Florida Challenge Trail Run Half Marathon & 5K

Sunday, January 29, 2023 • Lithia, FL • Course Map

Runners who are ready for a challenging trail run through one of Florida’s most rugged outdoor areas get a chance to do exactly that at the Florida Challenge Trail Run Half Marathon & 5K, which takes runners along the trails that snake through the 6,300-acre Alafia River State Park.

The park is one of the Sunshine State’s newest parks that has been restored and reclaimed from land that was once used for a local phosphate mine just outside Tampa.

Today it’s the site of more than 20 miles of trails for hikers, mountain bikers and runners who enjoy tramping along its rolling hills and through its thick forests of hardwood and pine flatwood trees.

For those running in both the half marathon and the 5K, the race starts at the park’s trailhead parking area just off the park entrance, and follows a winding and circuitous path through the park, with the first loop along the Moonscape and Rollercoaster trails making up the 5K and the remainder of the park trails — including the River Loop, Rock Garden and Sand Pine trails — making up the rest of the course for those running the half-marathon.

Just over 300 runners crossed the finish line in the half marathon and the 5K combined at the race’s January 2016 running, with more than half of those running the 13.1-mile race. Race organizers describe the course as a race along beginner trails for the 5K and intermediate single-track trails for the half.

The race’s 2023 running will be its 19th annual, and runners will be expected to complete the half marathon in 3 1/2 hours.

The River Loop trail in Alafia River State Park, Florida. (Photo by Global Reactions/flickr)

The River Loop trail in Alafia River State Park, Florida. (Photo by Global Reactions/flickr)

Race Weather & Climate

Located on Florida’s Gulf coast at about the midpoint of the state, just across the bay from St. Petersburg, Lithia typically sees mild to moderately cool weather in mid-winter, with low precipitation compared to the rest of the year.

In January, temperatures average between 50°F and 72°F, while rainfall totals average 2.73 inches for the month.

On the day of the race (Jan. 29), the average low is 50°F and the average high is 73°F.

Past Results

Course Map

See the race route map for the Florida Challenge Trail Run here.

Starting Time

  • 8:00 AM – half marathon
  • 8:30 AM – 5K


  • $44 – $49 for the half marathon
  • $31 – $36 for the 5K


To reserve your spot in either the 5K or the half marathon at the winter 2023 running of Lithia’s Florida Challenge Trail Run, register online at EventBrite.com here.

Official Race Website



Ever run in the Florida Challenge Trail Run? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.

See more races in: January, Florida

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