Every day that we’re able to run, walk or otherwise participate in activities is a reason to celebrate, but for those looking for something extra to cheer about, a new race series covers a whole year of holidays.

The Houston Holiday Series has consisted of a handful of events in the past, but this year has expanded to eight races, with distances ranging from 5 kilometers to 12 kilometers. Bonuses are available for completing three or more in the series, and it’s possible to jump in midyear.

Next up is the Independence Day 8K, scheduled for June 29 at Meyerland Plaza mall. The series also has races commemorating Halloween, Christmas, Earth Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day and the start of football season (if you don’t think the beginning of football season is a holiday, you haven’t lived in Texas long enough).

Participants who complete two of the holiday races receive a special prize, and those who complete three receive a Holiday Series medal that complements the medals awarded at each race. Each race takes place at a different location, including Karbach Brewery at Halloween, downtown Houston at Christmas, Katy and west-side Houston.

The Independence Day 8K gets under way at 7 a.m. and leaves the mall, located along Loop 610, for a long out-and-back stretch along Brays Bayou. While the course is largely exposed to the sun, water stations will be placed every mile and a half to ensure runner safety and comfort on what is likely to be a hot day. Eight kilometers is slightly less than five miles.

The Independence 8K also features a kids race at 9 a.m., covering 1 kilometer within the safe confines of the mall parking lot. Registration for the race is open online, and the process is slightly different from most area races: there are two packet pick-ups, June 22 and June 27, and no general packet pick-up on race day.

Race-number bibs are available for pickup on the morning of the race for those willing to forego the rest of their swag, and “VIP” pickup on race day is available for an extra $15.

Bernice Torregrossa: bernice92@aol.com

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