly.

Canton Turkey Trot

Nov. 24, 2022

Families are invited to participate in a 5K race or one-mile run to support the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, which gives management tools to those who live with epilepsy.

Mighty Gobbler Thanksgiving Day 5K Run

Nov. 24, 2022

Come out to Lutheran Church of the Master in Troy for the 8th Annual Mighty Gobbler 5K and 1Mile Run/Walk. It is presented by A.J. Desmonds & Sons. Proceeds benefit local non-profit organizations serving people in need. Register online or day of the event.

Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot

Nov. 24, 2022

This annual trot offers several distances to choose from – the Strategic Staffing Solutions 10K Turkey Trot, the 5K Stuffing Strut, and the family-friendly Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Mashed Potato Mile. All races finish on Atwater, behind Huntington Place, next to Riverwalk.

Turkey ‘TRAIL’ Trot

Nov. 24, 2022

Enjoy a Turkey Trot race at Stony Creek Metropark. Races depend on the day. This race event is 100% dirt trails including leaves, rocks and roots. $1 from each participant will be donated to Meals on Wheels.

Turkey Trot 5K

Nov. 24, 2022

Jog this untimed 5K race for adults and 1K race for kids and families to walk or run together. Registration required. 

Saline Merry Mile Presented by Ann Arbor Running Company

Dec. 3, 2022

  • Address: Downtown Saline area
  • Cost: $20-plus; donations are welcome on website

This annual race will start at Ann Arbor Street and Michigan Avenue and run east on Michigan Ave until a turnaround point just before Old Creek/Maple. The proceeds benefit The Friends of Saline Cross Country.

This post was originally published in 2015 and is updated regularly. 

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