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Choose Your Own 5K

Pick the best upcoming race for you, based on your fitness level and running style.

Dying to cross running a 5K off your list this summer? Exercising in the East Bay’s sweltering summer temps may sound like a drag, but early morning runners know the best way to beat the heat is to pound the pavement around 8 a.m., when most local races start. We’ve broken down the East Bay’s upcoming runs by type, so you can pick the one best suited for your level of fitness and style. Set your alarm, grab a running buddy (maybe that friend who convinced you to split a sundae), lace up your shoes, and select the 3.1 miles of cardio that sound like they’ll put a spring in your step.

Flat and paved for beginners:

It will be hard to find an excuse for not crossing the finish line at the Safeway Fast and Furious Festival 5K & Mile of Truth. The course begins on Main Street in Pleasanton and weaves through downtown, making it a perfect path for first time racers. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the fight against ALS. August 5, fastandfuriouspleasanton.com.

Steady climb up hills:

Expect to grit your teeth while you claw your way up the hills of the Bear Creek Trail 5K in the Briones Regional Park of Martinez. If you start to run low on fuel, an aid station awaits after 1.5 miles, stock full of pretzels, candy, gels, water, and sports drinks to keep you going. August 18, brazenracing.com.

Picturesque scenery:

Sweat out your inner bad at the Bad Bass 5K, beginning and ending at the Lake Chabot Marina in Castro Valley. The course, made up of unpaved, dirt fire trails, runs adjacent to the lake where you can catch glimpses of the water through the trees. All participants receive a custom shirt and medal. July 28, brazenracing.com.

Ladies only:

Cute shirts and chocolate at the finish line make completing the Fleet Feet Sports Women’s 5K Run/Walk in Pleasanton even sweeter. Don’t be ashamed to run like a girl at this event along the Shadow Cliffs Regional Park Trail, since you’ll be surrounded by ladies. The day before, get your carbo-load on at the Health and Fitness Festival, where you can fill up on organic foods and beverages. August 12, fleetfeetpleasanton.com.

FOF Board MembersCharitable donation:

Buy a ticket for the raffle and run the 8th Annual Faith Fancher Breast Cancer Challenge 5K Walk/Run around quaint Lake Merritt in Oakland. The race is a fundraiser for women undergoing breast cancer treatment, and donations are graciously accepted. Raffle prizes range from a sky blue pearl necklace to a Giants jersey signed by Buster Posey. August 25, faithfancher5k.org.

For those who’ve conquered the 5K:

There’s no acting like a princess when you  overthrow  the Cinderella Trail Run in Oakland. Select to run a 10K, half-marathon, full-marathon, or 50K. Expect sweeping views of the Oakland Hills and Bay Area along the way. You’ll feel like royalty when they slip medals around your neck  at the finish line. August 18, coastaltrailruns.com.

Other East Bay races:

Take your pick between The Berkeley and Oakland Hills Street Scramble and the Skirt and Dirt Trail Run in Oakland, both on August 25 (getlostxx.com, insidetrail.com). The following day, the Zoom Castle Rock Run takes place in Castle Rock Regional Park in Walnut Creek on August 26 (zoomrunningevents.com).