The 5 Weirdest-Themed 5K Runs

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Even those who love to run sometimes find the activity a tad too repetitive: Lift the left foot, take a step forward. Lift the right, step forward. On and on. Wouldn’t it be more exciting if you were wearing butterfly wings, or covered in foam or chased by monsters? Lots of runners think so, which is why themed races proliferate. They’re especially popular with the 5K crowd; the magic of a costume wears off well before the 26 mile mark for the true marathoner.

5 Warrior Dash


For some folks, running a 5K is not enough. They won’t be happy until they’re covered with mud, have leaped over fire and scaled rope walls. For other people, this will bring back memories of failing gym class. Or worse. If you finish the Warrior Dash, you’ll get a beer and a fuzzy warrior hat. You’ll probably also go home with some bruises and a feeling of triumph. The dash’s popularity has spread it all over the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

4 Running From Zombies

Flickr/Rob Swatski

Would being chased by zombies pump up your adrenaline and improve your race time? Find out at Run for Your Lives, which takes place in about half of U.S. states. Participants sign up to be humans or zombies. Humans start the race with three brain flags, each symbolizing 1/3 of their gray matter. The zombies are divided into two types, chaser zombies and stumbler zombies. Stumblers are more concerned with grossing you out than pursuit. The course includes obstacles and encourages teamwork. Humans crossing the finish line with at least one intact flag are declared to be survivors.

3 Tofurky Trot

Talking Tofurky

Turkey trot 5K races—Thanksgiving morning runs designed to rev up the metabolism at the beginning of America’s most gluttonous day—have been going on for decades. Part of the fun is seeing of runners dressed as turkeys and pilgrims. Now vegetarians are starting to organize their own Thanksgiving running events. In 2012, Portland, Oregon had a Tofurky Trot through a wildlife refuge. Seth Tibbott, founder of the Tofurky company, makers of frozen faux turkeys, ran the race dressed up like a giant Tofurky.

2 Color Me Rad


Many runners turn red from exertion or sunburn, but if you participate in a Color Me Rad event, you’ll wind up dusted with every color. Runners pass through clouds of blue, pink, purple, green and yellow in these races, which are held around the country. Most runners wear white clothing for maximum contrast. The nontoxic colors are made from cornstarch and food coloring. This race is a fun spectacle for kids or anybody who enjoys lots of color.

1 Twinkie Run

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Do you have trouble deciding between running and eating junk food? Balance the athletic and gluttonous sides of your personality at the Twinkie Run in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At the annual April Fool’s Day race, runners eat a Twinkie at the start of the race and another at the 1.5 mile mark. More Twinkies await racers at the end of the course, with the promise of a 60-second time reduction for each Twinkie you eat. Consume enough and this will be your fastest race time ever! And maybe a very long, sick day. Proceeds go to research on Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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