Whether it’s to support a worthy cause or to shift your fitness regimen into high gear, there’s nothing better than a running or walking in Miami’s spectacular weather year round. The best running and walking events in the city are excellent for all participants, from novices and their kids to marathon pros. Work up a good sweat or raise money for medical research this spring and summer at any of these great local events.

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Walk MS Aventura 2012
Founders Park South
3105 NE 190th St.
Aventura, FL 33180
(954) 731-4224

March 25
Hours: registration – 7:30 a.m.; walk – 9 a.m.
Price: free

This 3.1-mile walk is a great opportunity to get in some low impact exercise while working to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis. Located in the heart of Aventura, Founders Park is a family oriented park that fosters the community spirit shared by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Funds raised in this event will be used for critical research, local programs and outreach.

AIDS Walk Miami
Miami Beach Convention Center
1901 Convention Center Dr.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 751-9255

April 22
Hours: registration – 8 a.m.; walk – 9 a.m.
Price: $10/free for junior walkers ages 5 to 18

This walking event features a brisk walk near the historic Miami Beach Convention Center followed by a series of exciting activities inside the center, including free massages, food samples and a live MTV Latin America performance. Proceeds will benefit Care Resource, the leading organization in south Florida benefiting locals living with HIV and AIDS. More than 15,000 Miami-Dade and Broward residents receive health and mental care from Care Resource.

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Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run
Bayfront Park
301 N. Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132
(305) 666-7223

April 26
Registration deadline: April 5
Price: $30 until March 22; $35 March 23 to April 5

One of the most highly anticipated events of the year, the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run promotes the idea that keeping its employees healthy keeps the company healthy as well. Now in its 27th year, thousands of employees from corporations across the county gear up for a fun and invigorating race through the streets of downtown Miami. With record participation annually and a host of media sponsors spreading the word, this event never fails to be a happy, healthy blast.

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March of Dimes, March for Babies
Tropical Park
7900 SW 40th St.
Miami, FL 33155
(305) 477-1192

April 28
Hours: registration – 7:30 a.m.; walk – 9 a.m.
Price: free

Walkers for this important cause get the two-fold benefit of raising funds to help community programs for babies and enjoying the sprawling, expansive landscape of this popular park. Fundraiser incentives include March for Babies T-shirts and department store gift cards. March for Babies is focused on aiding in full-term, healthy pregnancies. Funds also benefit research to find solutions to problems affecting infants.

Related: Best Running Routes in South Florida

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down2earth Oleta 5k/10k and Half Marathon Trail Run
Oleta River State Park
3400 N.E. 163rd St.
North Miami Beach, FL 33160
(786) 385-4204

July 29
Hours: race-day registration – 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.; race 7:30 a.m.
Price:$25 5k and 10k trail run; $40 half marathon trail run
Registration closes July 27 before midnight until race-day registration begins.

Avid racers looking for a run off the beaten path will be intrigued by this event. Located at one of the best state parks in Florida, this summer race gives participants features a little rugged, city terrain near the quiet Oleta River along Biscayne Bay. Racers may choose from a 5k, 10k run or half marathon race. A series of climbs, hills, gravel and concrete make this an intense test of endurance.

Related: ING Miami Marathon Off and Running

For nearly 20 years, Shawanda James has been actively involved in creative writing in Miami, Florida. In addition to her work as a freelance writer, she is actively seeking publication for her debut novel and collection of poetry. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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