A 5K is a great goal to have for the year…unless you’re like me and hate running with every fiber of your being.
Now, I have physical reasons to hate running — flat feet, faulty knees and more — but I also just get SoOoOoO bored! There’s nothing to distract me from the pain I’m in. And a runner’s high? That’s proven about as elusive as a six-pack for me.
Lately though, 5Ks are stepping up their game just enough to make me want to participate. Having fun while running isn’t that hard of a concept to grasp when throwing paint or inflatables are involved, right?
We’ve got 10 different types of 5Ks to check out if you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary to jump start your, er…love for running this year.
(c) Insane Inflatables 5K
Running 3.1 miles can’t be that bad if you get to break to play on inflatables, right? That’s exactly the thinking behind organizations like the Insane Inflatable 5K, which travel all over the country and host runs with blow-up obstacles included.
Runners take on obstacles like the Mattress Run and Big Balls while competing. Calling this a run might be a little misleading though as participants will run, climb, dodge and slide their way to the finish line. To see if an Insane Inflatable 5K is coming to a city near you or to learn more about it, click here.
(c) Insane Inflatables 5K
For those of us who need a little extra push to run fast, how about a 5K with the undead hot on your heels?
As the zombie-craze has gripped the nation, zombie runs are popping up faster than you can say headshot. Each run is structured a little differently — in some, you run as a zombie whereas in others, volunteers dressed as zombies are hiding throughout the course, ready to pull a flag off your race belt when given the chance.
Either way, you’re sure to push a little harder through this run. If you get caught, you’ll have to pay the consequences with brains!
(c) The Color Run
Want to be fabulous, fun and multicolored as you run? The Color Run might be right up your alley!
The Color Run, also known as the happiest 5K on Earth, has 5Ks all over the country. People show up in white shirts with lots of neon accessories and run through different puffs of colored powder as they complete the race, showing up at the finish line in a flourish of color and cardio.
Although there have been plenty of similar spin offs for this type of race, The Color Run is the largest of its kind in the world and hosts races in over 50 countries. Chances are you can find one to compete in within a reasonable distance of your house.
However, be prepared. You may look like a smurf for a few days afterwards, but all of dye used is non-toxic and will wash off your skin…eventually.
(c) The Color Run[/caption]
(c) Hand in Paw[
Each city is filled to the brim with unique runs for a great cause. For me, it’s always a little easier to put some pep in my step when I’m running to raise money or awareness for something that I’m really passionate about.
Some of my favorites here in the Birmingham area are Mutt Strut, a pet-friendly 5K benefitting Hand in Paw, as well as the Open Hands Overflowing Hearts 5K, which benefits OHOH, an organization dedicated to raising funding for childhood cancer research.
However, it’s hard to choose! The Monkey C Monkey Run 5K benefits Camp Smile-a-Mile, another organization that’s close to my heart as well as the Red Shoe Run, which benefits the Ronald McDonald House of Birmingham. And those are just organizations that I’m familiar with! A quick google search of charity 5Ks Birmingham returned over 300,000 results.
That being said, figure out what you’re passionate about and start fundraising. Nothing will get those feet moving faster when you’re feeling a little sluggish than thinking about what you’re running for.
Disney Princess 5K
Run like the princess you are in the Disney Princess 5K. The 5K is actually part of the Disney Half Marathon weekend and it includes everything from a half marathon to a children’s race. The best part? You of course, get to dress up like your favorite Disney damsel while completing it.
The Disney Princess 5K is open to any level of runner. And of course, it’s in the happiest place on Earth — Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Dine n’ Dash 5Ks
Food-themed 5Ks are all the rage now. Whether it’s the Krispy Kreme Challenge or the Hot Chocolate 5K, every foodie can find something to fit their preferences.
A lot of these runs test both your physical stamina and your stomach, as you are required to eat as you go during the race. Sounds like my kind of run!
(c) NYC Pizza Run
It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s you dashing to the finish line of your first 5K in a Superhero Run!
Many cities and charities are now hosting superhero runs where you can bust out your best Clark Kent impression while aiming to beat your running time.
Brush off your capes and remember that although being super is encouraged, flying is not allowed.
(c) Mustache Dache
Nothing will set your beard aquiver faster than a Mustache Dache. If you must ask what a Mustache Dash is, it’s a facial-hair themed race that raises money for men’s health issues each November. Races take place in cities all over the country.
So go ahead and start growing out your ‘stache or make do with a press-on. Either way, get ready to dash in style at this run while simultaneously raising funds for some underserved causes.
The Glow Run
(c) The Glow Run
If you like to run under the cover of darkness (sign me up!) The Glow Run might be the thing for you. Don’t worry about safety — the course is well lit up with black lights and glow sticks and all of the runners show up wearing neon attire.
Get ready to jam to some music and have a ton of fun while lighting up the night at this run. As an added bonus, participants are treated to a party complete with a DJ and beer garden upon completing the race.
If Ninja Warrior is your favorite show, this is the run for you. Participants will come up against everything from climbing walls to foam pits to giant balls intent on knocking them out of the way while completing their run.
The Wipeout Race started in partnership with the television show WIPEOUT to present a fun and unique challenge to runners looking for a little bit more.
(c) R.O.C. Race
Although the race is undergoing some brand changes in 2016 — it is now know as the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge — it’s sure to be a fun and challenging run for runners of all levels. However, don’t be upset if you bust it a couple of times. It’s part of the experience!
(c) R.O.C. Race
Obstacle Course Runs
©Spartan Race, Inc.
These types of 5Ks are known for the extreme physical and mental challenges they present to participants. They have huge followings all over the country that do nothing but train for these types of races through a mix of CrossFit and incorporating elements like spear throwing and trail running.
However, calling these obstacle course races just a race is a little misleading. Runners have to jump over fire, swim through freezing cold water, climb walls and crawl through the mud, just to name a few things. Each race is a little different, but they’re all extremely tough and leave runners exhausted but satisfied.