The Short List

Five not-so-long races. 

Hardcore mountain runs have a time and a place, but not every race has to be a sufferfest.

Sometimes a 5k, charity run, or other low-key race is the perfect way to spend a morning (or evening).

Here are four shorter-distance races across southwest Montana to keep on your radar this summer. 

1) ECCS Firecracker Fun Run
Distance: 5k
Where: Ennis
When: Saturday, June 29
Support the Ennis Community Children’s School with this relaxed 5k that leaves from the Madison Square Fitness Center and follows a gravel-road loop off the beaten path. Cool off with a swim in Ennis Lake after the run.

2) Reach Race for Independence
Distance: 5k
Where: Bozeman
When: Thursday, July 4
Get your Fourth-of-July-barbecue metabolism revved up on this flat, fast course around Bozeman’s in-town trails. The race loops around the East Gallatin Rec Area and the Cherry Creek fishing area, and all proceeds support Reach’s efforts to empower people with disabilities.

3) Sweet Pea Run 
Distance: 5k
Where: Bozeman
When: Saturday, August 3
The Sweet Pea Run is one of the most popular 5ks of the summer. The race starts and finishes on Main Street, following the in-town trail system on a flat, wide course. This race is a fun way for the whole family to participate in Bozeman’s iconic arts festival. (10k distance also available.)

4) Night Owl Run 
Distance: 4.06 miles
Where: Livingston
When: Friday, September 6
This popular evening race fills up quickly, so register early. Prizes are awarded to the top three finishers in multiple categories, as well as a prize for the best owl costume worn during the race. The course follows dirt roads and a trail along the Yellowstone River, and the post-race barbecue is not to be missed. All proceeds benefit local educational and youth programs.