There might not be anything cuter or more exciting than an enthusiastic child holding a handmade poster along a racecourse to support his or her parent.
But the kids don't always have to stay on the sidelines. When planning your next race, you can choose events that allow the whole family to cross the finish line. Registration may not be open for all of these races quite yet, but it's never too early to start training.
Philadelphia Marathon, November 20151 of 6
Who doesn't love a medal? The first 325 participants to finish the Kids Fun Run at the Philadelphia Marathon earn a T-shirt, medal and other goodies. The non-timed event, which is on Saturday of the marathon weekend, is for ages 6 to 12.
On Sunday, Mom and Dad can tackle an 8K, half marathon or marathon.
St. Jude Marathon Weekend, December 20152 of 6
This race is all about the kids, as it raises money for the St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Families can participate in the family mile and celebrate at the marathon finish line in Auto Zone Park. If the kids want to race on their own, they can run the kids' marathon, which is the last mile of the marathon course.
With several events for active kids in the afternoon, parents can participate in the morning races — a half marathon, marathon and marathon relay.
Walt Disney World Marathon, January 20163 of 6
For active kids young and old, there might not be anywhere more magical than Walt Disney World. The marathon weekend kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 7, and kids can participate in a dash (crawlers to age 8) or one-mile race (ages 13 and younger) that day. Participants can remember their accomplishments with a medallion and T-shirt.
For adults, the weekend offers a number of challenges with race distances from a 5K to a marathon. And don't forget the multi-race options.
Carlsbad 5000, April 20164 of 6
As part of the weekend for the fastest 5K in the world, the Junior Carlsbad in Carlsbad, Calif., has an event for everybody from the diaper dash crew to those with 12-year-olds in tow. Race distances vary based on age.
Before cheering the kids to a strong finish, parents can toe the line for the 5K, and distance lovers can take on the 20K.
The Flying Pig Marathon, May 20165 of 6
This three-day event in Cincinnati features a Piglet division that has a diaper dash for even the youngest active kids and races of increasing distance for children ages 1 to 9. Preteens and teens can join the fun and run either the Kids' Marathon 26th Mile, or the Tri-State Running Company 5K.
For the parents, there is the Little Kings Mile on Friday night; 5K and 10K races on Saturday; and a half marathon, marathon and marathon relay on Sunday. If you're really looking for a challenge, there are multi-race options, as well.