When did 5K runs get so weird?

I’ve never officially announced my retirement from the 5K circuit, but I haven’t run one for at least a year or two. It’s been so long that I had to strain grey brain cells I haven’t used in awhile to remember when my last race was. I’ve been thinking of getting back into it since I work well with deadlines and clearly defined goals, both of which are exemplified in a 5K. You must run/walk this far on this date! GO!

Yet, I’ve noticed that in the time since I ran my last race, 5K races seem to have gotten a lot more creative. See examples A, B, and C below.

Run for Your Lives

Run For Your Lives is a first-of-its-kind event, one part 5K, one part obstacle course, one part escaping the clutches of zombies — and all parts awesome. Runners will navigate a series of challenging obstacles throughout a 5K course in an attempt to reach the finish line — all while avoiding zombies.

See, it’s a charitable event and training for the post-apocalyptic era.

The Color Run

The Color Run

Each kilometer of the event is associated with a designated color. 1k is yellow, 2k is blue, 3k is green, 4k is pink, and the 5k finish is a “Color Extravaganza.” As the runners/walkers hit the Kilometer COLOR RUN Zones, they will be blitzed by our volunteers, sponsors, and staff with COLOR.

Sounds very colorful.

Devil Dash

Devil Dash

Devil Dash is an adventurous 5K running race. Racers will ascend the “Purgatory” course and conquer obstacles themed after the 7 Deadly Sins, before entering the pearly gates and the “Beer Garden of Eden”. Obstacles include climbing over cargo nets, running through the river, crawling through mud pits, darting through fire and trudging up steep terrain and much more.

I like the part about the Beer Garden of Eden. The mud pits, not so much.

When did this stuff start happening?! Has this playful type of race always been around or is this a new thing? The only similar event I had heard of before is the Krispy Kreme Challenge, which does the seemingly impossible and makes donuts sound totally unappealing.

Whatever is happening, I like it! I just wish one of these races was being held somewhere close to me.

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Rebecca Hoover • April 25, 2012 at 8:44 am

Brilliant. I hate running and do it grudgingly, but running from zombies…..that’s a whole other level.


shauna • April 25, 2012 at 9:50 am

I really like the sound of the Color Run one. Despite having to fight my fingers adding a U to the world color as I typed that :)

There’s a place on the Summer 5K course with your name on it! ;)


J • April 25, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I ran the inaugural Run for Your Lives 5k in October. It was my first 5k and it was a great experience. I ran with two friends all at different fitness levels and it was so enjoyable we registered for the Warrior Dash in May.


Mandi • April 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I am already signed up for the first and am anxiously awaiting the opening of the second to registration in my town!

Last weekend I did one similar to the Zombie one, only sans Zombies: a “military style” obstacle course with lots of 2-ish story log structures to climb over, along with a floating log patch in a lake that was tricky.

It was the most fun I have ever had. I wish they left it open all year long and just charged a gym membership or something. I would go do it 3-4 times a week and be in fantastical shape. :(


Kathy • April 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I am not a runner, but did a Warrior Dash last year and will be doing again in August. I beleive these are held all over the US and I know there is one in NC. And yes you get extremely muddy and get a free beer at the end


Maureen • April 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I just read a review of a colour run on chicrunner.com Maybe a little weird for me too!

This post sounds so much more like “you”(or the chemically altered you that we are used to???). Glad you are back on your meds. Next time I notice that you are sounding different, I’ll be sure to ask if you are okay.


Debbi • April 25, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Be careful what you wish for:


JenFul • April 25, 2012 at 6:43 pm

@Debbi – That’s on my birthday! I just might go.


El • April 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm

You like it, huh??? Not I… for me walking over 3 miles is scary enough… I don’t need things chasing me or people throwing things at me… too reminiscent of elementary school gym class. I’d probably have a flashback and pretend to have my period so I wouldn’t have to play anymore…


Kelly • April 27, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I have hated all two of the half marathons I have done when I finished them. Although I have never had children, I liken the pain to childbirth because all of a sudden six months later I am signing up again for the same half marathon.
To be fair the only one that I do is in Vegas because…well. it’s Vegas and that’s my town.
I had seen the zombie 5K advertised a while ago and thought that I would totally do that shit if it were near me. I might even think about volunteering to set one up.
*BRAINSTORM* no pun intended. Gonna go make some calls!


Debby • April 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm

In Cincinnati every year, there’s a “Run Like Hell” in which the participants literally run like hell through a cemetery at night. Not me! I’m so scared of things jumping out at me that I would arrive at the finish line with wet pants. For sure! :-)


Sonya • April 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm

There’s an app called Zombies, Run! that totally rocks! I am training for a half marathon in November and this app makes it fun. It mixes a story in with your own music playlist. The Zombies 5K is going to be in my neck of the woods but it’s too close to the half for me to do both.

You could use the app to practice for your zombie run now that Debbie found one near you:



JenFul • April 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm

@Sonya – Cool app, but I’ll have to wait until it’s available for Android.


Jill • May 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm

My friend did the color run. The photos look really fun.


Dawn • May 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I did the color run a couple of weeks ago and will be doing it again in November! The best event I have ever done. Soooo fun!!!! Here’s my blog entry about it. http://www.stamptildawn.blogspot.com/2012/04/color-run-was-so-much-fun.html

And… I’m signed up to do the Zombie Run in October. I know there’s no chance I won’t be turned into a zombie, but it will be fun anyway.


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Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, chronic headache sufferer, (former?) weight-loss inspiration, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She was formerly known as PastaQueen. You can contact her if you promise to be nice.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.


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