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6 Things to Do Before You Do the Run for California 5K

August 30, 2021
Image courtesy of Libby Toub

Golden Bears run together, even when apart. The Cal Alumni Association’s (CAA) Run for California 5K started back in 2020 as a “virtual” race for runners and walkers alike to participate wherever they were during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The first 5K was a huge success with more than 830 miles trekked by alumni and friends. Participants set their own pace and choose their own timing on the same day so that Golden Bears around the world experienced the camaraderie only a Cal athletic event can bring. 

Now, as the 5K comes around the annual track again, here are some pre-race steps all participants can take to experience the Cal community as they run.

1. Get your Run for California 5K t-shirt before the race

When you register for the race online, you’ll also get a designed t-shirt specific to the 5K race. In order to get your t-shirt in time for the race, make sure to sign up at least two weeks before the race so that your shirt will arrive in time. (T-shirts will still be shipped for later registrations.) You can wear the shirt on the day of the race to show participant solidarity or any time after as bragging rights that you survived our 5K.

2. Follow CAA’s Instagram for photo updates

We’ll be sharing updates about the race on our Instagram account, so make sure to follow us to stay in the loop. Plus, there’s photo inspiration from past Run for California 5K runners. If you take any photos of yourself preparing, during, or after the race, tag us @calalumniassociation with #runforcalifornia5k.

3. Choose your race route

Unlike most races that have a set start and finish line, runners and walkers for this race chart their own route. As long as the distance totals five kilometers, or about three miles, the route works. During your run, you’ll need to track your distance to submit at the end, so don’t forget to bring a pedometer or distance tracker! For Bay Area locals, CAA shared some top Berkeley running spots that are perfect for the race.

4. Find your Cal running or walking gear

libby toub
Image courtesy of Libby Toub

The right athletic gear can go a long way with tackling five kilometers of walking or running. As mentioned earlier, a race shirt will be mailed to you when you register for the 5K. The race is also a great opportunity to celebrate that indomitable Cal spirit with blue and gold face paint or your favorite Cal apparel. And if you have an Oski suit, this race is definitely the right time to bust it out and snap pre-race Instagram photo hype up your fellow Golden Bears. 

Your favorite Cal game-day outfit might qualify for our “Most Cal-Spirited Run” photo contest. Snap your photo and share it on Instagram, tagging CAA (@calalumniassociation), Cal Athletics (@calathletics), and Sports Basement (@sportsbasement) as well as including the hashtags #runforcalifornia5k and #calspirit in your post. Or email your photo to us at

run for berkeley spotify playlist
Run for California Playlist

5. Queue up your running playlist

The right music can pump up your brain and body for any exercise. Last year, CAA created a Run for California playlist with favorite Cal-connected tunes to fuel running Golden Bears. This year, the playlist has expanded to include Cal Band classics “Big C” and “Sons of California.”

6. Round up your crew of Golden Bears 

If you prefer solitary walks/runs, feel free to disregard this suggestion! While you won’t be able to see all of your fellow race participants, invite your friends and family to this family-friendly event whether they’re young or old, human or furry. And if they don’t feel up to the run themselves, they can cheer you at the “finish line” with “Fight for California” playing in the background.

If your bear-y household runs with you, don’t forget to share the photo with us on Instagram for our “Beary-est Family/Household” photo contest. Tag CAA, Cal Athletics, and Sports Basement, and include the hashtags #runforcalifornia5k and #goldenbearfamilies in your post. You can also email us your photo at

No matter where you’re running or walking, your Cal community is with you, cheering you on for each mile. Best of luck, and Go Bears!

Sign up for the Run for California 5K today! Complete the race by October 3, 2021.